Stakeholders in eBook Adoption – authors, publishers, distributors, retailers, readers

Mike Shatzkin put up an article yesterday around the various stakeholders (authors, retailers, distributors, and readers) in the ebook industry. It describes the history of the ebook market and his thoughts on coming changes.

In the “vision” stage of ebook adoption, which ended with the launch of the Kindle in November 2007, authors were virtually powerless. With ebook sales even for established books struggling to make triple digits, publishers were gunshy about accepting digitization costs for books other than the biggest sellers and it hardly made sense for authors to make the investment on their own.

Check it out:

Switching from BlackBerry Bold to iPhone 3G S

It’s almost been an annual pilgrimage. Each year since Apple’s release of the original iPhone I’ve jumped in and gotten one, only to get fed up with lousy messaging features and switch back to a BlackBerry.

The phone trail: BlackBerry Pearl 8100 -> iPhone -> BlackBerry 8800 -> iPhone 3G -> BlackBerry Bold 9000 -> iPhone 3G S

I really like the iPhone 3G. I lasted almost a full year, but something was missing. The push, immediate arrival of email, when one can blast messages out and get responses like an instant messaging client, is what I’ve always come back to on a BlackBerry.

This time there’s something different. It wasn’t as impressive with the BlackBerry email. And that must really suck for RIM because I know I’m not the only one who has grown out of their email awesomeness.

Gmail + push based IMAP and Exchange on the iPhone made BlackBerry email much less exciting when I switched back. If RIM can’t own the messaging space, they’re in for some trouble.

The other reason is that my team is doing some great things with the iPhone at Ingram Content. Customers can transfer their downloads through iTunes quickly and seamlessly. I’m using our own product on a daily basis and enjoying it (yes, I’m biased, but it’s still a good sign that a developer wants to eat the comapny’s dog food).

This post was written on the BlackBerry Bold 9000 during my morning train commute. I’ve been listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on the iPhone 3G. The upgrade to 3G S is this afternoon. You can download using our Ingram Media Manager for free through your public library.

Annual Reviews


This year’s annual review process swung around fast! It seems like the team joined Ingram Digital just months ago. I’ve done them a few times, but this was the first review process I’ve done at ID. Reviews are a time for reflection. A time to make and receive input on how we’ve performed. A time to realize and face weaknesses and understand our strengths.

There were five appraisals of my developers, and one on myself. To normalize the results I did my self-appraisal first. I had everyone on the team do their own self-appraisal, too, but I avoided reviewing theirs until I’d done my appraisal of them. This was to make sure my scores weren’t skewed and to look for any disconnects.

I started by reading status reports I sent for the year. For the weeks without status reports I re-read email to make sure I didn’t miss any accomplishments. This was time consuming and highlights the need to maintain a tighter journal of deeds. I’ve done this for myself over the last ten years. Keeping a separate journal for one’s team is highly valuable and I’m going to start doing this beyond status reports.

My team rocks, and my entries in my self-appraisal are the result of their efforts. As I listed each accomplishment I thought, “My team made this. My team created that… I worked my face off, but what specifically did I do?” It’s strange to reflect on what one was responsible for, but did with the hands of others.

Appraisals for my team were less demanding after my own. For one, after this point I’d compiled the full list of the team’s accomplishments. For two, it’s easier to judge others after judging one’s self.

Some additional links on performance reviews:

Viva la digital audiobook sublimation

The New York Times published Say So Long to an Old Companion on the 28th of July.

The image above is the invitation from the audio department at Hachette for a party to mourn (read: celebrate) the passing of the cassette technology. Their final audiobook released on cassette was “Sail,” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan in June of 2008.

Cassettes held out far longer for audiobooks than music because they allow the listener to resume wherever they left off, in any device that supports a cassette (getting harder to find these). CDs took up about half of the audiobook market and digital download is already looking to surpass CDs in music.

This is great for me and the team, working on audiobook digital downloads. Developing software distribution allows an amazing amount of flexibility and ease of use. Digital allows us to resume where the customer left off (benefit of cassette), as well as provide a deeper connection through metadata and images. Through our Zip process, we help make it easy to put the audiobook on a device such as an iPod, WMA player, Windows Mobile or PalmOS phone.

Kind of like ice sublimation, audiobooks will sublimate directly to digital. No need to stop at a usurped physical media.