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Canada is forecasted to be the 5th highest ranked market in 2015 for the adoption of new media technology. This is not only due to the increased ownership of smartphones, tablets and e-readers, but publishers making content that shines on these devices.

The number of mobile phone internet users in Canada continues to increase, projected to reach 23.6 million in 2018. Smartphone adoption in Canada is among the highest in the world at 62% ,behind Spain (66%) and the UK (64%). If you look at tablet ownership, it has only increased from 9% to 21% over the course of 2013 to 2014.

Publishers are starting to realize that if you are targeting English and French speaking Canadians, the smartphone is the primary goal. Among adults ages 18-34 a staggering 83% downloaded or purchased a digital magazine in 2013. Normally these sorts of downloads occur from the Apple Newsstand, Google Play Magazines, or 3rd party apps such as PressReader.

What type of content do Canadians desire? Well for starters, companies that offer back issues tend to fare better. 45% of Canadians prefer to read only the latest magazine, but 55% said they read back issues too. In terms of Genre, the highest performers currently are Travel, Entertainment, Fashion and Cooking/Decorating.

Canada has a population of 35 million people and although not everyone reads magazines tangibly or digitally, its hard to know how many people are actually doing it. The Print Measurement Bureau said in their Fall Report that 2.9 million Canadians are reading digitally on their smartphones and to a lesser degree tablets, which is an increase of over 57% from last year.

If you are interested in lots of statistics, metrics and deep anylsis of the Candian magazine industry, I would recommend the 2014 Fact Book. It shows how digital magazine content has become even more accessible, available and timely, as well as globally inclusive. From email to display ads, audience engagement to retail, the Fact Book confirms that magazines have an impact wherever, whenever and however readers are consuming content.

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Macmillan has announced that they intend on entering the e-Book subscription model business, in an attempt to broaden its distribution channels. CEO John Sargent mentioned that the primary reason they are engaging in the whole Netflix for eBooks concept is because Amazon accounts for 64% of all Macmillan digital sales, and this must change.

Sargent outlined Macmillan’s plans for the future to his stable of authors, illustrators, and Agents “In our search for new routes to market, we have been considering alternative business models including the subscription model. Many of you know that we have long been opposed to subscription. We have always worried that it will erode the perceived value of your books. Though this significant long-term risk remains, we have decided to test subscription in the coming weeks. Several companies offer “pay per read” plans that offer favorable economic terms. We plan to try subscription with backlist books, and mostly with titles that are not well represented at bricks and mortar retail stores. Our job has always been to provide you with the broadest possible distribution, and given the current financial and strategic incentives being offered, we believe the time is right to try this test.”

It is very likely in the next few weeks we will hear about Macmillan signing an e-Book distribution deal with Oyster and Scribd. These are two companies not affiliated with Amazon and engage in the pay per read model, which is what Macmillan is looking for.

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The main media lobby behind Spain’s new intellectual property law, which caused Google to announce that it was to close Google News in Spain, has backpedaled and proclaimed it wants the Spanish government and European competition authorities to intervene to stop Google shutting down the service.

New legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not  This has prompted Google to shut down the service on December 15th for every newspaper, blog and online journal  originating in Spain.

The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association issued a statement Friday night, stating that Google News was “not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position”, recognizing that Google’s decision: “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”.

Major media publications stand to gain the most with Google News shutting down, as the general public will have fewer choices to discover start-ups and small news outlets. It looks like the majority of small and medium sized companies are ramping up their efforts to try and get Google to remain open for business, as the aggregation service is pivotal for new users and to monetize their websites with online advertising.

When it comes down to it, the media lobby organization bit off more than it could chew. They want the best of both worlds, lots of search engine traffic, but want Google to conform to their narrow views.

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Summer-Reading

e-Books were not the format of choice during the summer months, as they only accounted for 21% of all industry sales. The vast majority of readers instead embraced paperback and hardcovers. Paperbacks accounted for 43% of all units sold and hardcover purchases remained fairly steady at 25%. This statistics basically prove that digital still has a way to go before it ever over takes print, and readers would rather wait for the paperback version comes out, instead of paying extra money for the hardcover.

Nielsen runs quarterly book surveys as an avenue to give people a sense of the health of the publishing industry. They reported that out of the 21% of people purchasing e-books,  57% were buying the Kindle editions from Amazon.  Barnes and Noble was the only other major competitor, garnering 14% of all digital book sales and Apple had a paltry 6% share market share.

One of Amazons greatest strengths is their sheer number of e-readers and tablets they release every year. In the six few months they released the Kindle Voyage, Kindle Basic Touch, Kindle Fire HD6, HD 7, and HDX 8.9. Most of their competitors only released 1-3 devices over the course of the entire year.  According to Nielsen, 23% of consumers used a Kindle to download e-books in the first nine months of 2014, and another 21% used the Kindle Fire. Apple’s iPad was used by 18% of consumers to download e-books, while 4% used an iPhone. Barnes & Noble’s Nook had a 9% share of e-book downloads.

