New ELT textbook app live in App Store

Recently, we announced that we would be working with Garnet Education on an app to allow instant delivery of their ELT textbooks to classrooms anywhere in the world.

For years, Garnet Education’s ELT line has been the preferred choice of universities and English language institutions in the Arab world. In 2012, several of Garnet’s best university clients announced they were switching from paper books to digital delivery and asked for interactive digital editions of Garnet’s products. This is where we stepped in.

Garnet needed to be able to deliver content to web browsers and desktops along with mobile devices running iOS, Android or Windows 8/RT. Using YUDU, Garnet’s key clients in the Middle East will be able to leverage the convenience, interactivity and cost-efficiency of a digital education across all these platforms.

You can download the app from the app store and get in touch with our team for more details.

YUDU launches BookSnacking discovery tool

On Tuesday, a large crowd gathered at the Tech Theatre for the launch of BookSnacking, a new way for publishers to share previews of ebooks in the browser. This affordable service costs £100/$150 a book and can be delivered within 24 hours.

BookSnacking is designed to engage readers quickly. The reading experience emulates that of a bookshop, as readers canread pages or even a chapter before deciding to buy. Both digital and print books can be promoted using BookSnacking.

Rather than constantly generating new content for sharing ideas about books, publishers can simply upload their actual books to the YUDU platform, and our team will process and return the live link that can be shared across Social Media.

The launch talk was delivered by Richard Stephenson, YUDU CEO: “Book discovery is the greatest challenge that publishers face today. YUDU BookSnacking aims to provide a powerful tool for marketeers.”

From a readers perspective it’s an instant reading experience with no waiting around for books to download. For publishers this speed in a digital world will get their content seen faster.

Tiling technology handles even the most complex images with excellent resolution on all screens, including retina screens. Being able to showcase content in this format not only gives publishers the ability to give readers the opportunity to sample content but to also deliver an excellent quality of reading experience which will convert even the most skeptical reader.

The main advantage of this format over competing ways of sharing ebook samples is strategic control. Full statistics and data collection opportunities are available and we believe that this will give publishers the background data they need.

London Book Fair Interviews: Julia Stimpson of Penguin Random House

Julia StimpsonIn the run up to The London Book Fair (see us on Stand X610), we are running a series of interviews with some prominent and interesting figures in the book publishing industry. Asking them for their thoughts on hot button issues that are currently resonating throughout the industry.

Our third interview is with Julia Stimpson, Head of Ebook Operations at Penguin Random House. Julia has over 8 years’ direct experience leading a variety of high profile digital projects.

1. How has digital disrupted traditional publishing workflows, in your experience?

In a big way! Digital activity is now part of everyone’s day job across all areas of our business, and that is no small feat. We’ve set up new supplier relationships, learnt diverse skills, developed innovative systems, explored different business models, created new partnerships, nurtured original ideas and strategies, while at the same time growing all the important areas that have helped shape brilliant authors and create bestselling books. The difference now is that we’re able to give consumers a wider choice of formats to suit their ever-changing needs. In short, the ‘ebook’ workflow is now just the ‘publishing workflow’.
We’ve relished this shake up as it makes us even more prepared to face future challenges with an open and inquisitive approach; foster new collaborations and build our business with as much creative flair as we can.

2. Now the market is starting to show some signs of maturity, do you think digital growth will taper off?

As with any new product lifecycle, sustaining the immense level of growth and uptake we’ve seen over the past couple of years was never on the cards. Now that we’re seeing some stability in the market, we can better identify trends in ebook buying habits as well as produce more accurate forecasting and budgeting. A maturing market is also the perfect time to innovate further.

The ebook is now a fully-fledged product and has been pivotal in driving some of the recent technological advances; bringing books to new readers and making stories more accessible for so many. Now that we’re seeing a more stable market it’s quite clear that ebooks and physical books should have no problem co-existing quite happily.

3) What’s the next big thing in the digital book space?

The million dollar question! There is so much buzz and movement at the moment in the digital space and I think that the emergence of so many start-up companies has had a big influence on how larger publishers are behaving. We’re working much more quickly and collaboratively, are much more ready to experiment and learn from mistakes; basically taking as liberal and lithe an approach to digital publishing as we can. We’re pushing and stretching the market in all directions to see how consumers respond and what takes off; from digital marketing initiatives like Happy Foodie and Dead Good through to ebook and app production, like our Graphic Novel digital programme.

What I’d love to see next is more equality across all the platforms/devices to allow publishers the chance to offer our best and most innovative titles across the market, including bringing books to life with animation and offering interactive features for kids’ activity books. We’re ready; a lot of devices aren’t.

