Apple Saves The Publishing Industry

September 5th, 2007 · 9 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

So, yeah, you’re thinking that the Apple announcements yesterday were interesting. You’re thinking, wow, I didn’t want to spend a month’s worth of book money on a phone, but, hey, they lowered the price. Or maybe you’re thinking you didn’t need a new phone. But everyone can use an iPod. Especially since iPods are now more versatile than ever.

Put on your magic thinking cap and make the best of this technology.

I mean, to be more versatile, they’d have to work in the shower.

I admit it. I wanted an iPhone for my birthday. Didn’t get one. Okay, fine. But, through one of those twists of fate that can only be called fortuitous, the battery on my iPod has decided that it’s simply not interested in this mortal coil. At the same time, I’m seeing my super-cute pink phone as a liability. How can you take me seriously when my phone is pink*?

Practical is (almost) my middle name. Great timing, never my forte, has shone upon me. When Steve Jobs announced the new “i” product line, I can well imagine that every person in the book industry sat up and took note. Finally, we all said, a product for us!

Truly, nobody was left out of the food chain. Except maybe distributors, but that’s only until the inevitable hacks come online. Do not worry, people who get the books from the publishers to the customers. Your day is nigh.

Let us count the ways the new iPod can make book people happy (most apply to the iPhone too, plus you can call your mother):

Readers: Ah readers, the people who keep this whole crazy business afloat. How often have you been out shopping, only to find that you are unable to make an informed decision: this book or that book? Well, let’s glance at our most trusted website and get the necessary information. Ah, that book.

A transaction well done.

Readers can use the native WiFi connectivity to connect to the web, check email (provided the email is web-enabled), and find information. This is good for readers. It’s also good for…

Authors: Hello. YouTube enabled right out of the box. Book trailers, check. Also, remember the iTunes store supports PDF files. Oh my, the possibilities are endless. Your blog? Just a browser address away. And what are the people saying about your new book? Let’s check with the…

Reviewers: It’s all very well and good when someone is sitting safely at her desk, reading your profound analysis of a novel. But isn’t even sweeter when that person is standing in a bookstore, trying to make a major decision. Your words of wisdom can lead to a purchase of a book, in real time. Is there any greater joy than knowing you’ve given back to an author who gave you so much (or, perhaps, is there any greater joy than knowing you saved a reader ten bucks…while steering said reader to something much more worthy?)?

Finally there is a device that brings together the holy trinity: readers, reviewers, and…

Booksellers: Dudes, WiFi. Offer it. Make sure your customers can connect to the web and find books. Then you can sell them stuff. I mean, who can walk into a bookstore and walk out empty-handed? Nobody.

Make sure your store is iPodTouch/iPhone friendly. That person who looks like he’s sending illicit text messages? He’s really checking out the title of William Gibson’s latest book (Spook Country, unless you’re reading this in the future). Look…there he goes, over to the correct spot in your store.

Ah, life is good.

Hmm. Seems like I forgot somebody. You have readers, authors, reviewers, booksellers, ah, right…

Publishers: This is it, kids, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Finally you can be part of the fab online world. You have the technology — and the means to bring together all of the elements that lead to the goal. Yes. Books and customers. Has there ever been a better moment than this?

Think about it. Content, video, audio, links, more links, more audio, more video, more content. The iTunes store. Magic. Gives you chills, doesn’t it?

There are some catches here; there are always catches. All of you crazy kids who thought that optimizing your website for some obscure version of Internet Explorer was the be-all and end-all of HTML? Clean up your code. Make sure you look like a million buck in Safari, the native browser (ah, Apple, throw the Firefox contingent a bone…Safari is, well, nice, but Firefox? You could rule the world.).

You need to think freedom (and, if you’re believing you’ll make a bundles on wireless charges, free). You need to put on your magic thinking cap and look at how you can make the best of this technology without veering into the world of obnoxious.

Also, remember that as much as we all like to pretend it isn’t so, there are only so many shopping days until the major gift-giving season is upon us. Think of all those bright and shiny and happy faces opening their new iPods/iPhones/possibly cooler device to be released between now and then. Don’t you want to be part the magic?

Thought so.

* – Of course, knowing how much I spend on shoes, how can you take me seriously at all?

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File Under: Marketing For Introverts · Non-Traditional Publishing · The Future of Publishing

9 responses so far ↓

  • Apple, publishing and the new ipods « Eoin Purcell’s Blog // Sep 6, 2007 at 12:01 am

    [...] Kassia over at Booksquare hits the nail on the head. Here [...]

  • Karen // Sep 6, 2007 at 7:24 am

    The only problem with the new iPod is the cut in memory from 30-80 gigs down to 16. I guess this is bc of the other things that it does? I don’t have one, so don’t know what it means, practically speaking, but I do wonder why they didn’t put out a 32 gig version.

    You’re getting rid of the pink phone? Shocking news …

  • Kirk // Sep 6, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Karen – Actually, Apple increased capacity on the iPod classic. The smallest size is now 80GB (at the same price the 30GB was selling for just last week).

    The new WiFi iPods use flash memory for storage — not hard drives. Flash is better for battery life, but it’s also A LOT more expensive.

    Basically Apple wants you to make a choice between massive storage and fancy new features. Actually, they’d probably be happiest if you decided you needed one of each.

  • Chris Webb on Publishing, Media, and Technology » Blog Archive » Kassia Krozser Ruined Today’s Blog Post // Sep 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    [...] Yesterday I started writing a post outlining my reasoning for proclaiming the iPod touch as the ideal e-book platform, and as I prepared to finish the piece last night I see the very smart Kassia Krozser at the Booksquare blog has beaten me to the punch with a post entitled Apple Saves the Publishing Industry. [...]

  • Don Linn // Sep 6, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    A publisher thinking about anything but Safari? Well I never…

    Seriously, this thing is a Godsend for smaller publishers even more than for big ones. Suddenly you can do big time marketing for close to free. Some may even be aware of it.

  • Kassia Krozser // Sep 6, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Yes, the pink phone abandonment is hard. I mean, there’s something so satisfying about such an obnoxious phone. But it doesn’t do, well, web. At least not well. Imagine the world if I could blog from my phone.

    Hmm, not much would change.

  • Kassia Krozser // Sep 6, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Don, I’m a Firefox girl all the way. Safari and I haven’t made friends. We’ve tried, but I like what I like. That being said…

    Some people doubt that people will be using their wireless “i” devices to get information in public places. Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s because I’m seeing people using their mobile (okay cell) devices as portable information portals. I mean, think about it — how often are you in a situation now where people rush to Google to answer a dinner party (in the broadest possible sense of the concept) question?

    But you know me. Always thinking that the future is around the corner.

  • April // Sep 12, 2007 at 6:32 am

    I love it! Very perceptive and I think accurate. But giving up your pink phone? OTOH, an iPhone….well…yes, I can see giving it up for that.

  • Belhaouari, abdelilah // Aug 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I would like to know if you publish fiction books
    and how you work. Thank you!