eBook Hide-and-Seek (Roundtable: 4/8/10)
The Roundtable is a live, interactive webcast gathering some of the most outspoken industry professionals to debate the hottest publishing issues of the week, as being discussed in traditional media, the blogiverse and on Twitter. From celebrity book deals to eBook rights and pricing to [insert YOUR pet topic here] — if it’s related to books, it’s on the agenda.
Topic: eBook Hide-and-Seek
This episode of The Roundtable was webcast live at 1pm EDT on Thursday, April 8, 2010.
Laura Dawson, Publishing Industry Consultant, LJNDawson.com
Pablo Defendini, Producer/Showrunner, Tor.com
Kate Rados, Dir. of Digital Initiatives, Chelsea Green
Bridget Warren, Former Co-Owner, Vertigo Books
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Dir. of Programming & Business Development, Digital Book World
Search is not easy to understand. Most of us type something into the Google box, and expect that what comes up will be appropriate, correct, the best resources out there on the subject. Librarians will tell you that this is a fallacy – there are plenty of things Google doesn’t pick up. Just because a searcher doesn’t find it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Much of that “findability” (and I know I beat this drum a lot, but it still, apparently, needs beating) has to do with a book’s metadata. Not simply title and author, but the BISAC codes, the description, the table of contents – anything that describes what the book is about. If a publisher is not paying attention to metadata, it will be much harder for readers to find that publisher’s books.
You can buy books directly from within iBooks by flipping your bookshelf—secret passageway style—over to the iBookstore, the new section of the iTunes store and the focus of all the recent agency model drama in the publishing industry. The initial selection is slim, and the bookstore suffers from the same lack of easy discoverability/browseability that plagues the rest of the iTunes stores—a situation that is not helped by the absolutely craptacular state of book metadata coming from publishers. Have I mentioned that publishers really need to step up their metadata game? No, really. Seriously, publishers. You’re shooting yourselves—and your authors—in the foot by not making sure all your books are properly tagged.
Truthfully, I don’t want a computer algorithm to recommend me music. But where do I really, really want group-think to point me in the way to a tailored preference list? Books. I want to type in my favorite authors and books, then I want to know what I should read. Amazon is great at suggesting purchases based upon my browsing and search histories. Go ahead, take my privacy. I just want a list of some decent cyberpunk.
And then it dawned on me. I had just spent hours consuming content, connecting with brands I like, and discovering new and wonderful things to do with my iPad. And I never opened my browser.
I didn’t need Google.
Why pay $9.99+ for a single eBook, when there are far more compelling apps available for much less money, all based on familiar brands, that take full advantage of the $500+ investment in the device? At $9.99, eBooks are competing with everything from Netflix, which allows you to stream unlimited movies for $8.99/month, to well-known games like Scrabble, Need for Speed, Command and Conquer, and Civilization Revolution, all of which are $9.99 – $14.99.
Twitter (as RTd BY @DigiBookWorld):
@eBookNoir: #dbw – metadata just needs to be there period, libraries, retail and all markets need the data to discover content.
@Knownhuman: Best #DBW yet, love geeking out about metadata. (Twas fun!)