I also think that the increased number of tablets in the classroom is going to shape the change in the educational ebook market and younger children’s titles. Getting children active and engaged in digital content and devices is now fundamental to their growth and development and I’m sure they will emerge as leaders in this area when their time comes!

As a final note, Google Glass blows my mind! I’m not sure it will necessarily be relevant for fiction titles but is a ground breaking concept for database-style content that can be accessed in short, sharp bursts and I definitely think it’s one to watch.

4) Do you see a print renaissance in the near future, with consumers starting to more greatly appreciate the concept of owning something physically tangible?

What the past year has really indicated is that there is certainly a place for both digital and physical to co-exist in the market. I don’t really think a ‘renaissance’ will ever be necessary, as long as there is always choice, and that for me, is the key element here. Take away the choice and you will have a fight on your hands! I also think that the idea that you’re either a physical or an ebook buyer is totally outmoded, as consumers have become savvy about their reading options and now relish the increased choice and availability and purchase the format that is most suited to their needs at the time.

What we need to do is listen carefully to what our consumers are asking for next, in order to determine how we create more appealing ways to integrate our multiple formats and reach as many readers as possible; whether it be bundling, more crossover promotion, digital first, digital shorts, subscription services…Understanding consumer needs will enable us to keep providing the right content, in the right way, to the right people.

The more we get used to our new reading landscape, the less preoccupied about ‘owning’ the book we become, however it will always depend on the book. The great news is that by pushing the boundaries of our digital creativity with books like The Dinosaur that Pooped series and Dr Who: The Vault we are also encouraged to be bolder and more inventive with our physical books. With titles like the incredible graphic novel Building Stories by Chris Ware and The Great War by Joe Sacco, the object really does come into its own.

YUDU Riddle winner announced

Last week we launched our new Website with a couple of riddles, and we are now delighted to announce our winner.

Congratulations to Keith Jackson from The Way International (magazine) who wins a $500 Amazon voucher.

 

“I’m absolutely thrilled and so thankful to have won the riddle competition—and thanks YUDU Media for a winning digital edition!”

 

Riddle: ‘They are based in 25 countries. Who are they?’

Answer: YUDU Media partners

(you can find the answer on the YUDU in a nutshell page on the Website)

Thank you to everyone who entered. We had some great responses and will be updating you soon with another YUDU riddle, so watch this space!

 

London Book Fair Interviews: Charly Ford of Osprey Group

In the run up to The London Book Fair (see us on Stand X610), we are running a series of interviews with some prominent and interesting figures in the book publishing industry. Asking them for their thoughts on hot button issues that are currently resonating throughout the industry.

Our second interview is with Charly Ford, Digital Publishing Manager at Osprey Group. Outside of office hours she organises BookMachine Oxford and is on the Oxford Publishing Society committee.

1. When do you see print and digital reaching an “equilibrium” point?

In cases where consumers have taken to digital I think we’re at a sort of equilibrium already. These customers – myself included – engage with a range of print and digital content in a variety of ways. When thinking about Osprey Group’s output, our Nourish imprint has a fantastic, weighty, hardback book – The Big Book of Juices - that we are currently turning into a great app. The app is going to be just as brilliant as the book, but the separate versions are likely to be bought and used in different ways.

2. What do you think publishers can do to better sell print products in a digital age?

We’ve benefitted hugely from making out-of-print backlist titles available once again through print on demand; if people want to buy your backlist but can’t find copies anywhere, that’s definitely a hole to plug. If you are able to, I recommend spending time building communities and establishing relationships with your target audience. It’s something that we focus on at Osprey and we’re really proud to be holding an ongoing dialogue with our customers.

3. Do you think there are inherent advantages to a print copy over a digital copy, and vice versa?

Definitely – which means there’s lots to weigh up when assessing strategy. Both print and digital have huge strengths, so both ought to be maximised. One of our most successful series of military history books focuses on specific battles. These are strong sellers in print, and collectors are keen on owning as many of the 270-strong series as possible. However we are also experimenting with this same content digitally – we have been making certain volumes of the series available online via subscription. Our World War II Military History Magazine incorporates a complete book and includes some extra material too. It’s safe to say that this is a neat way of experimenting with repeat custom in the digital space.

4. What genres of digital books are seeing the most success?

A whole range – there’s heaps to be inspired by. Fiction does really well in digital but there’s definitely scope to do interesting things with non-fiction. I shan’t give too much away here but we are working on a number of really promising projects across Osprey group so do keep your eyes peeled.

