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Joe Wikert
I'm director of strategy and business development at Olive Software (
Interests: Hockey, baseball, football, science and technology
Recent Activity
Hi Frank. I can't say that it is, at least not on the roadmaps I've seen or read about.
The best content curators have extensive topic knowledge and a knack for reader interests and preferences. That sounds like something only a living, breathing human can do, right? While that’s largely the case today, I believe technology will drive the... Continue reading
Hi Kevin. You make an excellent point about the business model for this. That's why scale would be so important, which is also why I mentioned the need for these services to bring even more subscribers to their platforms. The Week has obviously figured out a way to make this work. But then again, I figure they're not paying the publishers for fair use of excerpts like Oyster pays when a book is read. That makes me wonder if The Week's fair use model is something to consider here though. After all, if a summary or only excerpts are provided, could the all-you-can-read platform do that for free, not having to pay the publisher a nickel? I ask that last question because I came across an interesting product on Oyster recently. I was thinking of reading the new David Brooks book, "The Road to Character." It's not available on Oyster yet, of course, but a summary of it is. That summary was written by someone who published it through Smashwords and now it's also part of Oyster's all-you-can-read model. It's like the Cliffs Notes approach. I'm not sure it's worth reading the summary but I'd be surprised if that author or Smashwords or Oyster are paying the publisher of Brooks' anything for selling a summary like this...
The initial promise is compelling, especially for voracious readers. For $10-$15/month consumers get access to more content than they could possibly read in a month. That ultimately creates a bigger problem than the subscription platforms probably realize. For more than... Continue reading
A recent email from Evernote piqued my curiosity. I’ve used the note-taking tool for years but never found a reason to upgrade from the Basic (free) version to the Premium (paid) version. Their email announced a “Plus” version with a... Continue reading
Hi Michael. Yes, many services are starting to ask for more personal information these days. Since they're my cell carrier I figure AT&T knows infinitely more about me, my habits, my travels, etc., than NextDoor could ever figure out.
Hi Marc. I typically feel the same way and don't want to pay more for an ebook than a print book. Now that I have this print version though I *know* I would have paid more for the e-version. Why? The print book is an awkward trim size, a bit wider than a typical book. As a result, it's clumsy to hold and read. Then there's the fact that I don't want to lug it around with me. So yes, in this case I gladly would have paid a bit more for the e-edition.
Ever since ebooks gained traction the publishing industry has obsessed with what’s typically referred to as “the discovery problem.” The common wisdom is that discovery of the content will lead to fame and fortune. What's next, now that ebook sales... Continue reading
I recently did something that I haven’t done for more than five years: I bought a physical, print edition of a book. For myself. I didn’t want to, but I had to. The publisher made me do it. The story... Continue reading
Oyster started as an all-you-can-read ebook subscription service but they recently decided to expand their reach by selling individual ebooks as well. There’s been plenty of speculation on why they made this move, including catching up to competitors like Scribd... Continue reading
The team at Book Business recently hosted a one-day, invite-only event in NY. I had the pleasure of attending as well as moderating the first panel of the day, Transforming Your Company for the New Era of Book Publishing. The... Continue reading
Today’s ebook subscription providers offer a nice value proposition for avid readers. It’s great that the all-you-can-read models from Oyster, Scribd and Kindle Unlimited provide consumers with something other than the print model where you buy one book at a... Continue reading
Hi Brian. Thanks for your note. No, I hadn't heard about Gelernter but I'll definitely check it out. Very cool that he was starting to develop this vision way back in the 90's!
You knew it wouldn’t last forever. You expected the double-digit growth rates would taper off but you never anticipated your ebook sales would flatten out so quickly. Is the ebook revolution over? Is this as good as it gets for... Continue reading
Hi Lori. Yes, this one certainly has plenty of privacy challenges. I'm not sure they're any more of an obstacle than what we see with other modern apps and platforms though. This definitely requires a variety of privacy settings for the user to select from, no doubt. And you're right about the memoir angle. The other one I didn't want to mention, mostly because it's just such a dark and dreary subject, is obits and memorial services. I've seen family members frantically digging around after a loved one dies, trying to assemble a video tribute. Why not let something like *this* fill that void, particularly since it's curated by the actual person whose life it describes? Are you listening, newspaper publishers?... This could be a really cool way to not only redeploy your content but also help you remain relevant in the digital obits business.
Every year it seems our cell phones take on new roles in our lives. Long ago flip phones merely enabled you to make calls. Today’s smartphones are loaded with sensors to do everything from track your health to tell you... Continue reading
Congratulations, print publishers. You dealt with enormous disruption these past several years and you managed to avoid the same fate as your music industry counterparts. For example, most book publishers still generate 70-80% of their revenue from print. How many... Continue reading
Have you paid much attention to the various pricing options used in the streaming content space? A recent article on re/code talks about the challenges the music industry faces as it wrestles with free, ad-subsidized streaming services. In short, the... Continue reading
A recent article in The Washington Post explained why most students prefer print textbooks over their digital equivalent. There’s no disputing the fact that print still dominates the textbook sector. That article correctly identified the “what” but I’m not convinced... Continue reading
You’ve undoubtedly heard all the hype by now. Sensors will be everywhere and we’re about to sink in the sea of data they’ll produce. Don’t just view the Internet of Things (IoT) as how your coffeemaker connects to the web... Continue reading
The date was April 8, 1927 and the front page of The New York Times featured this headline: FAR-OFF SPEAKERS SEEN AS WELL AS HEARD HERE IN A TEST OF TELEVISION. Click here to read a PDF version. As I... Continue reading
Which is better at assessing your content interests: a display ad on a random website or the app you spend hours reading magazines in each month? If my recent experience is any indication, the display ad is the winner, hands... Continue reading
My magazine reading is almost exclusively limited to what’s offered in my Next Issue subscription. If you’re not familiar with Next Issue, it’s an all-you-can-read e-zine service featuring more than 140 titles. Sports Illustrated, BusinessWeek and Wired are just a... Continue reading
I used to buy ebooks from Amazon but now I read almost exclusively on Oyster Books. Years ago I subscribed to a bunch of magazines and now I read all but one of them through Next Issue (The Week is... Continue reading
Most publishers cringe at the thought of crowdsourcing. Publishers often believe they exclusively own the art of content curation and they feel threatened when they sense others encroaching on their turf. It’s hard to argue with that logic, especially in... Continue reading