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ePublish a Book » ePublishing - The week in Brief » ePublishing Week in Brief – March 4th to 8th, 2013

ePublishing Week in Brief – March 4th to 8th, 2013

ePublishing NewsePublishing Week in Brief – March 4th to 8th, 2013


As Publishing Opportunities Grow, Funderstanding Extends Services to Media Beyond the Web

Funderstanding is growing its publishing effort beyond its successful website. Funderstanding is now publishing for leading authors on a variety of platforms and media, connecting authors to more readers.

Funderstanding is an ebook publishing partner company that provides expertise in epublishing, Internet marketing, and social media management. Funderstanding’s partnerships with authors allow the company to expand its mission to inspire and connect people who care about learning to a new level.

As the publishing landscape is becoming more digital, Funderstanding recognizes the vast opportunities all authors have in this new age of epublishing. Funderstanding converts authors’ works into ebook format. The conversion is done with a meticulous focus on detail. Funderstanding is focusing on Amazon and Kindle books but is able to take advantage of whatever distribution platform is most advantageous to an author

E-book porn flourishes on Amazon’s Kindle

Platforms for e-book self-publishing like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing let amateur porn producers slap together adult picture books and sell them online with ease.

Amazon has a problem with pornography.

The company created technology to filter smut from its library of video and print offerings and it also pays humans to do the same thing. In spite of that, Kindle users can still download e-books with the same sort of raunchy images and titles normally seen in nudie mags sold at liquor store newsstands.

That’s because these salacious e-books are self-published, spawned from sources with names like Camera Erotica Publications and ErotiPics. Some of the milder titles include “The Dirty Blonde 2,” which comes with a self-prescribed adults-only warning, a weak attempt at a storyline, and more than 80 photos of a woman posing in various stages of undress. It’s yours for only $2.99 or, like many of the titles, you can even borrow it through Amazon Prime’s lending library.

Access to e-book porn isn’t limited to the Kindle world. Searching for the term “adult picture book” on the Barnes & Noble Nook store also produces a list of hundreds of adult-oriented e-books created by the company’s PubIt! Nook Books system.

Magzter, the Future Zinio of Digital Magazine Publishing?

Magzter is the culmination of the joint efforts of Indian tech entrepreneurs Girish Ramdas and Vijay Radhakrishnan, and while it may be a relatively a new kid on the world digital publishing block, it is already aiming for the sky. The company is setting its sights on being the world’s biggest digital magazine store catering to the booming tablet market, but has also dropped hints about getting into the ebook business at a later stage.

However, the company’s immediate priority is consolidating the lead that it has built in the digital magazine scene. Towards this, the company has already initiated talks with publishers in the US, the world’s biggest consumer of digital content, and intends to bring them on board. While publishers are eager for a larger audience, Magzter’s 50-50 revenue sharing plan is the biggest stumbling block here. Magzter is asking for 50 percent of the subscription fees, which is far higher than the 30 percent cut off rate Apple asks for. Magzter is eager to trade some vital user statistics in return, which can be hard for the publishers to ignore. What Magzter is willing to divulge is not only how many users are actually reading which magazines, but also the email addresses of those who are reading. Magzter has also stated there are no hidden costs involved at any stage, even if the publishers add more pages or interactive multimedia content to their magazines.

Thomas Nelson Revives Two Imprints

At its first combined HarperCollins Christian Publishing Group sales conference held March 6, Thomas Nelson announced internally it would be restoring its Nelson Books and W Publishing Group imprints. In a controversial move in 2007, Nelson had eliminated all 20 of its imprints in favor of the One Company Initiative, citing its intention to eliminate overlap and brand confusion.

In bringing the imprints back, HC Christian Publishing president and CEO Mark Schoenwald stated, “At that time, the company recognized the value and strength of promoting one company brand. Over the past six years, our publishing teams have worked hard to distinguish Thomas Nelson in the industry. However, we have also realized the importance of having distinct imprint identities for our large and growing nonfiction groups.”

Though at the time One Company was instituted, the company stated that part of the motivation was the fact that consumers neither recognize nor care about imprints, Thomas Nelson’s reinstatement of the Nelson Books and W Publishing acknowledges their value in “providing further clarity” for retailers, media, and agents. This now makes four imprints for HC Christian Publishing, since with the acquisition of Nelson by HarperCollins, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan became imprints under the larger umbrella. All are under the leadership of David Moberg, HCCP v-p and group publisher. Of the resurrection of two of the company’s historic imprints, Moberg told PW, “it was especially important to make these distinctions after the acquisition and formation of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.”

