Category Archives: publishing

Great Idea: Don’t just sell cookware when customers want you to help them become a better cook

hammock idea emailOn the Hammock Blog, there’s a post that’s a web-version of the current edition of The Idea Email. It’s inspired by all the ways the retailer Williams-Sonoma uses different forms of customer media and content that demonstrates the company’s understanding that “buying more pots and pans” is not what their customers are seeking — becoming better cooks is.

Side pitch about The Idea Email: If you don’t subscribe to the “one bright idea, every two weeks,” you should. Here’s where: http://www.hammock.com/idea-email/

My predictions for the future of print magazines

Published in 1741, Ben Franklin's General magazine shut-down after six issues, making it the first example in the U.S. of why there is no future in print magazines.
Published in 1741, Ben Franklin’s General magazine shut-down after six issues, making it the first example in the U.S. of why there is no future in print magazines.
On the Hammock blog, a post I wrote was added this morning that outlines 14 predictions I have for print magazines. It’s rather long, but I felt the need to collect several threads into one post.

Several of the themes will sound familiar to the 12 readers of RexBlog.

Quote:

“I’ve found that doubts about the future of print magazines typically occur when the people who say, “I love reading the newspaper in print” realize they spend more time keeping up with news via a screen than they ever have with print. Or, more noticeably, when they discover the practicality of reading books on a screen. One day they start thinking about how their personal reading habits have changed, and they begin to wonder what’s going to happen to the daily newspaper or print magazines they never look at anymore.

“The personal experience these people are having with digital and print media is a good indication of what the “beginning” of the future of media is.”

I will re-post it here later, but we’re tweaking (and by “we’re tweaking,” I mean “not me” but the person who is capable of doing it) some CSS code so that the “tooltips” (the pop-up messages that appear when you hover over a link) that are in the Hammock.com version will work here.

Until then, you can read it here.

[Graphic: Published in 1741, Ben Franklin's General Magazine.]

Marco Arment’s Master Plan to Revolutionize the Future of Publishing

The MagazineActually, Marco, the developer of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, says he doesn’t have a plan, nor is his new creation, The Magazine, a model for “how it’s done.”

Quote:

“A publication’s app should be designed and built with purpose and consideration. The Magazine works because I based decisions not on what everyone else was doing, but on what would be best for this magazine. Every publication has its own unique needs, audience, economics, and style, so their apps should reflect that.”

While Marco Arment may not have a master plan, the things he does without a plan are far more intriguing than are those attempted by people who wear suits and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on what they think are master plans.

Anticipate what customers will think, before they think it

We learned this morning that Ray Bradbury, one of the most prolific and influential writers (I didn’t use the term “science fiction” purposefully) of the past century, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. It is now about 1 p.m. CDT and news about his death appears on the front of most of the major news sites I’ve visited in the past five minutes.

As someone who helps clients sell things on the internet, I was curious to see how quickly online booksellers have responded to the news of Bradbury’s death. While I’d prefer not to label anyone’s death, a “merchandizing opportunity,” I think it is only natural that a bookseller would anticipate a spike in interest in Bradbury today in the same way the music of an artist might spike in interest after their death. It’s not advertising or merchandizing if it’s something that will help a customer learn about something they want to learn about.

So, at approximately 12:45 p.m., CDT, I surfed a few retail booksellers websites and captured a screen grab. Here are the front pages of those sites at the time I visited them:

Amazon.com: A message on the front of the Books page with links to his author page.

Audible.com – An “In Memoriam”

BN.com – Nothing

Powells.com – Nothing

I could continue, but every site I visited at 12:45 p.m. CDT — including all of the independent bookstores that I admire, had nothing. Apple’s iBook store had nothing.

I’m sure every bookseller online and off will have something posted soon. But there’s a reason, more than pricing and service that Amazon (and its subsidiary, Audible.com) dominate the online book retailing market.

In commoditized markets, anticipating what customers want before they know they want it, is one of few ways left of adding value to your relationship with a customer.

Rethinking the role of cover when the book is digital

Craig Mod has written an insightful essay on the role of “book cover” when applied to ebooks. [Read it here.]

Think about it: The cover serves a critical marketing purpose for physical books. However, online, ebook covers are typically displayed in thumbnail size. Moreover, the type of text-based information you find on a physical book cover is surrounding that ebook cover thumbnail.

So if you don’t need text on the cover, what should the cover become? What role should it play?

Craig Mod quote:

The classic notion of a cover made digital is more like a book’s .favicon rather than a gateway into the text. It’s at best a small piece within a larger design system, and at worst, never seen.

[Link via: Domino Project]