What a great week at the office! This week we had the opportunity to spend time with Jean-Jerome, who heads up New Press, the exclusive French reseller of NXTbook technology.
The French are the fourth most active readers of NXTbooks, thanks in no small to the hard work of Jean-Jerome’s crew.
Jean-Jerome also brought us a nice surprise project he did – a Publisher’s Guide to Web 2.0, something all publishers – in any country can use. It’s a great read (and fortunately, an English one).
The don’t-miss article? How about 5 Steps To Start a Web 2.0 Site.
Last month, some of our blog posts featured tool bars and NXTbooks done in different languages. Like many of our innovations, this wasn’t something that we did to keep our programmers busy, but was a rather specific request from ITEM Publications, publisher of Interference Technology.
Now, ITEM has released the good news that February of ’07 will mark the debut issue of the Japanese version of Interference Technology. From their press release:
Content will be chosen especially for the Japanese market including technical articles, product launches, standards changes, and pertinent news. Interference Technology contributors will have the opportunity to share their discoveries and techniques with their counterparts in Japan, the second largest EMC market in the world. For manufacturers doing business in Japan, Interference Technology Japan provides the ideal place to showcase their products. For Japanese engineering professionals, this exciting and timely new publication provides an opportunity to complement their existing knowledge of EMC with recent discoveries, standards updates, and new technologies from the international electronics market.
We should also mention that this isn’t the first time Graham Kilshaw of ITEM has helped us to cross into new territory. Graham was highly instrumental in helping us develop Hoo-Clix Advanced Tracking, which his sales staff is using to show the benefits of advertising with Interference Technology.
To view the Japanese tool-bar in action, click here.
Web 2.0 is important to be sure and according to this report, magazine publishers are not currently doing enough to embrace the trend. That being said, we’re finding most our publishers are certainly talking about the tactics in this report, and the tactics make sense, so we tend to think that in a few years this will be the type of study we’ll use to mark what was the beginning of an important change in the industry.
We’ve seen many stories about how fast the custom publishing biz is growing, and sales graphs that run uphill tend to make management smile in all industries, but at the end of the day it’s the true success stories that help us to decide if what’s truly “trendy” will work in our world.
For this reason, we were thrilled to produce the digital edition of “The Custom Media Experience.” Short on graphs, long on great dialogue, these are the stories of how real publishers are finding real profits in the custom media channel.
Do you know who the Electronaught is? Actually, we don’t either. But we do know a little about him. For instance, we know that in the past few months, he’s found published content within more than a few NXTbooks to be interesting and has recommended that content to thousands of readers on Digg.
How does this happen with NXTbook content when it doesn’t happen with any other digital publisher’s content? Unlike other products, NXTbook content is provided on page-specific permalinks, which means that it’s just as easy to for people to reference your digital edition content as it is for them to reference any other web content.
If you’re a publisher, this means that you can tap into bloggers, forum posters, Digg users, etc. – guys like the Electronaught who want to share your great content. If you use a digital edition solution that doesn’t use permalinks, you’re forced to do the hard work by selling your content one issue at a time. By using a NXTbook, your readers become a willing (and cost effective) marketing department.
Hardly. Smart print publishers know that incorporating video and rich media into your content will make your brand better. For some good insights on video – from a print guy – just check out what Rex has to say.
The Folio: E-Publishing Strategies Roadshow makes its next stop in Chicago next week. As always, we’re a sponsor of this event, which includes Rex Hammock and Scott Karp, two of our favorite bloggers. If you’re in the Chicago vicinity, don’t miss this one!
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of sponsoring and attending the Digital Magazine Forum in New York.
This is always an interesting event â€“ a smaller, shorter show than most we attend, but also heavily focused. Thereâ€™s plenty of talk on digital editions â€“ what they are and what they should be.
Itâ€™s also interesting because unlike most trade shows which are produced by trade show companies, this one is produced, directed and hosted by one of our competitors. Itâ€™s not completely unlike paying your competitor to put on a day-long sales call which you get to attend. Nevertheless, the content is always interesting and the attendees are always interested, so we were glad to participate.
There were seven presentations throughout the day, ranging from the big picture â€“ â€œWhat is â€˜the magazineâ€™?â€ to technology â€œMicrosoftâ€™s Vista â€“ the New Frontier?â€ to one on VC firms talking about where theyâ€™re currently chasing the money in the digital media space.
Iâ€™m not a reporter and this blog doesnâ€™t pretend to be wholly objective. That being said, Iâ€™ve decided to present a long list of quotes and observations throughout the day. Through reading this, I hope youâ€™ll learn much of what we learned yesterday and â€“ where appropriate â€“ what the â€œNXTbook responseâ€ is to certain observations from within the industry.
The first panel included Peter Meirs from Time, Inc. & David Klein from the Ad Age Group. Weâ€™ve blogged about Meirs before and love the fact that heâ€™s always pushing the fringiest stuff out there, including Idiomag, which we blogged about several weeks ago.
Meirs â€“ like some â€“ continues to show a lot of disdain for â€œdigital facsimilesâ€ of magazines, because they attempt to recreate a portrait reading experience in a landscape environment. While Meirs is 100% correct in that this is something that all digital publishers must strive to improve upon, the reality is that until this type of technology is both cost and time-efficient, this format will be out of the reach for many small publishers.
