Salman Rushdie Defends Free Speech at 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair Opening

The Frankfurt Book Fair is always an exciting publishing industry event.  Kick it off  with Salman Rushdie as a keynote speaker, talking about free speech and you have an event worthy of world-wide discovery.  Publishers Weekly posted a great article, “Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: At Opening, Salman Rushdie Defends Free Speech” about this monumental event.

Author Salman Rushdie with Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos
Author Salman Rushdie with Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos – Photo courtesy of Publishers Weekly

“I’ve always thought in a way that we should not need to discuss freedom of speech in the West, that it should be like the air we breathe,” Rushdie said. But violence and the ongoing threats of violence, he acknowledged, requires publishers to fight on.”

“At this point, publishing begins to feel like a war,” he observed. “And publishers and writers are not warriors. We have no guns, no tanks. But it falls to us to hold the line, not to withdraw from our positions, but to understand that this is a position from which we cannot fall back.”

As publishers here in the U.S. we need to recognize how lucky we are to be able to publish what we want, and to understand the power behind our publications.

This article made me stop and think about the content I am working on and I’m reflecting on how I can, and should be doing a better job for the reader, as a publisher and a writer. I sent this article around to my editorial team and have asked everyone to think about the incredible freedom we have as publishers, and if we’re doing all that we can do.

Since reading the article, I’ve spent some time on line searching on the subject of “freedom of the press making an impact” and stumbled upon this Discussion paper – Freedom of the Press and Media in the World by Marietje Schaake MEP.

One particular paragraph in this paper stood out to me and I read it several times over.

“In many societies across the world however, it is precisely the powerful impact of independent journalism, and increasingly digital media and their cohesive effects, which create anxiety to those in power. Sunlight is a threat to those who seek to hide corruption, abuse of power, and injustice from the public eye. Journalists and media still mostly face restrictions coming from government interference. Should citizen journalists be distinguished from quality journalism and do different rights and responsibilities apply? Is a newspaper article more valuable than a 20 sentence online blog, and who should make that judgment?”

Freedom of speech should be a fundamental right for everyone around the world and I am grateful that I have such an opportunity speak freely. As we continue to move through the Masters of Professional Publishing program at The George Washington University, let’s all keep freedom of speech top of mind and we’re sure to become publishers that will make a positive impact on the world.


Leading Dairy Brand Announces Free Online Interactive eCookbook

A recent press release put out by Hood® Cream caught my attention. The title of the release reads, “Hood® Cream Teams Up With Chef Chris Coombs To Launch Its First-Ever eCookbook“.

HP Hood eCookbook
Hood(R) Cream partners with renowned New England Chef Chris Coombs to launch the brand’s first-ever eCookbook. (PRNewsFoto/HP Hood)

The words that stand out to me are “First-Ever eCookbook” as if it has never been done before…ever. This is of course Hood’s first attempt at venturing into the e-publishing space so it is their first e-book. I like that they are using this as a marketing and promotional tool. They have partnered with Chef Chris Coombs, so it lends authority to the eCookbook, while building their brand identity.

The book is called Chef Creations Inspired by Hood Cream and it downloaded as a PDF for free.

Users can take the eCookbook with them anywhere they go with the ability to download it on multiple devices like tablets, desktop computers and smartphones. At-home chefs will enjoy thoughtful notes from Chef Coombs about each recipe and can also take advantage of the eCookbook’s interactive features including simple social media sharing on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, and a step-by-step hands-free countertop “cook mode” viewing option.

They are heavily noting the ease of use that their e-Cookbook provides to users and how it can be taken anywhere. Since this is only a PDF, there is no video but they do have “simple” sharing options.

This appears to be a big deal for Hood® Cream to have published an electronic cookbook. I wonder how long it took the company to come to the realization that they should be utilizing an e-Cookbook to promote their product.  Perhaps their next e-Cookbook will be more interactive. Only time will tell.

Is Electronic Publishing the Future for the Education Market?