ComiXology launches indie self-publishing platform

ComiXology has launched Submit, a new self-publishing platform for independent comic creators.

ComiXology has for a long time been our favourite distributor of digital comics. The cross-platform distributor has a massive stable of comics publishers, both large and small, as well as an excellent selection at very reasonable prices — and it’s great for keeping the longbox pile down.

Now it has opened its doors to independent self-publishers with a platform that allows creators to get their work on the map.

Called Submit, the new platform is free to use. All you need is a ComiXology account (the one you use to buy comics) and a digital copy of your book. Once you’ve submitted your work, it will join a queue for ComiXology’s approval process. When the book has been approved, it will be formatted with ComiXology’s Guided View reading technology.

This approval process hasn’t been fully defined yet, with ComiXology noting that it’s a work in progress — although approved comics will have to adhere to the “level of professional content that ComiXology users have come to expect from our platform”.

There are some good things about the new platform. The best is that creators retain all rights to their work — which is a pretty great deal, given comic publishers’ history of ripping off creators’ intellectual property (IP). This also means that as a creator, you are free to publish elsewhere.

Exceptional Women in Publishing: Leveraging Technology and Trends

Fifteen years ago, Thea Selby and Linda Ruth founded the Exceptional Women in Publishing organization to address what Selby referred to as “the vacuum in women’s leadership in the magazine industry.” On March 6 at EWIP’s fifth annual Women’s Leadership Conference, held in San Francisco’s elegant Art Nouveau City Club, more than 250 attendees took a moment to reflect back on the massive changes that have taken place in the publishing industry since 1998. But the primary focus of the event was how to leverage the technologies and trends, from video integration to mobile monetization to social media partnering, that stand to radically impact the industry’s future.

The keynote panel on The Future of Media, moderated by AllThingsD’s co-executive editor Kara Swisher, pegged social media partnerships and mobile monetization as top-of-mind issues for the women steering the course at both traditional print and born-digital media companies. Dwell Media’s president Michela O’Connor Abrams sounded a caution about “monolithic magazine brands” that are inflexible at a time when social media tools are democratizing brands. “An editor is a brand now,” she observed, referring to the direct connections that can be built with the audience thanks to tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Liz Schimel, EVP and chief digital officer of Meredith Corporation, said her company is actively seeking more social media partnerships. “It leverages our advertising,” she noted. “As a visually oriented brand, Pinterest is huge for us.”

Jane Goldman of CBS Interactive, however, noted that social media channels can strip content of its broader context in a way that can be detrimental to a brand. The founder of CHOW, a food magazine that has transitioned from print to digital, Goldman said her company has found the key to creating content that is shareable and brings context along for the ride. “At CHOW we’ve moved heavily into video, because it can carry its own ads,” she said.

Library Publishing Coalition—A Milestone in Evolution of Scholarly Publishing

For the past year, representatives of some of the most influential university libraries in the country have been meeting and exploring the potential for library/press partnerships for scholarly publishing in the future. In the next 2 years, representatives of more than 50 academic libraries will consider their roles in the future of access to scholarly literature. Called the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), the group is being led by Educopia Institute, an Atlanta-based consultancy that has experience working on other library digital efforts.

This is not a small issue for academic libraries or university presses. In her dissertation on the subject of open access publishing, British Columbia Electronic Library Network’s Heather Morrison tells NewsBreaks that, “the primary current economic support for scholarly publishing comes from academic libraries (about 73%) and that transitioning this support to open access will be key to making this transition happen. The high profits of some of the larger publishers should be enough to illustrate that this is doable—publishers like Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer earn more than 30% in profits. However, with some efficiencies it should be possible to create a much more affordable system.”

Morrison noted, “By my calculations, a scholar-led open access publishing system could cost a very great deal less than what libraries currently pay for subscriptions—up to 96% less based on the calculations quoted by Edgar & Willinsky. I don’t think that this amount takes into account the library publishing services per se, and it may be advisable to try to direct more money to the journals per se to avoid burnout, but the huge difference in costs suggests that there is quite a bit of leeway.”

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