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One of the top concerns on most indie authors minds is what company to self-publish with. There are some strong benefits with throwing down exclusively with Amazon, but others want a more global reach for their content. The Publishing Service Index has just released their annual December report, which lists all of the companies out there that specialize in self-publishing. It goes into great detail on their overall reach and how many people have published with them.

The most significant change to this report is that that Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has slipped to third and also reflects the growing discontent self-published authors have with the introduction of Amazon Unlimited and recent communications regarding the new VAT law in Europe for 2015. It is also quite surprising that Kobo Writing Life is only 13, since Kobo has the second largest mainstream digital bookstore in the world and and Barnes and Noble Nook Press did not even make the list.

Bookbaby will likely fall from the 12th position because the company has recently discontinued its free self-publishing option. Indie authors will have to pay $199 minimum and this price is poised to  increase to $299 at the end of January 2015.  It will be interesting to see how much they will plummet in the rankings, as authors embrace  more affordable options.

What I think authors can appreciate the most is that two of Ingram’s properties are in the top five and CreateSpace is number one.  Spark is primarily aimed at small publishing companies to digitize their portfolio and get it listed in the main Ingram catalog, where thousands of bookstores check every week to order books for their brick and motor stores. Lightning Source on the other hand is mainly aimed directly at self-published authors to have their books get printed on demand for inclusion in their main book catalog. Createspace is Amazons flagship print on demand service, where the production costs of making a tangible book is only charged once people order them. These three services prove that authors know that marketing their books purely online is foolhardy, and it is critically important to get their titles into bookstores.

 

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DIY – Do-it-yourself bespoke services
ASP – Author Solutions Services (Packages) – May also include Partnership publishing programs
PUB – Also offers Mainstream Contracts or is a service imprint of a traditional publishing house
PRT – Printer (primarily a printer with some additional but limited services)
FULL – Fulfilment Services provided for distribution logistics, warehousing of stock (including supply to wholesaler and retailers)
CRW – Crowdsource

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Google News is apart of our lives, it’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Due to new tax laws passed in Spain, Google News is shuttering their doors on December 16th.

In October, the Spanish government passed a new copyright law that goes into effect in early January. It imposes fees for online content aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo News. This was chiefly done to to protect the country’s print media industry.

Known popularly as the “Google Tax”, the law requires services that post links and excerpts of news articles to pay a fee to the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies. Authorities will have the power to fine websites up to $748,000 for linking to pirated content.

“This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not,” Richard Gingras, head of Google News, wrote in the post. “As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable.”

Google News will continue to run in Spain, but will longer aggregate news content from Spanish media sites. It will continue to offer content from the rest of the world, but the lack of local inclusion will be felt by small and medium sized blogs and websites. Even large newspapers will feel the pinch. In November, Germany’s biggest news publisher, Axel Springer, scrapped a move to block Google News from running snippets of articles from its newspapers, saying that the experiment had caused traffic to its sites to plunge 80%.

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The head position at Amazon publishing, is not exactly cursed, but people tend not to last very long. A year into the job, Daphne Durham is leaving the company.

Daphne took over the reigns of the publishing division from Larry Kirshbaum, who had been with Amazon since 2011 and left at the beginning of 2013. Initially Larry served as the vice president and publisher of Amazon Publishing’s New York office and later as editorial director for imprints on both the east and west coasts. He was famous for bringing in big names such as actress and director Penny Marshall and best-selling writer Timothy Ferriss.

Daphne on the other hand had been with Amazon for over 15 years, prior to taking over Amazon Publishing. Instead of focusing on big names, Durham set her eyes on niche markets, such as mysteries, science fiction and religious titles. One of the most interesting things that was accomplished under her watch was looking at the big data of the Kindle e-Book business to find unsigned authors and push into untapped markets such as fan fiction.

In the past, Amazon has always had one person in charge of the publishing division. This obviously has not worked out very well, because the job has been, well cursed. In order to create more fluidity, Amazon is going to be spreading the duties out to two different people, one based in Seattle and one in the critical New York market.

Mikyla Bruder, who is based in Seattle, currently runs global marketing for Amazon Publishing. She will become publisher for Amazon’s Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, Skyscape, Lake Union, 47North and Jet City Comics imprints.

David Blum is based in New York and is best known for being the editor of Kindle Singles. He will take over control of  Amazon’s Little A and Two Lions imprints. His mandate is to expand Amazon’s nonfiction publishing under Little A.

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North American and European airlines have adopted the gate to gate use of e-readers, smartphones and tablets. One of the big problems is that your devices have to be put in airplane mode and the vast majority of of vessels do not have wireless internet access. This has prompted a number of notable companies to offer eBooks, magazines and newspapers as part of the in-flight entertainment system to fill the void.

