Archive for the ‘kindle’ Category

Waterstones / Kindle: What Happens When You Don’t Have A Strategy

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Today UK bookseller Waterstones announced a partnership with Amazon to sell its Kindle e-reader in Store.

Here’s Waterstones CEO James Daunt explaining the move on YouTube.

It marks a total capitulation for Waterstones’ and its approach to the Kindle: Daunt previously attacked the online retailer as a “ruthless, money-making devil.”

More specifically, it comes about as a result of this major UK bookseller’s inability to develop a coherent digital strategy of its own. Much like its former parent, HMV Group (which sold it in 2011) Waterstones had developed a piecemeal approach to digital, offering e-books on its site and a selection of e-readers from Sony, iRiver and others in store, but lacking a coherent consumer offering.

By contrast, generalist W H Smith’s deal with Kobo saw a narrow, consistent range of branded products being promoted heavily in store and online, with a much clearer integration between hardware and content.

Waterstones’ former owner, HMV Group, developed its own digital service for its HMV music retail brand in 2005, but spectacularly failed to promote it in-store or beyond a token presence online. The service closed some time after, with HMV then buying a stake in UK retailer / distributor 7Digital and relaunching the HMV Digital brand, not before it had ceded significant mindshare and market share of the online market to the ever-dominant iTunes.

In partnering with Kindle, Waterstones is accepting the dominance of the Amazon brand, but also acknowledging the lack of choice it had. It had left it too late to develop and launch an integrated service together with its own e-reader. Short of a full partnership with Sony – itself struggling to maintain foothold in the e-reader market – Waterstones had little choice if it wanted to remain relevant to the increasing number of customers wanting to make the transition from P- to E-reading.

For both HMV and Waterstones there were early opportunities to establish and maintain a brand and product relationship with customers before they considered moving to digital. The job of migrating them to digital is then much. Waiting until the customer is ready to move to create a relevant offering is leaving it too late – and means they have in all likelihood moved to another partner who has been consistently communicating on an integrated offering for years.

It’s difficult to see this as a win-win partnership. Amazon gains retail presence for its digital offering. Waterstones gains an opportunity to grow Amazon’s business.

When you don’t have a clear long-term strategy, then you end up using tactics, and retreating in the process.

Dominic Pride, Founder, CEO

World E-Reading Summit Keynote

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Here is the “extended remix” of the slides I presented in today’s opening keynote of the World E-Reading Congress.

Camerjam – Top-Down and Bottom-Up approaches to digtial publishing

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I’ve been jolted into action by James from Camerjam posting the presentations from last week’s m-publishing event.

For those of you who weren’t there, many of the presentations hosted here on Slideshare speak for themselves.

For me there were two clear trends going on. There’s a significant amount of “Top Down” work going on to work out what the strategy should be. This is coming from the likes of Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND) CEO Richard Titus, sitting astride an empire with 40M uniques a month, who made an impassioned plea for the quality of data to get better in the overall publishing space before the market could mature. AND has a clear strategy for attacking and monetising this space, evidenced later in the day by Teletext Digital MD Neil Johnson’s Metro and Prime location Ipad apps.

At the same time there was some “bottom-up” innovation going on with book publishers getting into the market and experimenting. David Roth-Ey of Harper-Collins provided some great insight (with rare candour in this over-polished business) into how the publisher had contrasting experience with two forays into mobile publishing, one with 100K downloads (SAS survival guide) and Hilary Mantel’s Novel Wolf Hall (less than 1K). Presentation is here

David was clear about his strategy: add value to the book format with richer content, take advantages of the richer elements of the e-pub format as they arrive and= expand to other platforms. It was a clear and realistic strategy, and one of the clearest articulated in the day.

Throughout Camerjam there were a lot of interesting showcases from different news, magazine and book publishers. However it was clear that the iPhone platform had dominated the mindset of most players in the space, with Android trailing behind and Nokia’s OVI environment now getting a few spontaneous mentions. Microsoft’s Peter Bale spoke up for Windows 7 and showed how the slick UI and deep integration into native features will confound those who believe this platform will be an also-ran by this time next year.

It’s clear that ease of development and high usage per user by iPhone users are the most influential factors here, but other key trends falling out of the day were:

An app is not a strategy. The business needs to move beyond a single platform. As Handmark CEO Paul Reddick commented “it’s like making a TV programme which can only be watched by people with LG TV sets.
-Publishers need to go beyond simply digitising content and making it available. “Raw” Content needs the accompanying social and contextual factors to make a compelling consumer proposition. For more detail view our take on Books 2.0 and the “3Cs Model” of Content, Context and Community

Startups are active in this space and are threatening to destroy the existing models.
Maureen Scott of Ether Books laid out her position when opening the day’s debate, arguing that the future of publishing lay in digital and that the days of “analogue consumers” are numbered.

like most content / tech plays this is a five-way football match between those involved in hardware, middleware, OS-driven plays (MSFT and Google), traditional “content 1.0” companies and the sparky VC-funded (or would be funded) startups in this space.

The next few years will be chaotic and be too much for those brought up in the linear traditional world of dead tree publising. However for those who can transform and cope with the challenge and pace of continual innovation, the future for this industry will be bright.

The challenge now is for the publishing execs outside of the enlightened and converted who were present at Camerjam. They must ready their businesses for the rapid and perpetual nature of change which will become the norm in the connected digital ecosystem

Looking Back on Books 2.0 – The Future of Books on Mar 19

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

We’re overwhelmed with the attendance and the interest in Books 2.0 – The Future of Books at the offices of Olswang on March 19.

Many thanks to John Enser at Olswang for hosting the event and to the super – efficient team who organised the morning. Thanks also to Clive Rich for persuading the Olswang team to host the event.

My slides are here.

Gerd Leonhard has also posted his audio, slides and comments on his blog here.

Here are Gerd’s slides.

And here’s Clive’s

I’ll also be speaking at London Book Fair on 21 April on a smiliar topic: “What can we learn from the Music Industry regarding the www?”. [tricky punctuation there – pedants please gloat if it’s wrong..]

I was heartened to see a significant number of people from the book publishing industry as well as purveyors of insight and research.

The vision that I presented was of a future where the book publishers would have multiple routes to customers, multiple revenue streams and would also need to be harvesting information and user data from the new channels where their content was present.

My key message was also that publishers need to create the value in digital by other means than simply adding additional content to the product. While audio, video and interaction are welcome additions to the printed word, the real value lies in the relevance to the individual and the social capital that it brings the reader.

The event was tweeted, blogged and mind-mapped: see Ged Carroll’s exquisite map of the event drawn live.

The conversation carries on via twitter, our Linkedin Group .

We’d all love to hear what you thought – even if you violently disagree with some or all of what we said.

Is the e-books backlash beginning?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Indebted to Bob Lefsetz for alerting me to this.

Amazon customers are annoyed that Author Michael Lewis’s book not available on Kindle.
This is what happens when you put your own interest first. Not participating is NOT an option any more.
Ironic that only a couple of years ago Lewis waxed lyrical about the Kindle, saying
“This is the Future of Book Reading”
Great prelude to Books 2.0 – The Future of Books on Friday Mar 19.