Skip to main content

The Demo That Wasn't and The Conference That Was

You may have noticed we were pretty excited about O'Reilly's Tools of Change conference, which is still going on through the end of today in New York. This is really the place for people who love books, digital technology and the things they can do for each other. Apparently the ranks of people like this are growing. Eight hundred attended this year's conference, compared with 200 last year, when our CEO David Durand gave his Tutorial on Digitizing your Backlist.

Overall, the show was all we could have hoped for. Underlying the rapid attendance growth is a general feeling that 2008 is the breakout year…the year books start to move online in the way other media have over the past dozen years. David Rothman, an influential blogger at Publishers Weekly had just written us up, and interest in our proposition was high.

We were especially excited because this year we were on the program to give a Lightning Demo of Agile PDF, including the first showing of a new control panel that makes creating a digital bookselling site easy, like setting up a blog or a Flickr account is easy. We'll be posting more details over the next day or so.

Unfortunately, the live presentation didn't go the way we planned. The Lightning Demo format allows each presenter exactly five minutes, which under the best of circumstances would be enough to show a tiny fraction of what Agile PDF can do. As it worked out, however, David's login to the demo system timed out while he was waiting to get on stage, and he barely got out of the gate.

That's the breaks of the demo game, but we were disappointed. We were sure (and subsequent one-on-ones bore out) that we had an absolute killer piece of software to show, and we wanted it to get the widest exposure possible.

We'll make up for it by posting screens from the demo here over the next few days (much more detailed than would have fit in the five minutes), and offering web based demos to anyone who contacts us.

Aside from all the interest from publisher prospects, one of my favorite moments came in a panel discussion including Rothman and Tonya Engst of TidBITS Publishing, a true digital pioneer. In response to the longstanding debate over how much ebooks should cost, she said "exactly as much as it takes to maximize revenue." That brought a murmur of approval from the room...including us. Publishers need to find their own answers to these questions, and we designed Agile PDF from the outset to help with that.

I was also pleased when in the same session veteran consultant Mike Shatzkin noted that based on his legwork almost all ebooks being bought nowadays are actually read on computers, despite the buzz about dedicated handhelds like Kindle. Further, he said that PDF was by far the dominant content format, over reader-specific formats, and he professed to be baffled as to why publishers would not sell the PDFs they already have as digital products.

We're glad to be baffled in such good company!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

AppGap: Tizra more than just a "great tool for content sellers"

Bill Ives has been writing about knowledge management since the days when for most people that meant color coding your files, so we were really pleased when he agreed to evaluate Tizra Publisher in The AppGap , a blog on the future of work. We were even more pleased when he said "I see this service as a great tool for content sellers." But we thought his keenest insight was into applications beyond traditional publishing... [Tizra Publisher] can also be a useful content distribution system for enterprises that need to manage the presentation of their information. This will be especially useful for verticals with a lot of internal content such as legal firms, pharma, and other research oriented enterprises. Ives saw Tizra's combination of easy and yet precisely controlled content distribution as key for these users, and others needing to share marketing and technical information. Read the full review .

Webinar Sneak Preview: Strategic SEO - Increasing Your Organization's Visibility

Q+A with SEO expert Pam Long of True Digital We caught up with Pam Long and asked her to answer just a few SEO-related questions in advance of her upcoming webinar - Strategic SEO: Increasing Your Organization's Visibility . In this session, Pam will focus on the SEO challenges faced by association and mission-based publishers and organizations, and the Q+A below is just a small taste of the information she has to share, and she'll be taking your questions throughout the webinar! To register for this free webinar which takes place on Thursday, October 12 from 1pm ET - 2pm ET, click here . 1. What's the biggest SEO challenge facing association/mission-based publishers? You need to face the reality that there are organizations out there that have been generating content with the intent of being found far longer than many associations have had digital content available at all. You’re competing against the likes of Google Books and Amazon, who are very, very good

Keeping Local Talent Local

Rhode Island's small, but it's got talent. I'd put the community of designers and software engineers surrounding Brown and RISD up against any I've worked with in New York or Boston. Yet technology startups haven't flourished here as you might expect, and much of Rhode Island's talent gets lured to the brighter lights of bigger cities. Yesterday, we got more evidence that the state is working to correct that when the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation approved our application for a $100,000 Innovation Tax Credit .  The credit will provide one more reason for investors to bet their capital on Tizra, and will mean Tizra can put more of those great engineers and designers to work close to home.