Welcome once again ladies and gentlemen to the Indie News Beat. No, Chris James is not back yet.
However, I want to assure our loyal IU readers that the Indie News Beat still contains a full serving of vowels and consonants. You may notice the zesty and slightly bitter flavor of some snark, but you’ll get used to it. It’s an acquired taste. So, from around the globe and down the street, here is what’s happening in the world of publishing:
Barnes & Noble continues blazing new trails in failure as they announce the Color Nook will be discontinued. Ah, I remember when television manufacturers decided there was no future in building color sets because everyone was satisfied with black and white. I find this news a little strange since Microsoft invested heavily in the Nook not so very long ago. Perhaps the writing is on the wall for the eReader, and these devices will join 8-track tape players, laser discs, and Palm Pilots as evolutionary dead ends.
Speaking of dead technology, Google Reader joins the Color Nook in the obituary column. I have to admit, I do not know what it was or did. It sounds like something one would use to read Googles. However, like any sort of technology or technological platform, I am sure that some people have come to rely on it and will be sorely disappointed to see it go. Hmmm… Maybe Google Reader was something used by the Color Nook.
At the other end of the spectrum, some technologies just won’t die. It wasn’t too long ago people were saying e-mail was dead; left in the dust by more sophisticated platforms. Well, if it died, I guess it’s a zombie. WIRED says e-mail is absolutely crushing Facebook and Twitter as a means of selling stuff online. Our own Jim Devitt wrote a post showing you how to create an e-mail list from your blog. You might wanna give that another look.
Although probably unrelated, Facebook will be making some changes to the way ads are displayed. Evidently, they are rolling out a new strategy aimed at keeping your FB ad from being sandwiched between ads for sex toys. Who could possibly have anticipated people would get upset about that? But my favorite part of the article is this:
“Like any digital platform, we’re not going to be perfect, but we will be much better. We’ll continue to work aggressively on this issue with advertisers,” Facebook announced in a statement today.
Wow. They’re not promising a lot, but they’re promising something. Maybe. I assume that press release was written by a former congressional staffer.
Another tech giant, Google, has decided to count all the books in the world. Apparently, they have decided there are 129,864,880 books. That seems a little light to me. I suspect the project was headed up by the same owl who decided it takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. To reach this conclusion, Google came up with its own definition of what a book is, so they wouldn’t waste any of the owl’s time.
Moving on, Digital Rights Management (DRM) took another one in the shorts when Image Comics decided to dump it. Image is the third largest comic book publisher behind D.C and Marvel, so it’s kind of a big deal. DRM was the brainchild of big publishing, which fears and loathes digital technology. It was an ill-conceived effort to prevent piracy, and never even came close to doing anything like that. Rich Meyer does a great job of explaining the many shortcomings of DRM. So, what does it mean that big publishing is now beginning to walk away from its own creation? DRM will likely slither quietly away, but I have every confidence that Random Penguin Solutions, et al will be back with another great idea. They’re kind of like the coyote in the roadrunner cartoons.
Lastly, I leave you with the sad news that somebody you probably never heard of is leaving a company that is quickly losing relevancy. The outgoing (as in departing – not as in extroverted) CEO of Harper Collins leaves her position, taking pride in her accomplishments and looking to the future with blah, blah, blah. The part I liked was when she said:
“HarperCollins has always been at the forefront of digital innovation.”
Oh man. I nearly laughed til I cried. HarperCollins at the forefront of digital innovation? That’s a classic. Maybe she’s talking about that DRM thing they cooked up.