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In Google Books appeal, Authors Guild decries Google’s impact on Amazon sales

12 April 2014

From TeleRead:

The Authors Guild is appealing Google’s November fair use win in its Google Book scanning case. The Guild says that Google is “yanking readers out of online bookstores” and stifling online bookstore competition with its digitized books.

“Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format,” the Guild’s lawyers said.

They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.

Wait, what?

. . . .

Second, this is the same Authors Guild that blamed lax antitrust enforcement for Amazon’s domination of the online book sales market, called Amazon “anticompetitive,” and insisted that the DoJ antitrust suit against the publishers was only going to help Amazon.

Now they’re suddenly all concerned over Google’s impact on Amazon’s wellbeing? Seriously?

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Appeals Court Tosses Out Class Action Status in Google Books Lawsuit

1 July 2013

From The Digital Reader:

Remember that lawsuit that the Authors Guild and the AAP filed against Google over Google Print Google Book Search Google Books in 2005?

A 3 judge panel on the 2nd Court of Appeals just ruled that Judge Denny Chin erred in certifying that the plaintiffs could act as a class. Instead the 3 judges believed he should have first considered Google’s argument of a fair use defense.

“Putting aside the merits of Google’s claim that plaintiffs are not representative of the certified class — an argument which, in our view, may carry some force — we believe that the resolution of Google’s fair use defense in the first instance will necessarily inform and perhaps moot our analysis of many class certification issues,” the 2nd Circuit said.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

More from Paid Content:

The new ruling (see below) is a blow to the Authors Guild, which revived the original law suit in late 2011, because it unplugs Chin’s earlier decision to let the case proceed as a class action — allowing every registered author in America to sue together. Google had objected to the class action status, claiming it forced authors who liked the scanning project into a lawsuit with those who didn’t. The appeals court appeared to agree with Google’s position, writing that is “an argument which, in our view, may carry some force.”

But the most significant part of the ruling is that Chin must now directly rule on whether Google’s activities are “fair use” — a four-part test that looks at issues like the purpose of the copying and its effect on market sales. Google has long argued that its scanning of more than 20 million books has not hurt authors, but helps to make forgotten or hard-to-find works available to larger audience.

. . . .

Finally, the new ruling raises questions on how much longer the Authors Guild is willing to continue the expensive litigation. The appeals court’s decision to decertify the class action likely crushes the Guild’s hopes of a big settlement payoff.

Link to the rest at Paid Content

How Amazon’s Rising Headwaters Could Threaten Google

20 May 2013

From ReadWrite:

From the earliest days, it was clear to me (and a few others, obviously) that Amazon was no ordinary company, at any level. However, three attributes set it (far) apart in my mind:

  1. Vision and ambition that were orders of magnitude beyond those of others team that I encountered (until, that is, I met Google);
  2. A cult-like dedication to customer experience/satisfaction that permeated every decision made by every person at the company; and,
  3. A business model that not only valued long-term cash flow and absolute profit potential, but also deemed near-term profits and profit margin largely irrelevant.

Individually, these characteristics have been powerful; in combination, they have been revolutionary. Jeff Bezos’ worldview gave his entire team permission — in fact, it gave them the mandate — to think Big, with a capital “B.” Customers’ pure delight with every Amazon interaction gave the company permission to sell (almost) anything to (almost) anyone.

And, finally, management’s clarity of financial intent (i.e., to perpetually focus on long-term potential) has, from day one, conditioned shareholders and Wall Street to expect a business that will forever be amorphous and unpredictable, with razor-thin margins.

. . . .

Liberated from more typical corporate constraints, Amazon has evolved like few other companies in history — from its humble origins as an online bookstore into: Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute, Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Flexible Payments Service, state-of-the-art warehouses (~70) everywhere, Amazon Cloud Player, AmazonFresh, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Prime, A9, Amazon Simple Storage Service, Diapers.com, Silk, Amazon Cloud Drive, Zappos, Amazon CloudFront, Kindle, and so on.

Sound familiar? It should, because this transformation mirrors that of Google, itself, which began as “just” a search engine company focused on “organizing the world’s information,” and has now become: Gmail, Maps, Apps, Drive, Chrome, Android, Motorola, YouTube, Wallet, Voice, Google Cloud Storage, Shopping, Chromebook, Google App Engine, Google+, and so on.

While not perfectly matching each other solution-for-solution, Amazon and Google now find themselves overlapping across, and competing within, most major categories of Internet-fueled technology and business.

. . . .

I actually think there’s one final aspect to Amazon’s business with which Google cannot (yet) directly compete, and which may prove to be the difference-maker in this faux-ish battle: Data.

With 17+ years of history and hundreds of millions of transactions across almost every category of goods, Amazon now has massive quantities of data about the actual buying habits of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of consumers around the globe.

