Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A relevant comment from 'Good Morning Silicon Valley', on the news that Google will now be selling small ads for US newspapers-

For the newspaper industry, which failed to understand where its future lay back before Craigslist had a CEO and Google was still run out of a Stanford dorm room, and has been suffering miserably for it ever since, the program is a way to make some money off inventory that would typically be filled with worthless house ads. But it also proffers a dubious bargain: it will bolster the newspapers' flagging advertising revenues, but it may undercut their existing advertising relationships and, more importantly, rates in the process. Says Publishing 2.0: "Handing the reins over to Google’s efficient direct response advertising machine will only hasten the realization that the Web is much more efficient than print at driving action and response."

Will this sort of thing work in the UK? Probably sometime soon. Though the official moment will only be recognised when you read it in a newspaper.
The Guardian Review on Saturday included a few paragraphs from the Bookseller on the inside back cover about the prospects for e-books, or an 'e-reading device'. Joel Rickett remembers the mistaken hopes for the CD-Rom in the '90s and suggests that publishers are now very cautious. There is no mention of Google or Google Books as such but news that Random House and Harper Collins are investing in digital versions of their titles. This may be to ensure the text can be found by search engines in a manner the publisher controls. Probably Joel Rickett reflects industry opinion in suggesting that although all publishers "are frantically planning for the tipping point when an e-reading device really takes off, predictions for the book's trade's 'iPod moment' range from two to five years."

In my view the process has already gone some way. Many people find text online that may or may not be regarded as a book equivalent. Last week I had a look at the new version of Acrobat from Adobe. Most of their presentation is about the benefits of Acrobat Connect for collaboration beyond the limits of the document. This conferencing suite used to be known as Breeze from Macromedia and is mostly based on Flash. Lots of video and animated Powerpoint etc. I am still in shock about this as I am used to editing text or adding comments to a fixed page. Maybe this is something I will get used to eventually but it is a point of departure for Acrobat as a PDF product. Over the last ten years or so PDF has represented on screen the layout of a printed page. Adobe seem to think we should be moving away from this. I will try to keep an open mind but the arrival of Acrobat 8 is for me a defining moment in realising what I liked about all the previous versions. Apparently the new version of a Reader will be in Flash but can accept PDF as an input. I have had a look at the beta. Maybe some people will prefer this. A small download if you already have Flash, but there is no way to copy out text to combine with something else. An engagement platform? I don't think so.

Have a look at this ad c/o YouTube

This strikes me as mostly an ad for Flash. The type is all over the place. With previous versions of Adobe there was often a White Paper or something similar in a PDF format. This sort of thing is now harder to find.

Enough on where Adobe might be going. The main point is that an 'iPod moment' for books has already happened.