Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Amazon: Changing the publishing landscape

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Technology has penetrated  every industry and publishing industry is no exception. The sprawling giant ‘Amazon’ has tremendously expanded its ambitions this year and is now at a verge of adding some more to its kitty. Throughout the year, Amazon was in the news for various reasons like - mergers & acquisitions - and biggest among them was the release of the Kindle Fire.

Amazon was initially known only for selling ‘stuff’ and has now spread completely into eBook business by establishing its own hardware to promote the books. Amazon started 2011 with a bang, when sold more Kindle books than paperback books and towards the end of the year made its presence felt by aggressively quoting a lesser price for the Kindle Fire than the iPad 2. Here are some facts:

January: Amazon launched Amazon deals, a free iPhone App that provides an overview of daily deals to the customers.

March: Amazon joined the online music streaming business with Cloud Player, a music player that allows anyone to upload the music to Amazon’s servers and stream them on the web, an Android device, iPad or a Kindle Fire.

April: Amazon launched the Android equivalent of Apple’s App Store to improve the Google’s Android market shopping experience, the go-to store to purchase Android apps with unique test drive feature. Read more:

May: Amazon hits the runway with, a membership-only shopping site that offers sales up to 60% off clothes and accessories for men, women and children. The site also offers discounts on toys, beauty and home products. It was in this month that Amazon added a new member to the Kindle family: a 6-inch Kindle 3G. Only four years old, Amazon’s Kindle eBooks outsold physical books purchased on Amazon. For every 100 print books sold, 105 Kindle eBooks were sold. Amazon launched the Mac Downloads Store, a direct competitor to Apple’s Mac App Store.

June: In another European deal, Amazon acquired The Book Depository, a UK-based online bookseller that offers more than 6 million book titles and free delivery worldwide. Read more:

September: Details about Amazon’s Android-based tablet emerged ahead of Amazon’s press event.

November: Amazon’s Kindle eReaders and tablets sold exceptionally well on Black Friday, especially the Kindle Fire, which was the bestselling product on that day. Read more:

December: Amazon Publishing Acquires Children’s Imprint Marshall Cavendish. Read more:

With the publishing industry evolving ever so dynamically, Amazon seems to be seizing the opportunity to captivate as big a market as it can through diversified strategies and plans. Now the big question here is, will the publishers and literary agents be able to withstand such a change and challenge?

With Amazon having gained the experience and power to develop, publish and distribute its own books, it will be interesting to study its relevance in the publishing circle.  Amazon has changed the landscape of the publishing industry totally by having its say in all spheres and it is clear now that we have entered a “dynamic world of publishing”.

This article was featured in the iPublishCentral Newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, write to us at

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Stepping into the world of publishing

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

[Anil Gopinath, joined the team in October 2010 as Executive Vice President - Global Engineering - iPublishCentral]

Its been about 4 months since I joined the iPublishCentral team. With no prior experience in publishing the last four months have been a real eye opener for me. It has taken me this long to get a feel of the different aspects related to publishing, the different segments and the different needs and requirements of the ecosystem.

Working with the team at iPublishCentral has so far been a great experience. With their help and  through discussions with our clients and other publishers I am now beginning to feel like I am  a part of this community.

The opportunity to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2010 and the more recent O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference in New York, gave me a good understanding of the transformations that are happening in the world of publishing. At both events, I met with several authors and publishers who were kind enough to share their experience and thoughts about the changes they are seeing in the industry.

The publishing industry is now at a crossroads of sorts, with technology being the major game changer. Publishers now have new capabilities and new markets to explore and are questioning some of the older business models.

For us at iPublishCentral, innovating to find solutions and products to ease this transition for publishers is what is foremost on our minds. In these past few months we have transformed our product road map and have made several process changes within the iPublishCentral product team. We have broken up development into formal release cycles and are streamlining  internal and external communications. We have also strengthened the network operations team to keep up with the growing requirements for eBook delivery.

We hope to continue to innovate and help our publishing partners keep pace with and grow with each and every evolution of technology.

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Books on the cloud

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Over the years, the Internet has grown into a large repository of data and information that can be accessed from anywhere through multiple devices. Today you no longer need to be seated at your personal computer to read your e-mail or book movie tickets. Instead you could be on the beach, at the playing field, at the airport or in another country.

It has been our vision that books, like all digital products should be accessible and available all the time. We have worked hard to build an infrastructure that ensures that we can provide this to our publishing customers, who in turn can ensure that their books reach their readers anywhere and at all times. We watch with confidence as the market takes shape and as this vision of books being on the cloud turns to reality in the months to come.