. . . .

Armed with this unique transaction- and SKU-specific data, at scale, Amazon.com has the potential to become one of, if not the most signficant advertising platforms in the world, in my view — matching, if not besting, Google.

. . . .

For instance, do you think Volvo, Toyota, Lexus, Ford, et al., might be willing to pay a small fortune to be introduced to an individual in Huntington Beach, CA, who suddenly begins buying newborn diapers by the pallet? What about Gymboree? Gerbers? Whole Foods? Safeway? Fab? Gap? Pottery Barn? Ross? Home Depot?

Link to the rest at ReadWrite

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet Looks Like It’s In More Trouble Than Ever

6 May 2013

From Business Insider:

Barnes & Noble got a lot of buzz a few days ago when it released a big new software update for its Nook HD tablet.

The software update adds the Google Play store, which is the online shop for Android phones where Google sells apps, music, movies, magazines, etc. That makes the Nook update a great deal for Nook owners. They now have access to much more content than they did through Barnes & Noble’s own limited app and content store.

. . . .

But it’s also a bad sign for Barnes & Noble, which is still working through the uneasy transition from physical bookstore to hardware manufacturer and seller of online goods and services.

. . . .

[At first], instead of using Google’s services and apps, Barnes & Noble tried to create its own Nook-branded ecosystem.

It didn’t really work. The first Nook tablet didn’t have an online store for buying music, movies, TV shows, etc. You could load content from other sources using a SD card or plugging the Nook into your computer, but that was hardly as convenient as directly downloading stuff like you could with the Kindle Fire. The Nook HD, which launched last fall, was Barnes & Noble’s first device to finally include a way to directly download some of that content, but the selection wasn’t nearly as good as Amazon’s.

. . . .

Barnes & Noble’s Nook division continued to collapse, with digital content and device sales down 26%, according to the company’s last earnings report.
Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s strategy was to sell its devices for super cheap –– the Nook HD now starts at $149 –– and lock users into an app and content ecosystem. The new Nook update essentially turns the Nook into just another bargain Android tablet packed with Google’s services and content, and that’s really bad news for Barnes & Noble if it wants to continue selling its own digital content on its own hardware.

Barnes & Noble won’t make a penny off stuff people buy through Google Play; all that revenue goes through Google instead.

. . . .

It’s a major Catch 22 for the Nook business. Either offer the best stuff through Google Play and miss out on revenue from digital content, or risk losing customers to Amazon because the Kindle Fire offers more content and apps for about the same price.

Link to the rest at Business Insider

PG recently read another article about Nook which stated Nook has about 25% of the ebook market. As PG recalls, this is a number that Barnes & Noble puts out. He believes this vastly overstates Nook’s real market share.

iPad’s grip on UK tablet market slips, but don’t hit the panic button just yet

20 April 2013

From TechRadar.Tablets:

The iPad’s share of the UK tablet market has fallen from 73 per cent to 63 per cent in the last twelve months, according to figures published by YouGov.

The Tablet Tracker show a leap in the ownership of Android tablets, mainly through the cheaper Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire, while Samsung also made significant gains at the end of Q1 2013.

The Google Nexus 7, which went on sale for just £159 last year, has amassed 8 per cent of the total UK market, while Amazon’s cheap Android tablets accounted for 5 per cent of all sales.

Meanwhile, Samsung jumped from a 4 per cent to a 10 per cent share.

. . . .

The YouGov report says the fall of Apple’s tablet overlordship comes despite the launch of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad at the back end of last year.

Link to the rest at TechRadar.Tablets

Google sold Frommer’s Travel — but kept all the social media data

10 April 2013

From Paid Content:

Mystery solved. Many were scratching their heads over why Google sold Frommer’s Travel Guides this month — less than a year after buying the brand for $22 million. The answer is the same as for why Google does nearly anything: data.

As Skift reported Tuesday, Google handed over the company to founder Arthur Frommer sans social media accounts. In other words, Google is keeping all of the followers that Frommer’s accrued on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest. These thousands — or more likely millions — of accounts are valuable because they represent a huge collection of serious travel enthusiasts.

While Google will not keep the Frommer’s name, it’s able to keep the followers by simply changing the name on the account; in the case of Twitter, all of the @FrommersTravel followers are now following Google-owned @ZagatTravel.

. . . .

In response to a question about the social media accounts and the price of the sale, Google provided this response:

We’re focused on providing high-quality local information to help people quickly discover and share great places, like a nearby restaurant or the perfect vacation destination. That’s why we’ve spent the last several months integrating the travel content we acquired from Wiley into Google+ Local and our other Google services. We can confirm that we have returned the Frommer’s brand to its founder and are licensing certain travel content to him.