Enduring legacy or not, Windows RT is finished as a brand

By mid-2015 at the latest, Windows RT will likely cease to exist a distinct product within Microsoft’s line-up. While this may seem like a bold, hyperbolic prediction to make the fact is that the ascendancy of Satya Nadella to position of CEO and Microsoft’s launch of multi-platform versions of Office mobile software were the final nails in the coffin, and we can expect to see RT development projects increasingly and quietly moved under the category of Windows Phone development.

Microsoft figures themselves have increasingly been echoing, alluding to and even directly stating this is their strategy for a while now. Larson Green, Executive VP of Products and Devices at Microsoft stated back in November that MS weren’t “planning to maintain 3 versions of Windows”.

She went on to say that ”We do think there’s a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn’t have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we’re continuing down that path,” this seems to mirror Microsoft’s strategy so far, with Todd Brix announcing the company would unify different versions of the Windows Store and Windows Phone development program. This was further cemented by news in February this year that the latest development kits for Windows Phone 8.1 showed support for “universal apps”.

It’s important to remember that Microsoft’s initial reason for launching RT was to have a power-friendly, mobile OS that ran on ARM architecture, utilizing their SoC designs to afford potential users better battery life. There was, of course, a time when there was a good reason to adopt such a strategy as only ARM-based chips provided the sort of power efficiency necessary for mobile devices that also wanted to take a stab at being HD media players and enterprise software devices. However, this is no longer the case.

In fact, as far back as 2012 Intel’s Medfield (now outdated) chips were outperforming most contemporary ARM chips on battery life using Intel’s x86 architecture, a trend that has been born out in an increasingly large body of benchmarking tests and reports, underscoring Intel’s superiority in battery life over ARM. More recently, Apple has shown that solid battery life is possible even on x64 SoCs with highly capable GPUs. Therefore, the argument that RT’s viability rests on the battery life that ARM affords hasn’t been true for some time.

The most important reason why the writing is on the wall for RT is predictably the most talked about and discussed reason; namely the lack of apps. It’s crucial to remember that RT planned to save battery life precisely by locking the consumer down to OEM and Microsoft software already included on the device. While RT devices do now offer apps, this initial aversion has cost Microsoft dearly and app development on RT platforms remains woefully limited. Of course, this has to be taken in context with the fact that Dell, Microsoft’s last remaining OEM manufacturing partner for RT devices, quietly decided to abandon it last October, joining a long list of manufacturers who have seen it as a sinking ship (HP, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung among others).

What role new CEO Satya Nadella may play in shaping this more streamlined mobile and OS strategy is, as yet, unclear (expect no big change in strategy until after Microsoft FY end in June). However, the decision to release iOS and Android versions of Office may be taken as an initial litmus test for what may be an eventual deprecation of the RT brand as a whole. It may also signal a more ambitiously openly approach to development as compared to Ballmer, who was supposedly reticent about any such release until late 2013, when he experienced what has been described as a ”change of heart”, or more appropriately, an acknowledgment of business reality, depending upon your level of cynicism. Whats clear however is that Microsoft as a company does not price Office highly enough to value its exclusivity above the potential rewards of building a larger, multi-platform install base.

RT’s future therefore does not lie in complete abandonment of what was developed in the RT name, but rather in its integration into a more streamlined OS offering from Microsoft themselves. This will likely consist of a stripped down Windows Phone OS with 8.1 as its core and 8.1 itself, with UI scalability between Desktop and Tablet to overcome some of their more egregious mistakes with 8.

London Book Fair Interviews: Sara O’Connor of Hot Key Books

In the run up to The London Book Fair (see us on stand X610), we’ll be running a series of interviews with some prominent and interesting figures in the book publishing industry. Asking them for their thoughts on hot button issues that are currently resonating throughout the industry.

Our first is with Hot Key Books‘ Digital and Editorial Director, Sara O’Connor, who sets out and manages the digital strategy for the aforementioned Young Adult/Fiction publisher.

1. How has digital disrupted traditional publishing workflows, in your experience?

The traditional publishing workflow of author, to editor, to designer, to typesetting to printing or digitising, to selling, is still how books get published. The timings and costs are now much more variable, as well as the people behind those stages. We use xml typesetting software in house to control our scheduling and keep costs low. It is the selling part where digital disruption gets much more interesting.