There are three main reasons why books on the cloud makes sense and I have outlined them below:

Consumer is King

Consumer expectation is to have services available all the time - from Webmail, to Google docs, to salesforce, to Evernote consumer expectation is that they will have their services accessible from anywhere and from any device. Companies that understand this and create this access entry point are guaranteed success. An example for me is a note taking service. I have used several note taking applications; I put notes on my mac, on my blackberry, my iPad too has a few note apps. And then, a few months back I discovered Evernote. This amazing web application, wins over every other note taking software as I can confidently use it knowing that I access all of my notes at anytime from any of my devices, no matter where I am.

Muti-device accessibility
with the speed at which technology is advancing, it is difficult to judge whether our lives are getting simpler or more complicated. Today, we use multiple, multipurpose devices, to stay connected. I have my laptop, my home desktop, my smartphone, my blackberry, my iPad and I work and live my daily life going between all these devices. For convenience sake I EXPECT my applications and software to work interchangeably between all these devices. While I might be an early adopter of technology, a few years down line, this just like e-mail being available everywhere will be a norm for most people.

Follow the Leader(s)

Amazon recently announced that they are launching the web based kindle. With this version, Amazon is now ensuring that their customer can access their eBooks from anywhere and on any device. I use a kindle and I expect to read my books on my iPad, my kindle or on my iPhone. As the market leader, Amazon is establishing a benchmark in the industry by providing this experience; a benchmark that all customers like me will expect to have when using books in the eWorld.

These norms will push publishers to deliver their content on the cloud, needing sophisticated technology to achieve the same. The good news is that there are companies like ours who can provide this infrastructure. This is just the beginning, once books are on the cloud; the opportunities for the publisher are innumerable. Publishers need to realize that this is the future and start implementing their cloud strategy immediately.

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What my 4 year old taught me about the iPad

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

The iPad has been around for more than four months now and after using it extensively for a multitude of purposes, here are some of my observations…

To start with, the iPad is not just a passing fad. Instead it is the birth of an entirely new category of devices; devices that, in the future, are going to be a majority. Steve Jobs has once again wowed us with more than just a beautifully designed product backed by meticulous marketing. He has in fact created a global phenomenon, one that everybody wants to be a part of.

Till date, Apple has sold over three million devices with millions more to soon be sold in countries all over the world. Citing a Forrester Research Report; Tablet PCs are expected to replace netbooks by 2012 to become a strong segment in the global PC market, and nearly one-fourth of personal computers in the US market will be tablets by 2015.

The second distinct feature of the iPad is its ability to instantly appeal and interact with almost anyone. Be it a 4 year old, a teenager, a grad student, a working professional, or a 74-year-old grandmother, the iPad appeals to everyone. The other day, I was at home watching a game on TV while my 4 year old daughter was clambering all over me, wanting to be entertained. Me, too involved in the game and not wanting to be distracted, opened up my iPad and tried to get her busy with one of the word building apps I had downloaded. Soon enough she figured she’d do better without my help and ran with my iPad to the far end of the room, sat herself in a corner and was engrossed in the game for the next 20 – 25 minutes.

This is just one example that further proves how fantastic this device is. Any device that can hold the attention of a 4 year old for more than 20 minutes is truly the future. The device finds its way into the lives of almost every individual and has an app to cater to almost any interest.

Third is the ease in which its intuitive touch based user interface facilitates interaction. The manner of interacting with this particular device takes us back to the basic, the natural dynamics of using our hands and fingers to interact with an object as compared to using mechanical devices such as a mouse or stylus to navigate.

Fourth is that this is a everything device. For me it’s a book, a magazine, a newspaper, a piano, a map, a video game player, a note pad, as an additional screen and much more. With the increasing number of apps, the functionality of the iPad is only going to increase, making it a necessity in our everyday lives. Fifteen years ago, no one imagined that cell phones would be such an important part of our everyday lives. I think this would be the case with tablet computers like the iPad too. Ten years down the line, we probably may never leave home without them.

Moving closer home to gauge the impact that this device has on publishing and the publishing industry brings me to my fifth observation. As technology partners for many leading publishing houses, this could be the device we have all been waiting for. The iPad allows us to do justice to our product offerings, taking learning and reading to a whole new level of engagement and interactivity.  It facilitates convenience for purchase and the ability to make impulse buys. Over the last month, many of the books I have bought have been the result of discussions and conversations with friends who have recommended a particular book or article and me buying the book then and there. An added advantage is that I have all my books and magazines in one place, and knowing that I can access all of my content at anytime, anywhere

This new category of devices is getting us closer than ever to the tipping point. We now have the device in place, information search in place, distribution through apps and eBookstores in place, as well as, the ease of payment through well established payment systems and infrastructure. For those of us in the Publishing industry - I’d say - The future has arrived.

