News Roundup: Digital Text App Uses Facebook, Subject/Author Sites Better than Brands, Saying Goodbye to Audiobook Cassettes

App Mashes Up Digital Text on Facebook Platform

Digital Texts 2.0 is an interesting application for Facebook that lets you group and share digital material. It’s intriguing to see cutting edge development occurring in this space. From the Digital Texts 2.0 about page:

Digital Texts 2.0 was undertaken by Dr. Stéfan Sinclair as an initiative to experiment with applying the principles of Web 2.0 to the realm of electronic texts. We intend to preserve and expose all of the existing qualities of digital texts (rich hypertextual associations, refined encoding practices, analytic affordances, etc.), while enhancing them with additional characteristics provided by Web 2.0 and social networking. Thus, it is a preliminary attempt to better understand the phenomenon of social networking and how it might be adapted to benefit the ways in which humanities scholars interact with electronic texts.

Build Sites Around Authors and Subjects, Not Publisher Brands

Michael Cairns at PersonaNonData expresses a desire to see publishers include a more comprehensive picture of authors and works:

Publishers are best placed to build author-centric and subject/theme-oriented websites — not sites oriented around a “brand” that isn’t relevant, but those that focus attention on segments of the business that remain relevant to consumers. Envision the Spiritual segment at a site supported by Harpercollins which has a unique, appropriate and relevant focus far apart from the current ‘corporate’ approach. All segments are valid candidates for more of a silo approach to marketing publishers’ products. And I would go further in recommending that publishers consider marketing within these silos all titles available, rather than just those produced by the publisher. What better way to condense a market segment and become a destination site for Self-Help, Spirituality, Mysteries, Computer and any number of other book-publishing segments. Consumers aren’t dumb. Amazon’s main attraction is that all the titles in any one segment are available in one place. As long as publishers continue to ignore this fact, they will under-serve the market and under-perform given the investment in their sites.

Last Days of the Audiobook Cassette

In the wake of Hachette’s last cassette-based audiobook, the New York Times eulogizes a format many thought was already long gone:

Cassettes have limped along for some time, partly because of their usefulness in recording conversations or making a tape of favorite songs, say, for a girlfriend. But sales of portable tape players, which peaked at 18 million in 1994, sank to 480,000 in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The group predicts that sales will taper to 86,000 in 2012.

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