Round up #116: Librarians’ letter to publishers, NOOK video
Barnes & Noble announces NOOK Video
this morning, Barnes & Noble announced that NOOK Video is coming to the USA this fall, and the UK at the “holiday season”.
This is a major initiative, and challenges Amazon on an important front. The videos won’t just be available on NOOK tablets, but they will have apps for other devices.
They are also beating Amazon to UltraViolet (at least in the announcement), something I suggested Amazon might do at their September 4th presser (press event).
UltraViolet lets you get a digital file when you have a physical DVD. It’s limited, and it might cost you something…but read this portion of the B&N press release:
“NOOK Video will also integrate a customer’s compatible physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc purchases and digital video collection across their devices through UltraViolet™. “
Even though that’s a strong statement versus the reality (which they clarify in following sentences), it’s a great selling feature. Just like “LendMe” and text-to-speech sometimes disappoint but still sell e-books (in my opinion), this is going to sell videos and tablets.
I do feel like Amazon missed an opportunity here. Even if this does prompt then to do UltraViolet (which I think it might), they’ll be seen as following Barnes & Noble, not leading. That’s happened before (hello, frontlit reflective screen devices and lending), but I would like to see Amazon leading on content features. They do it on some, certainly, but I (unrealistically) would like to see every company struggling to stay out front on everything…selfishly, that drives development to our benefit.
American Library Association’s President’s open letter to publishers
I first saw in this
and then read the original
It’s an open letter from the American Library Association’s President, Maureen Sullivan, to American publishers.
It pulls no punches.
Let me quote from the conclusion:
“We librarians cannot stand by and do nothing while some publishers deepen the digital divide. We cannot wait passively while some publishers deny access to our cultural record. We must speak out on behalf of today’s — and tomorrow’s — readers.The library community demands meaningful change and creative solutions that serve libraries and our readers who rightfully expect the same access to e-books as they have to printed books.
So, which side will you be on? Will you join us in a future of liberating literature for all? Libraries stand with readers, thinkers, writers, dreamers and inventors. Books and knowledge — in all their forms — are essential. Access to them must not be denied.”
There are also some interesting statistics included:
“Seventy-six percent of public libraries now offer e-books — double the number from only five years ago — and 39 percent of libraries have purchased and circulate e-readers”
That’s astonishing…39% of public libraries are circulating EBRs (E-Book Readers)? That’s higher than I would have thought, but does help to address that digital divide.
I still think the answer to this may be publishers directly lending e-books to the disadvantaged on a needs-testing basis. That might require clarification in the tax code, so that it is seen as in the same class as donating physical books. If that was the case, if there were tax advantages, I think we would see this happen. No, that wouldn’t mean that those who could afford to buy the books could get them for free from the library, but it would mean that those who couldn’t afford them would have access…and for me, that’s one of the core principles of the public library system.
Do I think this letter will make a difference? I think it was good for the ALA President to say it…important for how people perceive the ALA.
One app purchase, many platforms
Amazon has introduced
What this does is allow a customer to buy a single app, and have it work on multiple device types. Instead of having several apps in the Amazon Appstore (one version for a SmartPhone, one for a Kindle Fire HD, one for a Kindle Fire 1st Generation, and so on), there can be one purchase that downloads the appropriate version for the appropriate device.
That’s going to certainly make things easier for Amazon customers, although it might not for app developers…I think they still have to create all those different versions.
This is a fantastic interview (perhaps conducted asynchronously) between Joe Wikert and Lou Rosenfeld:
I might have said, “Publisher Lou Rosenfeld”, but if you read the article, you’ll see why I didn’t.
The basic idea is that Rosenfeld thinks that publishing companies need to recognize that books are only part of it, only one way that publishers connect the public with an author’s “expertise”.
It’s really interesting, and clearly expressed. “Publishers” setting up seminars and consulting is really a variation of publishing a book, as Rosenfeld sees it. I loved this line:
“Publishers without content or expertise? I hope they manage to enjoy the view of the approaching iceberg while fumbling for their life jackets.”
This is one that I strongly recommend you read…you’ll be entertained, and may be given a glimpse into one success path for the future.
CNET: Cracking Open the Kindle Fire
For those of you who want to get under the hood, Bill Detwiler actually takes a Kindle Fire HD apart in this
and compares it to the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 2. For the techie stuff, it’s definitely worth watching.
What do you think? Are publishers making a mistake not licensing books to public libraries? Does it make a difference in your buying decisions? Have you ever bought a book which you first borrowed from a public library? Did Barnes & Noble steal a march on Amazon…again? Do you use UltraViolet now, and if so what’s your experience with it? Is Lou Rosenfeld right…restricting yourself to books if you are a publisher is old-fashioned? Have you ever bought two versions of the same app for different devices? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.