Jetblue has partnered up HarperCollins will be providing excerpts from a selection of bestselling eBooks, and each digital sample will include buy buttons to a variety of retailers. Excerpted titles include Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean.

Jetblue has also established a relationship with Time Inc, and passengers will have the option to buy digital editions of a number of  magazines, including InStyle, Real Simple, Southern Living, Essence, Health, Travel + Leisure, People en Español and Golf when they use JetBlue’s free WiFi.

China Southern is the largest airline in Asia by fleet size and the fifth largest airline in the world by number of passengers. They have adopted a new Android platform that allows customers to buy and read e-Books right in the in-flight entertainment system. Virgin also offers an eBook delivery service in the form of Virgin Red.

e-Books are not the only digital content to be embraced on airplanes and the airports themselves. Newspaper and Magazine company PressReader offers their content in Virgin Australia lounges, which allows guests to access over 3,000 publications. They have also ironed out an agreement with flyDubai to have about a hundred papers available in the in-flight entertainment system to read in the air. Prior to takeoff guests can use their own devices to download thousands of issues for free and can read them whenever they want.

Some airlines have been forgoing extensive in-flight entertainment systems altogether and making digital versions for Android or iOS. Some of the most notable ones include;  BoardConnect (Lufthansa Systems on Virgin Australia, Lufthansa, Condor and El Al), eXW (Panasonic on Air Canada Rouge) and AVA (Thales on LAN).

One of the big trends that has been occurring is airlines developing their own apps to facilitate digital reading. Air France has released ‘Press’ Air France ‘Press’ which lets passengers download 13 newspapers and 12 magazines up to 12 hours before departure.  On a similar note, passengers on Air France’s new regional carrier HOP!  are able to download the digital version of their local daily newspaper, as well as the local newspaper of another city of their choice.

Finally, All Nippon Airlines (ANA) in early 2013 introduced its ‘ANA Lounge Digital Service’ in its domestic lounges at 14 airports across Japan. Passengers who download the ‘ANA Lounge eBook Viewer’ can connect their device to access digital content ranging from magazines to manga comics, information on Japanese culture and inside tips from ANA cabin crews. Most of the content can be accessed for 3 hours after being downloaded and can only be accessed inside the ANA lounge, although select titles can be viewed outside the lounge as well.

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Book discovery is a pressing issue in the print and digital world. Major online stores are hard pressed to keep up with the sheer amount of new content being published on a daily basis and the brick and motor locations tend to focus on bestsellers and adult content. Kids have the hardest time in discovering new authors and new books to read because no one exclusively caters to their needs.

I remember when I was a kid most of the books that I found where part of the Scholastic Book catalog that my parents would order and when the book fair came to my school, they would all be waiting for me. My literary pursuits did not go beyond the latest Hardy Boys mystery or what the local grocery store had in the young adults section. There was certainly no blitz media campaigns that modern books enjoy, such as the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, or Harry Potter, which most kids have read.

The books listed above are all fine examples of the types of content that kids are devouring at a record pace. It helps that Hollywood as loaned the assist by turning these all into amazing films that even adults have seen in droves. The big problem is where do kids go next after reading the books or watching the films? Will they discover Ender’s Game or read the Divergent series? Online stores have very basic recommendation engines “if you liked this, check out these titles”, but brick and motor stores don’t make it easy at all.

Scholastic is trying to make sense of the concerns that kids aged 6-18 are facing when trying to find the next great read or what they look for in books. 73% of this demographic said I would read more, if I could find more books that I liked, while 70% want books that make me laugh.
In early January Scholastic intends on releasing a massive reading report on children’s reading habits, that should give bookstores an idea about their needs and desires.  In the meantime, here is a small infographic that gives a bit of a clue on some of their findings.

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PressReader is the largest digital newspaper and magazine system in the world and has millions of users. The company is making it easier for travelers to download the content they love, without having to use their data plan with the advent of the new Hotspot Mapping system.

There is some big benefits to this new hotspot program for travelers. They can choose a hotel  based on which of them give free complimentary access away. This is useful if they want to read their favorite local paper, even if they are thousand of miles away. In addition, locals can connect up to the hotspot and download free publications using the free PressReader app for Android or iOS. Unlike videos, once the content is downloaded to your device, you can read it beyond the hotspot.

PressReader outlined how their service works in an email to Good e-Reader “The PressReader HotSpots allow users to gain complimentary access to our product while they are connected a location’s WiFi, which is excellent value for them because they are able to access a service that typically costs $29.95 a month as a consumer. The value for businesses is that they can use it as a marketing tool to attract visitors to their location and encourage them to stay longer. They really don’t have much to do with data costs, though – it’s not WiFi access we’re showing on the map, it’s sponsored PressReader access.”

