Sir William Garrow And The Power Of BBC Prime Time

sir-william-garrow-hostettler-brabyA new entry in Amazon’s Hot Future Releases in Business, Finance & Law.

In at number nine, and likely to rise and rise in the coming weeks, is Sir William Garrow: His Life, Times and Fight for Justice by John Hostettler and Richard Braby.

In other news, a BBC drama set in the 18th century and featuring the life, times and fight for justice of an  idealistic young barrister began last night.

Garrow’s Law stars Andrew Buchan (he of ITV’s The Fixer and BBC4’s short-lived Party Animals) and is written by Tony Marchant (The Mark of Cain, Holding On etc).

As Buchan and Marchant take hold of Sunday evenings between now and Christmas, expect Hostettler and Braby’s book (not published until 1 December) to scale the pre-order charts.

Just like that upstart Twitter, the BBC has the power to shift units.

As Print Dwindles, can Amazon Re-Kindle?

As Print Dwindles, can Amazon Re-Kindle?

Amazon-KindleLast week it was Apple’s iPhone, this week it is Amazon’s Kindle. Different mobile device, same question. 

As The Independent puts it hopefully in today’s business section: “Kindle to save papers?”

You see, Amazon’s e-reader is coming to the UK. Company founder Jeff Bezos posted the much-anticipated announcement on his site earlier this week.

And he made a compelling sales pitch for the £175 device:

Kindle uses the same 3G wireless technology as advanced mobile phones, with coverage in over 100 countries worldwide, so you never need to hunt for a WiFi hotspot. Unlike mobile phones, there are no monthly data charges and no yearly contracts.

So far, so portable. But will it work as a news-reader, not just a book-reader?

There are some who think the answer is absolutely yes.

US media analyst Diane Mermigas is one. Writing on the Bnet blog yesterday, she offered five reasons why newspapers must embrace e-readers.

Among her arguments, Mermigas says Kindle and co. provide the perfect vehicle for micro-payments; offer a ready-made social networking platform for interaction and media brand engagement; and allow newspaper owners to ultimately phase out costly print production.

The New York Times, Washington Post and – yes – The Independent have all signed up with Amazon and will be hoping much of this vision proves correct.

But the case is no yet proven.

For a start, e-readers are designed to replicate the book reading experience (ie) you start on page one and continue to end. Newspaper consumption is not a linear experience offline, and certainly not online.

Moreover, the interent satisfies the task-driven consumption of news because of its breadth of sources, free access and ease of search in a way an e-reader will struggle to replicate.

And despite the impressive numbers – 100 countries and an estimated 10 million e-readers (of all flavours) sold by the end of 2010 – they pale when compared to the internet itself.

To this non-user, at least, Kindle feels like internet-lite.

And while there may be an attractive case for newspapers to sign-up are they confident they can take enough readers with them?

Apple Apps Emerge As Possible Paid Solution
Is Amazon About to Sell Adverts In E-Books?
Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival

Chris Brown, JK Wedding Entrance Dance And Unintended Consequences

The trouble with applying offline rules to online business is that you fail to account for new models. The music industry has fought perhaps the longest, and most misguided, battle of this sort.

In an effort to protect what has historically been its cash cow (the album) the industry has vigorously gone after illegal downloaders, sharers, rippers and burners. Legally and morally, it’s not difficult to side with the musicians and their masters. But logically?

Look what can happen when someone illegal rips a tune. Take the amazingly popular – and funny – JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

Featuring Chris Brown’s Forever, the video has now been watched more than 22 million times. By the middle of the summer, Brown’s single reached number four on the iTunes singles chart and number three on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list – and it has continued to sell steadily ever since. That’s over a year since its official release.


It is arguable whether either the music industry or the artist deserve this kind of luck, but luck they have had.

As the media industry obsesses over paywalls and micropayments, it would do well to look at the story of Chris Brown and the JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

(UPDATE: Some interesting analysis of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance phenomenon from the Official Google Blog. Clearly Google – owner of YouTube – has an agenda but it’s interesting stuff nonetheless: I now pronounce you monetized)
Free is just another cover price
What Chris Brown’s YouTube Apology Tells Us About New Media
What if the business model for news ain’t broke?

Is Amazon About To Sell Adverts In E-books?

While the news media wrestles with paywalls, micropayments and subscriptions after 15 years of ‘free’, Amazon looks set to add another revenue stream to its potentially lucrative e-books business.

A big hat tip goes to David Weir writing on the BNET Media blog who has spotted that the online retail giant has applied for a patent that would see it inserting adverts into e-books.

So coupled with the cost of the Kindle reader (the latest generation of which retails for $359 on, well, and the price of each book download, we may soon see the company making money from ads. Contextual advertising, we presume. And because the e-books will be “generated” on-demand, the advertising can be bang up to date. 

The application, which rests with the US Patent & Trademark Office and was filed last Thursday, is suitably titled On-demand generating e-book content with advertising and states explicitly:

as part of printing documents in an on-demand fashion, the on-demand printed content provides the opportunity to incorporate advertisements, as well as other subject matter, in an on-demand printed document.

Weir says the advertising plan raises lots of big questions, such as:

Does Amazon plan to share ad revenue with content creators, or will be forced to do so via the courts — in our example, with the Hemingway estate?

It’s one of many issues to ponder.

For example, Amazon may chose to change its business model in future, selling its Kindle reader with lower or zero margins in an effort to grow the market which in turn will help it to sell more e-books (and more advertising). This, in essence, is the games console model.

Which begs another question: what’s the news media model? Anyone?