Penguin walks from eMusic Audio Books

emusic bookUsually market experiments run for a few months; enough time to draw data to evaluate. Penguin Audio books decided not to wait.  Just the opposite, they pulled the ripcord on an audio book market experiment with eMusic after just a month’s time.

eMusic is the number two seller of digital music behind iTunes. They made their market by selling unencrypted DRM-Free music.  Last month, they expanded into audio books following the same recipe: selling books without digital copyright encryption.  Penguin was one of five founding participants in eMusic’s digital books initiative.   They offered 150 titles that they were simultaneously selling with copyright protections on iTunes.

Earlier this week Penguin decided to go  DRM or bust.   They’ll stick with iTunes but are dropping eMusic.

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NY Times Select: the experiment is officially done.

times selectIn early August the NY Post ran a story citing “sources briefed on the matter” saying that rival NY paper, The Times would discontinue their paid subscription service Times Select.  The rumor fell into the category of “more likely true than not” but for the last month it languished without update or official comment. Now it’s official. Times Select is done. Effective midnight Tuesday Times Select will cease being selective and revert to freely available, publicly accessible content. 

The Select service began two years ago as a value added service. They charged $49.95 a year (or $7.95 a month) for online access to the work of some columnists.  Click to Read More

eMusic to Offer Audiobooks: will anyone listen?

emusic booksIn digital music retail there is Apple in one corner and then there is everybody else.  Apple’s iTunes store accounts for approximately seventy percent of the market.  The runner up, eMusic, has less than ten percent. This week eMusic’s hoping to get a few more customers, especially from older demographics, with the introduction of audiobook downloads starting Tuesday.

eMusic’s book formula will follow the same recipe the company has used for songs.  The books will be sold via subscription in an unrestricted MP3 format (e.g. free of digital rights management encryption) at lower than average prices per title.   The absence of DRM technology will insure their offerings Click to Read More

Netscape Social News Site to become Propellor

propeller logoFew brands have gone through more reinvention in less than a decade then Netscape.  Since it was acquired by AOL in 1999 (primarily for its browser technology) the online website seemed to be constantly in flux; used as something of an sandbox for testing new concepts.  In 2005, flash animation was the technology du jour.  By 2006 it was abandoned and replaced with social news format similar to the now popular Digg.  Now, another year later, they’ve scrapped that too and are backtracking and reinventing again.  

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News Corp and Dow Jones: Inside the Deal

merger detailsWith much of the drama largely over and the merger going ahead, a few days ago Dow Jones and News Corp filed preliminary documents outlining the merger of the two companies.  The filings, which are required under securities law, are extensive in length, “preliminary” in form and heavy on legalese, but they  provide an incredibly detailed window in to the events leading up to the merger announcement as well as the terms eventually agreed on. 

The documents show, behind the scenes the soap opera characterized in the board room barely scratched the surface of the true level of corporate intrigue. Click to Read More

Digital Library: Publishing Round Up

digital librarySometimes things happen in threes; at least that is the superstition.  Yesterday was literary triplicate.  In three unrelated announcements, the book publishing world saw an acquisition, a product introduction and a website makeover.

On the merger front, in the niche of author driven self-publishing services, Author House acquired rival iUniverse for undisclosed terms.  Both companies, which compete against Amazon (via its Book Surge Division), Lulu and smaller services like Blurb, provide a range of services for handling book design, layout, printing and post-print marketing.

In the remodeling realm, Google (which along with Amazon and Microsoft has been racing to scan and archive books for some time now) introduced Click to Read More

CNN and Reuters Divorce: money an issue

News Corp and NBC. Conde Nast with MSNBC.  CBS joins with the Washington Post.  Across the media industry, partnerships to syndicate and share content are becoming the norm.  CNN is bucking the trend and going the other way.

brokenAfter a 27 year partnership, CNN announced yesterday that it would no longer use news feeds and content from Reuters (one of the world’s biggest news and data syndication/wire services).   CNN said they would immediately stop using still, video and text from Reuters in all of their news pieces.  Additionally, old stock footage from “B rolls” or in archives, or content on,  anything which includes licensed Reuters video or content will be edited to remove the material before being publicly displayed. 

Coming from the P.R. machines, the spin put on the divorce was that CNN wants to focus more on its own news gathering sources. Emphasize “spin.” Click to Read More

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