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Crossing the finish line

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

On April 11th, I ran the Paris Marathon. An event that I trained for over the last six months.

As I was running the marathon, my mind went through all the effort that was needed to get ready for the race. Running 42 kilometers is not easy and it takes a toll on your body. The only way to be ready for it, is the preparation that is required months before the race. The preparation and the discipline to maintain your training schedule allows you to compete and potentially complete the race. My race was going well and I was on pace to get to my 4 hour goal when I hit the wall during the 38 km mark. My legs gave in and I was in severe pain. Physically my body was telling me to let up but mentally I knew that I could not stop because the finish line was so close. The last 4 kilometers was a mental vs. physical battle to get to the finish line. At the end I crossed the line achieving my time goal and gaining a personal victory for myself. Crossing the finish line was an incredible feeling of pure and unadulterated joy!

I realized while running the marathon that what we are building at Impelsys is also like a marathon.  We, at Impelsys have a clear goal in becoming the leader in supporting the global book publishing market to deliver and market their electronic content.  We are passionate and determined to get to the goal and win, not only for ourselves but for our publishing customers.  Our training in the “marathon of business” has been the effort that we have put over the last several years to study the transition of the publishing industry, to understand what traditional publishing was all about and to use this understanding to help them adapt and succeed in the electronic world.  In turn, helping them add revenues through new and previously unexplored business models and building the content delivery infrastructure for the online world.  Just as my marathon training required extreme discipline, achieving this vision too requires discipline, determination and an ever thirsty passion to succeed.

Our industry is a dynamic, ever-changing, ever-evolving one, where almost every day there is something new out there, something more that customers want and something better that someone else is doing.   In today’s competitive business world the secret ingredient to success is in having your consumers win. We have built our capabilities and dedicated our vision towards helping our clients’ win, by ensuring that their customers in turn win. We are determined and confident in getting to our finish line.

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The new dynamics of publishing

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Click here for presentation and video: The new dynamics of Publishing

The publishing industry is evolving at an astoundingly fast pace. Besides going digital, the industry is gradually transitioning from a b2b business model to a b2c model. This is largely due to the changing scenario of retail, distributions sales and marketing, all owing to the recent and widespread popularity of social networking or social media.
– Presented at the O’ Reilly Tools of Change Conference 2010, By Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO of Impelsys Inc. (iPublishCentral)

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The time has come to get your content, iPad ready

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Earlier this month, Apple did something which by now they seem to have mastered - launch yet another killer product that has left everyone spellbound.  Even those who are picking holes in the product can’t stop talking about it.  Because, notwithstanding all the shortcomings (Read, no flash, just one USB port, 4:3 screen display, etc.), everybody knows that it will sell in millions.

For those in the publishing industry the launch of iPad meant a little more. By launching a device that supports rich multimedia, eBooks, eBook Reader, etc. backed by a full fledged iBookstore, Apple has sounded their arrival into the eBook market in style.  While the Amazons, Barnes & Nobles, Sony, etc will go in to a huddle in their respective boardrooms to devise a counter strategy, the Publishing community has much to cheer about.  So, what could be the single most talked about topic in the publisher organization.  May be figuring out how to get their content ready for the iPad.

Isn’t that quite obvious.  Here is a device that packs eBook functionality unlike any of its predecessors.  The leap from e-ink to full color graphics, and complete multimedia support opens exciting opportunities for the publishers. It is said that the iPad supports epub format, and has proprietary DRM in the mix to allay any copyright worries for the publisher.  Publishers that have already have an epub strategy will probably find it easier to capitalize than those that do not.  But, they still have the challenge of devising a strategy for the iPad specifically as their earlier strategies were probably built around the standard devices like the Kindle, Sony Reader, etc. In other words, having their content in epub format is just not going to be enough for publishers; not if they want to harness the power and performance of iPad optimally.

Let’s just give it some thought.  STM Publishers can now have eBooks that are rich in multimedia illustrations, and exciting ancillary content built around their existing content that makes the learning experience more interesting and absorbing.  K-12 publishers can build Talking eBooks, animated storybooks, etc. that redefines the way a child interacts and relates to books and characters in books. There are many that agree that the iPad could be the ultimate plaything for a child. A child likes to touch and feel, hold, push buttons, etc, and the iPad allows all this and more, making a very strong case for more and more interactive content for children. WARREN BUCKLEITNER, in his blog on NY Times, stresses that this is a new outlet for storytellers.  And, publishers are storytellers, and the iPad has just made it more exciting.

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