I think the thing that surprises people the most about how we work at Hot Key is that social is fully integrated into our workflow – how we talk to each other, our authors and our readers from our MD, Sarah Odedina down through to our interns. It isn’t a separate marketing thing; it is constant and spontaneous and sometimes risky. We make time to blog daily, create videos weekly and experiment often on any channel that might expand our audience, and have created a job that sits equally between editorial and marketing, dedicated to telling the stories behind the stories – including the story behind the people at Hot Key Books. This process starts from the moment we acquire a book and never really ends.

2. Now the market is starting to show some signs of maturity, do you think digital growth will taper off?

I don’t think digital will encompass 100% of the market in my lifetime, and it has been growing from basically 0% – so it makes sense that digital growth is slowing down. But it will continue to grow and to be an essential and exciting place for publishers to deliver (and discover!) their content.

In terms of social media, I think growth will be exponential as publishers will continue to innovate and give more time and money to this space. Because it’s fun, but more because it is effective at reaching customers. And I think the people that will most benefit from this explosion are creative coders.

3. What’s the next “big thing” in the digital book space?

As a new company, we are still focusing on acquiring customers. For us, the next “big thing” is something that has been building for years: BookTubers are young people so excited about reading that they dedicate enormous time and energy into creating a YouTube channel dedicated solely to books – there are hundreds of them with thousands of subscribers and millions of views. What is not to love about that?

We’re also going to continue to play with how a book gets written, the “author” step of the workflow and linking that up with the “selling” step. We want the audience to be a partner with the author and with us in the book’s creation, by growing our online “live writing” website www.thestoryadventure.com and supporting authors like Laura Dockrill who is posting each step of the writing journey for her next YA series on tumblr at writinglorali.tumblr.com.

Outside of us, I think things like affiliate sales links, selling ebooks direct and gifting ebooks are exciting opportunities, all of which are being offered by companies like Valobox.

4. Do you see a “print renaissance” in the near future, with consumers starting to more greatly appreciate the concept of owning something physically tangible?

There can’t be a “print renaissance” if customers never stopped buying print in the first place. Readers never abandoned physical books – and publishers haven’t either. Individual readers will make individual choices on platform, often different for individual books. Publishers just need to provide as many options as are cost effective.

£300/$500 Amazon voucher still to be won

This week we launched our new Website with a riddle.

“What connects monkfish with YUDU?”

Answer: 1 Million. A monkfish lays a million eggs in a veil and YUDU serves a million page views every day

Our favourite responses were:

“They say monkfish tastes like lobster, but is much cheaper. Comparatively, with Yudu you get a high level solution at lower price range than other top solutions” Rui Pereira, Porto Editora

Monkfish is mostly head and the head is mostly mouth when you see the head you see mostly everything. Likewise, YUDU website homepage is the landing page, when you see it you see everything.” Lenard Pierre, Blink Mobile Foundation

“Both are in England and the USA” Lesley Rusick, Concordia Publishing house

(you will all receive a small prize in the post)

But no one spotted the connection.

So here is a second chance to win £300 / $500 of Amazon vouchers.


“They are based in 25 countries. Who are they?”

Email us your answers. (Clue: the answer is on the new Website)

One winner will be picked at random at 10am EST/3pm GMT on Tuesday 1st April.

ACE Awards: Publishing industry at a museum

YUDU at ACE AwardsLast night, the YUDU team headed to the ACE Press Awards at The Museum of London. We joined over 200 executives from the field of newspaper and magazine publishing, distribution and retailing.

As well as sponsoring the event we were proud to be shortlisted for the Support Services Provider of the Year award.

The evening kicked off with Dominic Holland spelling out the irony of the press awards being held at a Museum. “In a room mainly full of print industry professionals, Dominic lifted spirits by joking about the publishing industry’s inevitable move to museum status,” said Grant Wade, Business Development Manager, YUDU, “It was well received, and really spelt out the value we offer to the publishers”.

YUDU at ACE AwardsBeing part of the ACE event, and keeping close to organisations so close to the heart of publishing is what we enjoy at YUDU. “Last night was great,’ says Marcus Simmons, Business Development Manager, YUDU ‘good to see traditional publishers speaking so positively about their business”.

Thanks to everyone who helped us get shortlisted as Support Services Provider of the Year and congratulations to all the winners, especially to our clients Time Out on winning Circulation Excellence for a Free Title.

New site announcement and competition

To celebrate the launch of our new Website, we have been writing riddles.

Email us the answer the riddle below for your chance to win a £300 or $500 Amazon voucher.

“What connects a monkfish with YUDU?”

The winner will be picked from a hat of correct entries at 2pm GMT this Friday. Answer to be revealed next week. Good luck!

(Answer can be found on the new Website).