Friday reading #2

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 11 May 2012

The second of a weekly round-up of links and reading material I’ve foraged for on the interwebs over the last seven days. It is an experiment at the moment, so please let me know if you find it useful...

Friday reading

“Nearly 100% of publishers have seen e-booksellers get their metadata wrong” - Jeremy Greenfield, Digital Book World
“According to an upcoming study from the Book Industry Study Group set to come out in a month, 95% of publishers have had the experience of creating their e-books with one set of metadata and seeing an altered set of metadata at the point of sale, online booksellers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple”
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“It doesn’t matter what e-books cost to make” - Mathew Ingram, GigaOm
“I think publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by sticking rigidly to models that were appropriate for a different world, when “windowed” releases and regional restrictions made sense. There’s at least some evidence to show that if prices drop low enough, sales can climb by orders of magnitude. Why not allow e-book prices to float and then see where they end up?”
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“Research: How people use mobile email” - Ben, MailChimp blog
“What happens when that guy’s not on the go? Does he check his mail when he’s on the couch? Or out shopping with his wife? Or walking the dog, or taking his kids to the playground? Yes, he does. We all know he does, because that’s what we do. So how does that change the way people use email?”
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“Typeface As Programme” - Jürg Lehni, Typotheque
Designer and programmer Jürg Lehni analyses the evolution of typographic technology and the nature of digital fonts, and introduces Donald E. Knuth’s groundbreaking TeX and Metafont systems.
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“Science and Truth: We’re All in It Together” - Jack Hitt, New York Times Sunday Review
Fascinating essay suggesting that the comments underneath news articles should be considered more like the annotations to text made in the Middle Ages
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“Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps” - Jason Pontin, Technology Review
“We sold 353 subscriptions through the iPad. We never discovered how to avoid the necessity of designing both landscape and portrait versions of the magazine for the app. We wasted $124,000 on outsourced software development. We fought amongst ourselves, and people left the company. There was untold expense of spirit. I hated every moment of our experiment with apps, because it tried to impose something closed, old, and printlike on something open, new, and digital.” Hmm. Really. A design team that couldn’t work out how to dynamically resize pages from portrait to landscape you say, and your app was not a success? Funny that...
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“Fungible - A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead.” - Stijn Debrouwere, stdout.be
“The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against.”
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“The A/B test: Inside the technology that’s changing the rules of business” - Brian Christian, Wired
“Today, A/B is ubiquitous, and one of the strange consequences of that ubiquity is that the way we think about the web has become increasingly outdated. We talk about the Google homepage or the Amazon checkout screen, but it’s now more accurate to say that you visited a Google homepage, an Amazon checkout screen”
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Martin Clarke's witness statement to the Leveson inquiry - full text
Mail Online publisher’s full written evidence to the inquiry into press standards
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“The changing role of the homepage and why your website is not a newspaper” - Patrick Smith, TheMediaBriefing
“It's odd to think that despite all the talk of social sharing and device-led disintermediation, many publishers' thought processes doesn't extend much beyond: ‘Put link to 400-word thing on front of site, people read thing, advertisers happy, repeat ad infinitum...’”
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“Dear New York Times & Wall Street Journal: How about some sensible digital subscription pricing?” - Danny Sullivan, Daggle
“The digital products are overpriced compared to the print products. That’s because, in all likelihood, a print subscriber is still stupidly deemed worth more to advertisers, even though I’d wager most of us ignore most of those print ads.”
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Things you might have missed...

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