By Sherrie Wilkolaski

Publishers in the education market are looking to electronic publishing and other digital educational tools as a way to improve the learning process and manipulate their educational text. The printed textbook is starting to look a bit old-fashioned when you compare it to high-tech tablet in the classroom. Leading educational publishers are taking big steps to utilize technology when it comes to publishing. In early September, BookBusiness reported that, “Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world, announced a partnership with leading adaptive learning company Knewton”.

The collaboration between Hachette Livre and Knewton is a step in the right direction and with both companies being industries leaders in what they do, I look forward to seeing what they can do together to improve the future of education. We’re living in a world where electronic information is free-flowing in all areas of life. Why should the education process be any different? As a current student who was looking for an online learning alternative, I was surprised to learn during my quest for an online graduate program, that more schools were not offering what I was looking for. There are many schools who are doing an excellent job at utilizing a virtual and electronic classroom, such as The George Washington University, but still there is room for growth.

Only days before the announcement of the Hachette Livre and Knewton partnership, McGraw Hill Education revealed they will be going public. They reach both the K-12 markets and higher education, and per the Insider Trading Report, they noted, McGraw Hill Education, “also makes products for specific needs of companies, academic institutions, libraries and hospitals.” They will be focusing on “developing educational content technology” and their announcement is another indicator that the educational publishing is looking to electronic publishing and technology as the future.

What does all this electronic publishing mean for students? Will electronic publishing ultimately create a better leaning environment? Will new learning technologies replace the textbook and provide a less expensive alternative? The overall electronic publishing market is still a new experience and collaboration between educators and students, will help to guide publishers and technology experts to create a positive learning environment.  Only time will tell.

To read an additional article published by the Washington Post about a GWU student’s textbook experience, check out the article, “How college students can save money on pricey textbooks” by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel.

Smartphones Are Getting Smarter: Opportunity for Publishers

How often have you picked up your mobile phone because you were bored? We grab our smartphones for so much more than just making phone calls or texting. We keep busy playing games, surfing the web, and look for apps that enhance our everyday lives such as flashlights and pedometers. What if your smartphone started reaching out to you, just in that moment when your mind was free and open to suggestion? Being bored just got more interesting and publishers may have a new opportunity to grow their audience.

Smartphones are getting smarter according to a recent study by the University of Stuttgart, Germany (When Attention is not Scarce – Detecting Boredom from Mobile Phone Usage).

The two-week study analyzed “over 40,000,000 usage logs and 4398 boredom self-reports of 54 mobile phone users” and the results indicate that boredom is a potential opportunity for publishers to recommend content at the point in which a mobile user is indicating activates that reflect boredom. The study utilized an app to monitor the behavior of the mobile users.

This type of data provides publishers with information that can be utilized to market and promote content in so many different ways. As a publisher the possibilities just expanded their mobile marketing divisions. Marketers don’t have to worry that they are interrupting a smartphone user, they know exactly when they are primed for a connection.

  1. New Subscribers. Online publishers can entice a new subscriber to join their list.
  2. Up-selling. For current subscribers publishers can up-sell publishing content, having the knowledge that the subscriber is bored and has the time to be educated about another product.
  3. Is there an eBook sitting on your virtual bookshelf?  A bored mobile user can be given a nudge to pick up where they left off, moving them closer to finishing their current title and move on to purchase another.
  4. Buy now! Publishers can play on ones boredom with special offers that appear to be reading the users mind. “Just sitting around playing solitaire? Read John Doe’s latest novel, The Devil Rings Twice”.
  5. Targeted Content Provides Comfort. Publishers can create the sense of familiarity when they know the habits and moods of the user. The end user gets a feeling that a particular brand really understands their personal needs.

Mobile technology is growing rapidly and it is a trend that I follow closely. I wrote an article on Skoop! Mobile Technology, which provides a marketer with the ability to target their subscribers based on their buying habits. The boredom research findings are going to take mobile marketing to another level, when blended with a mobile marketing platform, such as Skoop!. From the perspective of a publisher, the marketing and promotional possibilities this data provides, are endless.

Further commentary on the subject can be found on NeimanLab.

Written by Sherrie Wilkolaski.