Link to the rest at Paid Content

PG thinks this is a data point about how much value Google discovered in the traditional publishing side of Frommer’s — very little. The customers were worth more than the content even though Frommer guides are published in hard copy and ebook forms.

Google finds value in places that others do not. However, if PG is right, this raises an interesting question about where the true value of an author resides. Are the author’s readers, Twitter followers, blog visitors, etc., worth more than the author’s books, especially if the author’s readers represent a huge collection of serious enthusiasts about some subject?

PG has often said the best parts of this blog are the comments. If PG thinks about the value of The Passive Voice (no, it’s not for sale nor does PG think it ever will be), he believes the most valuable part of TPV is the people who come here, particularly those who share their opinions.

Just sayin’.

From Nathan Bransford – Are you skeered of Google?

27 January 2013

From the mouth of Nathan Bransford:

“Like many out there on the Internet, I was rather shocked by Harper’s Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur’s recent broadside against Google. I wasn’t horrified because I disagree with the sentiment, though I do, but because it displayed shocking ignorance and incuriosity about one of the most important powers shaping the future of words.
“If you harbor fears about whether the leaders of traditional publishing are equipped to shepherd their institutions into a digital era, I urge you not to read it”.
*****
“I don’t blame people for being disquieted by the rapid rise of new technology and the effects it has on our lives, and there is also a long tradition of literary technophobia that MacArthur is seemingly stepping into.

“I do blame people for incuriosity and failure to investigate the enemies you see in your midst. I do blame people for failing to adapt to the inevitabilities of the future. It’s not Google’s job to do your work for you and bring readers to you because… why again? It’s your job to understand how Google works and adapt accordingly so your existing readers can find what they’re looking for and so you can attract new ones.”

Read the rest here:  The Sound Dinosaurs Make

The Apple Dilemma~ from The Launch Blog

20 January 2013

The Apple Dilemma:  Marketshare or Margins

“Steve Jobs famously got Apple back on track by reducing the number of products Apple had down to a reasonable number in order to create product excellence.

“Focus, focus, focus.

“Excellence, excellence, excellence.

“That’s why it’s was a huge, huge deal when Apple finally — after Steve Jobs fought against it — launched the iPad Mini. The press and consumers went crazy for this product when Amazon had had the Kindle Fire out for 13 months and Google had had the Nexus 7 out for five. It was a big deal not because of the product itself, but because the app ecosystem was finally freed to embrace a new footprint.

“Steve was right about focus while simultaneously wrong about the smaller tablet footprint — long live cognitive dissonance and a tolerance for ambiguity!”

*****

“This week someone handed me a BlackBerry 10. It’s basically as good as the iPhone 5, in fact some would argue the finish feels better in your hand.

“Anyone who has used the Microsoft Surface will tell you that while the Microsoft app store is far behind Apple’s, the interface and the hardware are as good or better.

“Finally, a bunch of dorky friends of mine have been praising the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an absurdly large smartphone (or tiny version of the iPad mini). After lunch with David Eun of Samsung at CES I said screw it, I’ll buy that really dorky looking phone.

“Now I love it.

“When reaching for my iPad Mini, iPhone or Note, I most frequently reach for the Note.”

Read the rest here at:  Launch

I actually love my Android.  Julia

An Interesting Infograph: From Gutenberg to Now.

16 January 2013

I’m a big one for visual aids.

From Social Media and the History of Sales Technology:

“Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks. Furthermore, social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals.

“Did you know that a recent study revealed that 44 percent of U.S. companies have acquired a customer through Twitter?

“Sales professionals have been using technology to both open doors and close deals with consumers for a lot longer than you probably think. The invention of the printing press back in 1440 revolutionised the world, and the telephone (1870), computer (1960s), widespread adoption of email and the internet (1990s), Google (1996) and social media (2000s) have each played a massively important role in how brands market their products.”

You can read the rest and view the Infograph here:  WordPress Hosting SEO

From guest host, author Julia Barrett.

Google Book Scanning was Aimed at Amazon

7 August 2012

From Paid Content:

Google has so far spent more than $180 million on book scanning and, at the outset of the project, one of its stated goals was to keep web searchers away from Amazon.

These are among the details set out in a new court filing by the Authors Guild, which is locked in a long-running case over the search giant’s decision to digitize libraries.

The filing points to internal Google documents in an attempt to show that the scanning was an overtly commercial project, and that the scanning was not a fair use as Google is claiming.

In a 2003 internal Google presentation described in the filing, the company stated “[we want web searchers interested in book content to come to Google not Amazon.”

As annotated by the Authors’ Guild, the 2003 Google presentation also said “[e]verything else is secondary … but make money.” (The presentation was filed under seal so the context of the remark is unclear).

Link to the rest at Paid Content

First, the Price-Fix Six, then Google. What is it about Amazon that causes temporary insanity among its competitors?

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