05 Oct, 2011 | Posted by: st

Changing the Rules

By Lee Foster

If you want to get involved in the new world of apps and ebooks, it is best to be of a resilient temperament.

Resilience is a virtue because the big marketers in the field can change the rules, and occasionally do. Apple and Amazon are the biggest marketers. You will need to work with them. Sometimes they do change the rules.
For example, I have a specialized app entitled San Francisco Travel Photo Guide and two other specialized apps in the Apple iTunes app store.

I am grandfathered in and will always have an honored place in iTunes. However, I would not be allowed to publish my app as a high level “root directory” listing today in iTunes. Apple is now restricting my publisher, Sutro Media, to “country-wide” titles, with more specialized titles to be sold within a free app entitled Sutro World.

Suppose I wanted to do a new travel photo app today entitled Wisconsin Scenic Byways and Farms. That would be an appealing subject to me. It is unlikely, however, that I could get a “root directory” high level visibility for it now in the iTunes store. It would have to be sold from within the Sutro World free app. Without the visibility, would it be successful?

Amazon has done some similar switches. Some of my colleagues have published ebooks and the parallel print-on-demand books through an Ingram book distribution entity called Lightning Source. Amazon has carried these products, although Amazon has its competing print-on-demand entity called CreateSpace.

Now, Amazon is diminishing the Lightning Source distribution access. The issues are complex, involving discounts offered and whether the book on Amazon is listed as In Stock (delivery in 2-3 days) or Delivery Time 2-3 Weeks (a sales killer).

Amazon has an interest in promoting its own CreateSpace publishing option rather than its competitor, Lightning Source.

It is sometimes difficult to keep up with all these changing developments. One of my critical sources of information is Joel Friedlander, who spends his waking moments following this publishing revolution.

Each night Joel posts another nuanced insight in the book design world, which is now mainly about ebook creation and distribution. You can subscribe to his daily insights for free and browse his past commentaries at www.thebookdesigner.com.

Joel has gathered some of his most critical comments into his book A Self Publisher’s Companion.

Those who change the rules sometimes do so as a brutal power play to get business and kill the competition. Sometimes they also do so in an effort to improve the consumer experience in the marketplace.

Apple probably feels that the app world is getting a little cluttered, from a consumer perspective, and that more order needs to be asserted. Sometimes there are also inadvertent changes in the rules due to technological innovation.

When I wake up tomorrow, the rules may change again.
There is always the possibility of a nefarious background aspect to a rules change. However, there is also sometimes the possibility of a glorious technological breakthrough that will increase consumer joy regarding app and ebook products.

On October 4 Apple announced a new generation of iPhones, the iPhone4s,
with incremental technological advances. It is possible that the new generation of pc tablets, such as the new Amazon Kindle Fire, will have a transformative effect because they support good color graphics, comparable to the iPad, but are much cheaper. These color-enabled pc tablets may greatly increase the Android-system market for photographers developing apps and ebooks.

Lee Foster Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715, Berkeley, CA 94705,(510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


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