Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Gathering Of Beautiful Nerds

To quote the charismatic and energetic Michael Tamblyn, "Long form reading is alive and well on mobile devices." That's a bit of the reasoning behind the change of the name Shortcovers to Kobo several months back, and part of his BookNet Canada Tech Forum 2010 presentation entitled "12 Months of Lessons on eBooks at #Kobo in 40 minutes (a love story)"

During the BNC Tech Forum in 2009, Michael Serbinis from Indigo presented the newly released Shortcovers. To test how easy and simple it was to use, I actually logged in, uploaded a short story and released it for free on their services by the time Michael's talk was done. Simple proof at how easy it was for content creators. About an hour later, my tech guru buddy from Waterloo Bookstore, Randy Dauphin, used his iPhone to download the story. Simple proof at how easy it was for consumers. It was great to see how quickly this process turned around in a mobile environment.

At the 2010 BNC Tech Forum, Michael Tamblyn (formerly of BookNet Canada, now the VP Content, Sales & Merchandising for Kobo, dug into what the company learned in that year.

Though Tamblyn could be given a grocery list to read and manage to make it exciting, interesting and humorous (speaking of course to the dynamic and engaging manner in which he speaks and presents), the content behind his presentation is already quite intriguing on its own. This, of course, made for a phenomenal presentation that I'm delighted to be able to see again.

A few key points to highlight in Michael's presentation would be:

  • Long form reading is alive and well on mobile devices (including stats showing people reading mobile devices around "bed time")
  • This is a new release market (highlighting the fact that delaying the ebook release, also known as windowing, results in 48% of the lifetime sales of an ebook being lost)
  • Ebooks are a razor thin margin item (yes, even more razor thin than books already are)
  • Cheaper is not the only value - the less a customer can do with an ebook the lesser the value (highlighting the critical importance of multiple platforms) - this, of course, leads to Michael's great statement that "A book that you can't take with you is worthless."
  • Some hilarious ongoing comparisons between the "contract-heavy" challenges associated with the purchase of an ebook compared to the rather simple exchange that takes place when buying a physical book.

Of course, given Michael's great presentation style (and what he likes to call the BNC Tech Forum, which is #gatheringofbeautifulnerds), it's natural that all the rest of the presentations from that day which followed Michael are now available to be viewed online.

Here's a link to an archive of the videos from #bnc10.

What I love about this (besides being able to revisit presentations I already saw that day) is that, despite the fact I was in track 2, I can now enjoy the presentations from track 1 I missed that day - THANK you BookNet Canada, for this wonderful gift to the book industry you have made available.

Here are links directly to each of the presentations.

But, in summary, what a great day, as evidenced by the incredible and informative presentations that took place thanks to BookNet Canada and a whole great group of presenters. (And yes, I'm still delighted with the fact that I was honored to be included in part of that day by having a chance to present on Trailblazing with Hugh McGuire)

Can't wait until next year.

No wait, I think I can wait, because I still haven't watched all the sessions I missed. I imagine that by the time BNC 2011 rolls around, I'll have enjoyed each of the presentations several times over.

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