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Four short links: 21 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 21, 2014

On Being a Senior Engineer (Etsy) — Mature engineers know that no matter how complete, elegant, or superior their designs are, it won’t matter if no one wants to work alongside them because they are assholes. Control Theory (Coursera) — …

Four short links: 18 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 18, 2013

Science Not as Self-Correcting As It Thinks (Economist) — REALLY good discussion of the shortcomings in statistical practice by scientists, peer-review failures, and the complexities of experimental procedure and fuzziness of what reproducibility might actually mean. Reproducibility Initiative Receives Grant …

Four short links: 10 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 10, 2013

ActiveLit — interactive fiction as literacy tool. (via Text Adventures blog) Your Car is About to go Open Source (ComputerWorld) — an open-source IVI operating system would create a reusable platform consisting of core services, middleware and open application layer …

Four short links: 11 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 9, 2013

On the NSA — intelligent unpacking of what the NSA crypto-weakening allegations mean. Overview of the 2013 OWASP Top 10 — rundown of web evil to avoid. (via Ecryption) Easy 6502 — teaches 6502 assembler, with an emulator built into …

Shakespeare and the myth of publishing

By Mike Loukides
August 21, 2013

Note: this post started as a Foo Camp 2013 session. A few weeks ago, Tim O’Reilly sent around a link to Who Edited Shakespeare?, which discussed the editor for the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It included a lot …

Four short links: 24 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 24, 2013

Reading Runes in Animal Movement (YouTube) — accessible TEDxRiverTawe 2013 talk by Professor Rory Wilson, on his work tracking movements of animals in time and space. The value comes from high-resolution time series data: many samples/second, very granular. Best Science …

Four short links: 29 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 29, 2013

Quick Reads of Notable New Zealanders — notable for two reasons: (a) CC-NC-BY licensed, and (b) gorgeous gorgeous web design. Not what one normally associates with Government web sites! svg.js — Javascript library for making and munging SVG images. (via …

Four short links: 23 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 23, 2013

Kindle Worlds Fine Print — Amazon’s fanfic publishing system has a few flaws: no pr0n, no slash (crossovers), and Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright. I can’t …

Cultural capital goes commercial

By Julia Errens
May 2, 2013

It wasn’t one of my proudest moments when, a week before Christmas last year, I was hunched over my smartphone towards the back of the famous Hamley’s Toy Store on London’s Regent Street, composure tethered to an elusive bar of …

Why ebooks & why green e-publishing?

By Deborah Emin
May 2, 2013

Perhaps you’ve also wondered why the publishing industry produces and distributes all the major climate science information available but doesn’t read it. If it did, publishing could become the standard bearer for global reduction of carbon footprints. This business challenge …

Earned Attention: More than a stack of paper

By Joe Wikert
May 1, 2013

As an industry I think we’re getting weary of all the various “rich content” experiments and products floating around these days. I have to admit that most make me want to yawn and move on to the next item in …

Numbers never lie…unless you’re talking social media

By Rob Eagar
April 30, 2013

Back in college, I took a class on statistics and never forgot the first lesson my professor taught us, which was, “Anyone can manipulate numbers to make them mean whatever they want.” I see this point magnified today by the …

LinkedIn as publisher

By Joe Wikert
April 29, 2013

I’m drawn to LinkedIn now more than ever before. The rate of connection requests I’ve been receiving there has also been accelerating over the past few months. Maybe it’s due to all the uncertainty of the publishing industry but I …

German digital publishing – the Berlin way

By Ruediger Wischenbart
April 29, 2013

My favorite number at the first TOC buchreport in Berlin on April 23rd was 20, as in 20% of the 2.4 million ebook buyers in Germany in 2012 had not bought any books in the previous twelve months, according to …

Publishing News: Our brains on screens

By Jenn Webb
April 26, 2013

Digital vs paper: ink on paper may still have the advantage In a recent edition of Scientific American, Ferris Jabr took a look at how technology is affecting the way we read and the differences between reading on screens and …

Do publishers have the right people on the bus?