Your move if youâ€™re a publisher: Creating a dynamic user experience is paramount to digital publishing success. Choose a digital publishing company that knows where the technology must get to tomorrow, even if itâ€™s not wholly practical today.
Meirs next said something that we consider to be gospel at NXTbook: â€œThe goal of a digital magazine is indifference.â€ His implied message was that if people are too hung up on the technology, theyâ€™re not focused on the content. In that statement, heâ€™s entirely correct. What couldâ€™ve been highlighted, though, is that even though Meirs has been saying the same thing for some time, in many cases, digital publishers have already succeeded.
David Klein spoke next about Ad Ageâ€™s experience with Zinio. Klein said that Ad Age has only converted 7.8% of its international readership to digital. He wouldâ€™ve liked to explain why his numbers were so poor, but admitted that Zinio provides him with no tracking data.
The problem with this admission â€“ in the first program of the day â€“ is that it sets up would-be digital publishers with the idea that itâ€™s difficult to get tracking data. The reality is that any reputable digital publisher can provide you with more data than you get on your website. A lack of data isnâ€™t a digital publishing problem. Itâ€™s a Zinio problem.
The next panel discussion asked what digital magazines of tomorrow will look like, and was led by Bob Sacks (Bo to those who know and/or read him.) Though Iâ€™ve read Bo, this was the first I had a chance to hear him speak, and all I can say is, â€œWow.â€ Entertaining. Dynamic. Enlightening. What perhaps came across most of all in Boâ€™s speech was that the technology will continue to get better. But waiting until it does is not a strategy. All of that being said, I wish Bo put more of his content into his RSS feedâ€¦
On the same panel was Paul Gerbino from the Thomas Publishing Company. Gerbino is one of those guys who puts out content in many different formats so that the reader can choose how they wish to receive it. He feels that access to his content is a key differentiator today and also spoke about the increasing need to get users to interact with the content. Great presentation.
The same panel also included Dana Fisher from Questex. Dana has been a NXTbook customer for several years now. As Dana shared, Cadalyst Magazine has 15,000 BPA certified digital subscribers, many of them overseas.Â Readers love the content. Dana loves the numbers. We love Dana.
Next up, two quick insights from the session entitled â€œHow Print and Electronic Content Work Together.â€
At one point, moderator Jon Fine asked the panelists about the smartest and dumbest thing theyâ€™ve done online. Forbes.com VP-Chief Advertising Officer Bill Flately had no trouble naming their dumbest: their short experiment with in-text advertising from IntelliTXT. If you missed that story, hereâ€™s a good rant from Paul Conley about IntelliTXT.
And hereâ€™s a cute banter between moderator Fine and Jason Pontin of Technology Review:
Fine: â€œCan you convince me Zinio is a good solution?â€
The next couple hours included technology talk by Bill McCoy from Adobe, Ron Hawkins from Sony, Bob Larson from the NY Times (who worked on the Times Reader project), Mike Cooper, Microsoft (Ditto) and Arturo Duran from CanWest.
As techies, we loved these couple of hours. That being said, for publishers the Adobe and Microsoft tools are totally beta-ware and will be for some time. One wonders why publishers were being shown things they canâ€™t use yet and wonâ€™t be using anytime in the near future. (Not that this kept McCoy from encouraging publishers to use themâ€¦ )
Microsoft did a very cool job showing how WPF works and why itâ€™s neat. However, there was a nary a mention of the fact that using it to design ads will require new software, new skill sets and existing PDF ads will be worthless in the WPF environment.
Your move if youâ€™re a publisher: If youâ€™re considering a digital-only publication, WPF will be mighty cool. But Adobeâ€™s Bill McCoy thinks that in five years, digital edition revenue will be 25% for the average print publication and we tend to think that Billâ€™s a pretty smart guy. Â For 25%, does it make sense to learn an entirely new advertising package? (from Microsoft?)
I have little to report about the last two forums, simply because I enjoyed them without critiquing them. Dorian Benkoil did a great job moderating a panel that included Om Malik (Business 2.0 hasnâ€™t been the same since he left) and Peter Rojas (who was kind of meek as a moderator but rocked the house as a panelist!), which was followed by three venture capitalists talking about money (although the highlight for me was that one of them was Tony Schneider, CEO of the firm that wrote the software this blog is written on as well as the firm that prevents spammers from trying to sell Viagra via the comments on this blog).
And finally, a slightly out of left field comment:
Dan Schwartz, CEO of Qiosk was the moderator for many of the panels and as I mentioned at the beginning of this report, Qiosk is one of our competitors. While Dan did a decent job of making the day relatively objective, many in the audience â€“ including us â€“ were taken a bit by surprise to hear him say, â€œRich media has no place in a digital magazine.â€ As weâ€™ve seen from many of our favorite projects, the inclusion of rich media in a digital edition is an exciting, vibrant way to make the user experience powerful and we side with the dozens of people in the crowd who were scratching their collective heads at that moment.
So, all in all an interesting day with lots of interesting people.
It’s important that publishers be able to tweak their digital edition for their own brand. In this example, Engineering, Inc. has chosen a gorgeous blue fade background… Is it me, or is this just really soothing?