- Um, Bravo?
I have to shake my head in utter bewilderment when it comes to how the networks are fighting to come to grips with distribution in the digital age.
While sites like Hulu and apps like Boxee are great steps, they still make it impossible to watch shows outside of a stable WiFi hotspot. What is this great fear of portability all about? Why can I watch the show on my computer but not my iPhone. Why can I watch it in my apartment but not on the subway.
Obviously, there is a pretty simple way for me to solve this problem: if I want to take a show with me I download it from a BitTorrent site like PirateBay. There I can get the complete episode in an open format that I can covert easily and move to my iPhone. I also get the episode completely commercial-free.
What leaves me baffled is why the networks don’t simply offer a downloadable version with embedded ads. Sure, I like ad-free but I’d rather get my entertainment through approved channels if possible. Just like I, and many others, are happy to put up with ads on Hulu in exchange for free content, the same would go for content I download.
Instead, in some vain attempt to, um, protect their DVD sales(?) they force me to go get content from a “pirate” site and lose the potential ad revenue, too.
Here’s what confuses me: How can a publisher charge the same price for a digital copy of a book that requires no printing, binding or significant distribution costs as they do for an actual hardcopy of the book? The same thing goes for the music industy. The cost of pop music has not dropped at all with digital downloads even though a massive cost element is no longer present.
While I understand the desire to keep up your profit margin imagine how many more copies of a book might be sold digitially if it was priced like at impulse-buy levels. People buy iPhone apps all the time at 99-cents just to try them out. Imagine how many new “copies” of backtitles no longer even available in most bookstores could suddenly become profit-drivers for publishers.
Potential digital-book readers aren’t going to shell out $10-$20 for most eBooks but I think thousands would a buck-a-book to, say, get handful of old Stephen King title’s on their iPhone.
I believe one way to profit in the digital age is to take advantage of the massive numbers of potential customers. With no hard cost associated with e-publishing a book, it is just a matter of sell A LOT of copies at a low price.
Just think aloud…
Good related post on this at Futurismic
A few years ago I had the privilege and pleasure of overseeing development on a screenplay adaptation of Charley Huston’s fantastic book “Caught Stealing.”
Well, now it appears that Random House is teaming up with Stanza (iPhone’s #1 Ebook reader) and releasing “Caught Stealing” and a bunch of other books from their catalog for free in Ebook form.
Why would a major publishing house give away free books? Turns out, if you are no longer paying for physically producing and distributing said books it doesn’t turn out to be much of an expense and as a marketing tool it is about as smart as it gets.
What better way to get someone interested in an author than giving them a free sample.
“The initial offerings will be drawn from each author’s backlist and will include excerpts for any new hardcovers coming in 2009. Random House is providing links to retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, Powells.com and IndieBound.org to encourage readers to purchase more books by these authors.” (via)
And how do the authors feel about this?
“A free eBook is a great way to sample a new writer, and help spread the word,” says Charlie Huston, whose novels ‘Caught Stealing’, ‘Six Bad Things‘, and ‘A Dangerous Man’ will all be available on Stanza. “Besides, it’s good to give things away. They’re books. We write them for people to read them.” (via)
Amen, Charlie. Amen.
There is a piece in Wired about the growing popularity of reading E-Books on the iPhone. At the same time sales for Amazon’s Kindle continue to grow rapidly (even though the device itself is far from perfect).
I love so much about E-Books, from their obvious portability to the potential for hyperlinking everything from definitions to other readers comments. Plus there’s the whole zero-environmental impact as compared to the printing and distribution of an actual paperback.
The biggest problem I have with E-Books is that current DRM-related issues and publishers general terror of the future means that is now almost impossible to read a great E-Book then give it to your friend to read. My bookshelf has long been a source and resource for friends looking for something great to read and it gives me great joy to share my books.
Now, it appears those days are numbered unless the publishers figure out what the music labels were late in learning – sharing increases sales.
Ok, I am not sure how they are able to do this but if you go to www.zinio.com/iphone in your iphone safari browser you can read perfect digital scans of tons of major magazines (even Playboy and Penthouse…).
Can’t tell is these are all the most recent newstand issues or if they are only letting you get a look at previous issues but either way this is pretty cool and the interface is neat to.
Looks like another nail in the coffin for Dead Tree Media.
God, I really hope the rumor of a ZunePhone is true – I need new material for my one-man-show entitled OMG MSFT = FAIL. Zune Zune Zune
“WHAT DO YOU get if you take an Iphone, remove the clean UI, user friendliness, nice industrial design, battery life, cachet, functional OS, and in general everything else that makes it worthwhile? The new Microsoft phone, powered by Nvidia.” (via)
Oh, Microsoft, I do so love to hate you. Yet, I still use MSWord. I’m such a hypocrite. Sigh.
The HowCast App, now available at the AppStore, lets you have every video from the HowCast site available on your iPhone.
This is what every video website should be doing. Not to mention every TV network. I’m actually surprised how few entities have taken advantage of the exposure that is possible providing a clean iPhone app version of their site.
Since there is still no way to watch the videos within the browser, this is the only way that these sites can reach the fastest growing headset market in the world…