By Michael Foy
April 25, 2013

I know from talking to many of my clients that most have read Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great’. I have also been inspired by his research into what makes great companies great. Many of you will recall an article …

Direct sales of ebooks in multiple languages

By Joe Wikert
April 24, 2013

O’Reilly has long been a leader in fostering community and building a direct sales channel. This week we took the next step in enhancing the customer’s direct buying experience by offering German editions for many of our ebook titles. Take …

Pre-publication samples

By Joe Wikert
April 23, 2013

This one has been nagging at me for years and I’m amazed none of the major ebook retailers offer a solution. I’m talking about the ability to pre-order an ebook sample prior to publication. Yesterday I received a bulk email …

Betting on the future of the book

By Daniel James
April 22, 2013

Visiting London Book Fair last week, many of the stands offered ebook technology or outsourcing for legacy format conversion services. Ebooks might seem a seductive bet to the publisher looking anxiously towards the all-digital future, but I find it hard to imagine …

Why Paperight should be distributing your content

By Joe Wikert
April 22, 2013

The opening statement on Paperight’s “about” page says it all: Paperight turns any business with any printer and an Internet connection into a print-on-demand bookstore. This isn’t just about distributing content through copy shops though. Paperight helps make content available in the …

Publishing News: Crowdfunding, the new way to raise money for news

By Jenn Webb
April 19, 2013

Fundraising for news Mathew Ingram reports this week on one entrepreneurial blogger and journalist who, finding local news coverage of his home town lacking, crowdfunded his own hyper-local news blog. Ingram notes that Joey Coleman does not have a journalism …

We need incognito book purchasing

By François Joseph de Kermadec
April 18, 2013

In the physical realm, purchasing a book without revealing one’s identity involves little effort beyond proceeding to a store one does not usually patronise and paying in cash. Unless one is seeking illegal volumes, which are unlikely to be obtained …

Accessible user interfaces

By Everett Zufelt
April 17, 2013

For readers in a digital age, interaction with content is ubiquitous. We no longer interact with content through paper, e-readers, or tailored apps alone, but via millions of digital products and web properties designed to streamline our consumption. In recent …

Author (R)evolution Day videos now available

By Joe Wikert
April 16, 2013

If you missed TOC’s first Author (R)evolution Day you missed a lot. Cory Doctorow kicked things off and more than 20 speakers followed with terrific presentations on marketing, audience development, choosing service providers, and my favorite topic, data. The room …

Why I created a Flipboard magazine

By Joe Wikert
April 15, 2013

Flipboard recently announced the ability for anyone to become a publisher on their platform. Within two weeks 500,000+ magazines were created. I created one of those and I’d like to tell you why. Before I do that though, let me tell …

Homo abudantia: From Oldowan to Ubiquity

By Corey Pressman
April 15, 2013

[This is the first in a series of articles intended to identify key watershed moments in the history of content and container.  Our intent is to frame the current moment in this story so that we may better understand the …

Publishing News: Democratized publishing and the digital divide

By Jenn Webb
April 12, 2013

Will rise in self-publishing leave world’s digital have-nots behind? Barnes & Noble announced this week it has upgraded and rebranded its PubIt! self-publishing platform and is launching Nook Press to better compete against platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. …

Newbie author rediscovers his natural aversion to all things bureaucratic

By Michael Daugherty
April 12, 2013

Last week I talked about putting pen to paper, or keystrokes to Microsoft Word, and all the behind the scenes work that involved. When I felt I had no clue what I was doing, I remembered what my developmental editor …

Three years of TOC at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

By Sarah Towle
April 11, 2013

O’Reilly Media took its Tools of Change in Publishing Conference to Italy for the first time in 2011, teaming up with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair organizers to focus on opportunities for children’s content in digital publishing. That year the …

Best of TOC: Thought-provoking articles from the past year

By Joe Wikert
April 11, 2013

It’s challenging keeping up with publishing industry news and analysis. I have way too many content feeds to monitor and I’m sure you do too. We do our best to highlight the most important developments on the TOC website but you’re forgiven …

Will we ever see a “Spotify for ebooks”?

By Joe Wikert
April 10, 2013

My music buying habits have definitely changed over the years. I’m doing a lot more streaming now and rarely buying individual tracks or albums. I use Spotify but I also started using Rdio. I’m still in the free trial period for the latter …

Taking ebooks mainstream…in Germany

By Ruediger Wischenbart
April 10, 2013

Are German ebooks really any different than those in the U.S. or the U.K.? Many strong indicators say yes, they are different. That’s why many ebook debates in the past have not ended with practical guidelines for German publishers and …

Digital publishing and the loss of intimacy

By François Joseph de Kermadec
April 9, 2013

Reading used to be an intimate experience. Even Amazon, the pioneer in digital publishing, branded its Kindle with a child reading alone under a tree. Books were specially designed to disappear into the background as much as possible, helped by …

