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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
The news from Oyster Books was disappointing but hardly surprising. They recently announced plans to “sunset” the service in the coming months, a fancy way of saying their all-you-can-read experiment is over. It’s unfortunate, as I believe there are both... Continue reading
Ad blocking is one of the more controversial features of Apple’s new iOS release. Apple prefers to call it “content blocking”, but it’s mostly intended to block all those pesky website ads that nag us every day. Publishers are, of... Continue reading
Scan today’s news and you’ll undoubtedly see plenty of stories about how the majority of content is being consumed on mobile devices. In fact, you’ll probably use your own mobile device when you do that scan. Like many of you,... Continue reading
More and more book publishers seem to be focused on building a better direct relationship with consumers. Some of these direct-to-consumer (D2C) efforts are well thought-out while others are nothing more than publishers following the crowd. How else do you... Continue reading
I'm not aware of any built-in Flipboard functionality to do this but it sounds like a terrific idea they ought to offer. On my iPad I'm able to push Flipboard articles to my Evernote account and I could annotate them there, but I don't see a way to do this inside Flipboard itself.
As interesting as the all-you-can read models from Next Issue, Oyster Books and Scribd are, I believe Amazon just introduced a new model that’s likely to be much more disruptive in the long run. I’m talking about Amazon Underground, where... Continue reading
The goal of the content sample is to acquire new customers, right? So why are publishers settling for sample content models that are outdated and largely ineffective? Look at ebooks, for instance. Publishers mostly rely on retailers for discovery and... Continue reading
I’m a big believer in the notion that content containers are slowly going away in the digital world. Those things we think of in the physical world as books, newspapers and magazines are being redefined digitally. It’s a slow evolution... Continue reading
I’m sure most of you bristle at the thought of curators being more valuable than creators. After all, the former have no job without the latter. I agree, but it’s not as if the content creation population is declining. In... Continue reading
Some people think the book is dead, much as Joe referred to obsolete single-use devices like the GPS while discussing the potential for peer-to-peer content distribution. The truth is, we're living in a world that's going to want and need... Continue reading
The year is 2020 and I’m about to make a digital content purchase. It’s amazing how much the industry has evolved in the past five years. For example, pricing is no longer a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it component. I now have multiple... Continue reading
The smartwatch movement inspired me recently, which is surprising because I haven’t worn a watch since I started carrying a smartphone many years ago. I’m about as far as you can get from being a fashionista and I liken a... Continue reading
Remember the “info snacking” phrase that was somewhat buzzworthy several years ago? The thinking was that everyone was too focused on reading short bursts of content and soon no one would have the attention span to read an entire book.... Continue reading
Couldn't have said it better myself. I love your point about how apps are "books-minus", not "books-plus." That's so true. I'd take it a step further and, for the most part, even static ebooks are "books-minus", particularly since you can't resell them or give them to a friend when you're finished with them. It's also hard to refute your suggestion that "innovation seldom comes from long-established companies." While that's been the case since the dawn of time, the real shame is when those incumbents have such a stranglehold on the industry that they're actually stifling innovation. I think that tends to be true in publishing today as well.
You’ve probably heard me say that we live in a print-under-glass world, one where we’re consuming dumb content on smart devices.­­ It’s true simply because, as Michael Bhaskar of Canelo Publishing stated it at BEA, “publishers treat ebooks as a... Continue reading
I recently asked what questions you’d like to see answered via reader analytics. I gathered feedback from a variety of publishers including trade, professional and educational. The standard requests about reading sequence, how long it takes to finish a chapter,... Continue reading
The painful reality is that we still live in a print-under-glass world, struggling to produce content that leverages our powerful phones and tablets. I was explaining this to a publisher recently and the phrase “escape velocity” came to mind. In... Continue reading
In my book publisher days I recall saying the following to our Amazon rep: “You guys are capturing a ton of reading data from our customers. When are you going to start charging us to access that information?” She looked... Continue reading
The Javits Center must have some sort of time warp technology. I recently attended the BEA event there and I kept asking myself the same question: Is this 2015 or 2005? The digital vibe was almost nowhere to be found... Continue reading
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.