Publishing News: Apple's new in-app rules cause a minor dustup

Apple enforces its new app rules, World Book Night goes global, and publishing needs to be more entrepreneurial.

Here’s a few highlights from this week’s publishing news. (Note: Some of these stories were previously published on Radar.)

In-app drama: All’s well that ends well

AppStoreLogo.jpgThis week Apple began enforcing its ban of in-app outside retail links — those “Buy” buttons that take users to web-based retail storefronts. Minor chaos ensued following the change, with the Google Books app and the Barnes & Noble app temporarily being removed from the App Store. Both reappeared once they were updated to adhere to the new rules.

Some were hoping that because the rules weren’t enforced on the June 30 deadline, that perhaps Apple had further softened its position on the in-app subscription rules. Not so, but once the dust settled, everything worked out fine. Even Amazon decided to play nice.

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The U.S. joins World Book Night 2012

WBNlogo.jpgWorld Book Night (WBN) founder Jamie Byng moved a step closer to his goal of making WBN a global event when the United States hopped on board for WBN 2012. Additionally, the organization announced that Carl Lennertz, VP of retail marketing for HarperCollins, will be the chief executive for the U.S. arm of WBN starting in September.

At the inaugural WBN event in the UK last year, 25 titles were selected and one million books were given away. The U.S. has adopted the same one-million-book goal for the 2012 event, which will take place on April 23.

Book nominations for the 2012 event are underway, with “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “The Book Thief” leading the polls. Readers can nominate their 10 favorite titles to help the committee choose the final 25 titles for the April event. Nominations will continue through August 31.

The publishing world can learn a thing or two from tech startups

Todd Sattersten (@toddsattersten), founder of BizBookLab, argues in his new book “Every Book Is a Startup” that authors and publishers need to be more entrepreneurial and treat each book like a startup business. His conviction on this point is so strong that he’s using the startup model itself to publish his new title. In the interview below, I talk with Todd about the specifics of the model and how he’s applying it.

What parts of the traditional publishing model are limiting opportunities?

ToddSattersten.jpgTodd Sattersten: There are several things that limit opportunities. Most traditional books take two years to write, publish, and distribute, and risk increases with time. Editors ask themselves more often today, “Will the point of view presented still be applicable and relevant?”

Additionally, product marketing as a business practice has evolved, while books continue to be published as a singular product without regard for alternate use cases and price points. For example, only the biggest of bestsellers warrants a premium edition. Enormous opportunity lies in versioning.

Your personal definition for a “book” can limit your opportunities as well. If you limit that definition to, say, 224 pages of paper in a 6-inch-by-9-inch trim size, you just made your world a pretty small one.

How does your book map out the new publishing model?

Todd Sattersten: My argument starts with the idea that entrepreneurship needs to be brought back to book publishing. As an industry, we introduced over 3 million new products to the marketplace in 2010. Each one of those books start in the same place: in search of an audience. Startups face the same problem.

The core set of ideas I plan to present will look familiar to people who work in publishing. The way I approach them will be very different. I dispel some myths and identify some trends that are important to understand as we search for new business models.

This story continues here.


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