The future of educational publishing

By Joe Wikert
April 9, 2013

The ebook revolution started with the launch of the original Kindle back in late 2007. More than 5 years later the world is now moving away from dedicated e-readers to multifunction tablets. Despite the dramatic rise in ebook sales most …

Three questions for…Adam Salomone of The Harvard Common Press

By Joe Wikert
April 8, 2013

1. The Harvard Common Press recently announced plans to open an office in San Francisco to become more closely aligned with the food startup community. The food industry probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people …

Content ownership and resale

By Joe Wikert
April 8, 2013

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen some landmark decisions on whether you really own that content you bought and if you can resell it. First, in the Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley case we learned that it’s OK to buy low-priced print books …

Publishing News: Data is proving to be the backbone of emerging publishing models

By Jenn Webb
April 5, 2013

Data’s growing role in the digital publishing ecosystem Data is becoming a driving force in the era of digital content. From subscription strategies to target marketing and advertising to content curation and methods of consumption, data is increasingly becoming the …

What if the Game of Thrones Characters were book publishers?

By Miral Sattar
April 4, 2013

There’s no question that the publishing industry is going through a lot of changes. It’s the last industry to go digital, and as a result going through the fastest disruption. Watching the Game of Thrones is like watching a war …

Current state of formats and platforms

By Joe Wikert
April 3, 2013

Remember the old days when PDF was pretty much the only way to distribute content and those PDFs were read on computer screens? PDF still lives, of course, but now we’re also faced with offering content in mobi and EPUB …

A first-time author builds his team and starts writing the story

By Michael Daugherty
April 2, 2013

Last week I talked about the lessons learned from self-publishing boot camp. After the boot camp ended I knew I had a lot to learn. I liked the business challenges that I was seeing. For a guy coming in out …

Four short links: 2 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 2, 2013

Analyzing mbostock’s queue.js — beautiful walkthrough of a small library, showing the how and why of good coding. What Job Would You Hire a Textbook To Do? (Karl Fisch) — notes from a Discovery Education “Beyond the Textbook” event. The …

Goodreads + Amazon: Winners and losers

By Joe Wikert
April 1, 2013

I decided to wait a few days before writing about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads. I wanted to let the dust settle before weighing in with my own opinion. Now that I’ve had some time to mull it over, here’s what I …

Libraries to become community publishing portals

By Mark Coker
April 1, 2013

[Ed. note: The following first appeared on The Huffington Post. It has been reposted here with the author's permission.] Public libraries provide an essential community service by promoting literacy and a culture of reading. With the rise of ebooks, public …

Publishing News: Goodreads readers are now valuable Amazon products

By Jenn Webb
March 29, 2013

Amazon marches on toward global retail domination The whiplash-inducing headline this week was Amazon’s announcement late Thursday that it has acquired book discovery and sharing site rival Goodreads. Industry response to the announcement was “swift and laced with skepticism,” Leslie …

Inspired by children’s ebooks

By Joe Wikert
March 27, 2013

The third TOC Bologna took place this past Sunday on the eve of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It was a terrific show and closed with a session announcing the winners of the Bologna Ragazzi Awards for digital publishing. You’ll …

Author by necessity

By Michael Daugherty
March 27, 2013

So what am I doing here? As President & CEO of LabMD, Inc., a uropathology medical laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia, (we test blood, urine, and tissue for cancer and other medical issues), this is not my normal venue.  However, shockingly, I …

Dangerous ideas from the world of startups

By Todd Sattersten
March 26, 2013

Dustin Kurtz, marketing manager at Melville House, wrote a piece last week about the incursion of startup vocabulary in the world of book publishing. He says: [N]ow the models and the metaphors of the tech industry are, full-throatedly, without embarrassment, being used …

Mobile native publishing: The rise of dynamic content services

By Mark Sigal
March 25, 2013

One reason that industry disruptions prove so vexing to market leaders is that disruptive waves simultaneously barrel through assumptions about customer needs, industry economics and operational best practices. Consider the case of the motion picture business, an industry that was disrupted …

Publishing News: The SCOTUS “first sale” ruling spells trouble ahead for publishers

By Jenn Webb
March 22, 2013

Publishers express disappointment in SCOTUS “first sale” ruling Headline news this week was the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the student textbook seller in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in which the court upheld the “first …

Change is the vehicle for publishing’s future, not the catalyst of its demise

By Jenn Webb
March 22, 2013

At the recent TOC conference in New York, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson (@IntelFuturist) gave a keynote address about changing the future. It’s so simple, he said, but changing the future requires us only to “change the story that people …


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