You.gov recently published the results of an online poll of 29,000 Americans about their book ownership. Over 90 percent of respondents own at least some printed books. Yet 45 percent of survey participants do not own any ebooks, suggesting they have never even tried the format. But the results suggest that will continue to change over time as well. Among people 18 to 44, the portion of people who don’t own ebooks drops to 33 percent. The share is highest among those 65 and over, at 60 percent.
Firebrand Technologies announced the coming launch of two new products for publishers. Firebrand Flywheel uses a recommendation engine to “strategically select” and then execute titles for timely metadata enhancement. They will start onboarding clients in January. Title Management Lite, also available in January, is a simplified version of their core enterprise service, focused on smaller publishers “with fewer needs.” It still “includes the most important features your team needs to track workflows, manage schedules, and collect and distribute your data,” and is upgradeable to their Enterprise version.
Scribd announced that it will now separate its content across three products, with ebooks and audiobooks moving to a new app called Everand. Everand will also host magazines, podcasts, news articles, and sheet music. Meanwhile, Scribd.com and a new Scribd app will continue to host documents and other community-uploaded content, while they continue to operate SlideShare as a separate entity. Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd, said in a release, “Over the last 16 years, we’ve offered a wide variety of content to everyone, but we recognized that readers either gravitated toward ebooks and audiobooks, or documents and research. […]
The Book Industry Study Group has been working to combat metadata pollution, in which simple fields like “subtitle” are turned into marketing crud such as, “A Thrilling Suspense Novel from the Bestselling Author of X.” The problem resides on both sides of the Onix feed: “BISG understands that some metadata senders claim they are placing promotional copy in title and subtitle fields explicitly because some retailers do not display the data provided in fields such as ‘Promotional Headline.’ Retailers could be more transparent about how they categorize and display metadata. Without transparency, publishers have chosen ‘known-to-be-indexed’ data elements like subtitle […]
Draft2Digital has announced the acquisition of SelfPubBookCovers.com, a marketplace for pre-made book covers from professional designers. D2D will run the cover site from a new Author Success division, headed by Nick Thacker. He says in the release, “Our mission at Author Success, as it is with SPBC, is to help authors efficiently procure the highest-quality essential publishing services for the least cost and effort.” SPBC co-founder Rob Sturtz will remain with the company during a transition period. D2D says it “plans to introduce a major refresh to the [SPBC] marketplace in late 2024 or early 2025 that will enable improved […]
With the avalanche of interest in generative AI and the large language models they are trained on, stories have resurfaced showing the process’s dirty roots. As shown in a 2021 working paper authored by Jack Bandy and Nicholas Vincent, OpenAI, Google’s BERT and variants, and many other foundational LLMs all have “documentation debt” to BookCorpus, “a popular text dataset for training large language models.” Compiled in 2014 by researchers at the University of Toronto and MIT, BookCorpus should have been called Stolen from Smashwords. The researchers apparently scraped posted, self-published ebooks posted by Smashwords that were being offered to read […]