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Consumers have started to embrace the idea of digital newspapers instead of print over the course of 2014. Advertisers have slowly started to gravitate towards promoting their brands on mobile and tablet Spending has grown in the United Kingdom 17.4% this year to £163 million, but analysts are speculating that it will only marginally increase by 8.1% next year.

Digital advertising spending is a drop in the bucket compared to print. The top national newspapers are expected to garner £1.42 billion in 2015, a 1% year-on-year increase, according to a report by the Advertising Associations.

Its not that UK advertisers are way of digital as a whole, its actually quite the opposite. The UK is predicted to become the first country in the world where more than half of all advertising spend goes to digital media.

Group M, the worldwide media buying arm of the market services company WPP, has forecast that the total UK ad market will hit £15.7 billion in 2015. Within this online spend is forecast to grow 12.7% year-on-year to break the £8 billion mark, making the UK the first in which more than £1 in every £2 of ad spend will go on digital media.

The conundrum that newspaper publishers face when trying to monetize their digital platforms is consistency. Advertisers looking to buy digital ad space from local publishers had to deal with them individually or in small groups, an inefficient process. In order to solve this issue some newspaper companies have pooled their resources together to save on marketing. Newscorp launched the News Corp Global Exchange in 2013, that brings together the ad space of 50 websites and mobile/tablet products including Times.co.uk, TheSun.co.uk, NYPost.com, TheAustralian.com.au, MarketWatch.com and News.com.au.

The lack of a unified advertising network and sheer number of digital options available have jaded most advertisers. This has forced the Times  and Telegraph to embrace the paywall option,  that allows readers to check out a few articles a month and then pay a subscription to read beyond a certain threshold.

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Macmillan owns 48 different publications that are geared towards science under their Nature Publishing Group umbrella. The publisher has announced that they are now making all content freely available to read in their new online e-reader viewer.

Nature launched in 1869 to provide the public with current scientific information and help scientists share their research. It’s now the leading, most cited journal of its kind in the world. Nature keeps researchers and scientists up to date with the latest developments in their field and beyond. And nature.com gives 8 million visitors a month access to over 100 prestigious publications and services such as Naturejobs.

Macmillan is using technology from ReadCube, a software platform similar to Apple’s iTunes, will be used to host and display read-only versions of the articles’ PDFs. If the initiative becomes popular, it may also boost the prospects of the ReadCube platform, in which Macmillan has a majority investment.

The program basically lets scientists and the public read the digital content as far back as 1869, while personal subscribers get access from 1997 on.  The gambit is with all of this free content available it should hopefully get more paid subscribers. Philip Campbell, the editor-in-chief of Nature and the other Nature-branded journals, has said that Nature‘s internal costs of publishing run at £20,000–30,000  per paper, an extremely high charge.

Annette Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan’s Science and Education division, said that the publisher intends the policy as a pilot and will be evaluating it over the coming year. She says that she expects libraries and personal users to continue to subscribe to the journal, but also that scientists would embrace the new sharing model. Other science publishers, such as Wiley, use ReadCube to display preview versions of their papers, so it is possible that the same idea might spread to others.

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US newspaper digital adoption has hit new peaks this year as more adults have been embracing paid content. This October, roughly 166 million adults accessed newspaper content on digital platforms, such as replica editions and dedicated apps. This equated to a 17% increase over the previous year.

The key growth area in digital newspaper consumption is directly attributed to the refinement of mobile and tablet apps.  Accessing newspapers on a mobile device has seen an increase of 85% year-on-year during October.  This figure should increase further as many media outlets have developed sophisticated app strategies to scale the audience.

We are seeing to see a departure from the paywall strategy that the New York Times pioneered a few years ago and many properties all over the world have been embracing. The problem with paywalls is that it is primarily relevant when accessing the website from a PC and not indicative to a cohesive mobile strategy. Overall, publishers are scrambling to make more money off of digital readers either through paid online strategies or newer advertising mediums like native and branded content.

There are a number of companies that are seeing a massive amount of success in the digital space that have non-conventional business models. Vancouver based Pressreader has been a major player in replica editions and offer access to thousands of local and international papers.  Customers pay a flat rate subscription fee for access to PressReader and in exchange receive unlimited access to our entire catalog, including back issues.

Another company seeing success is Netherlands based Blendle, who  recently attained three million dollars from the NY Times and and German media giant Axel Springer. The company launched in 2013 and has been billing themselves as the iTunes of news. This has been a hot topic for quite a few years already, and this pay-for-what-you-read model is a huge step forward.  The Blendle service has attracted over 130,000 registered users in just over a year, by partnering up with hundreds of  news agencies and pay them a percentage of every article that is read. Each news item price is established by the publisher, so the pricing is not consistent, but everything is really cheap.

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