Privacy in the Digital World

A couple years ago, there were a lot of articles being shared online about how ereaders/tablets were “watching” their readers. In the digital age, privacy is a legitimate concern. In addition to hackers, companies collect and track data from their users/customers, and there’s also concerns over how much the government sees.

There’s definitely a trade-off between convenience and privacy. And over the last few years, it’s sparked a lot of interesting debate and conversation. In particular, there’s been a lot of talk over how to protect the privacy of minors.

In 2013, California made a law that anyone under 18 had the right to delete things they said online. DBW also reported that teens took matters into their own hands and avoided or uninstalled certain apps due to privacy concerns. (Though teens are very savvy about social media and protecting their privacy.)

There are also new concerns over how to protect the privacy of the deceased. Sometimes if you don’t know the passwords to social media accounts, it can be tricky to deactivate accounts. The Next Web, however, offers a helpful guide.

For people who may be concerned about who knows what they read digitally, Eric Hellman wrote up a post on which research journals let their ad networks collect data about their readers. Electronic Frontier Foundation also created a detailed ereader privacy chart, sharing exactly what information companies collect (though it is from 2012, and may be a bit outdated).

Have you encountered any issues with reading digitally? Please share in the comments!


Readers and Writers: Library News

Libraries are an important part of the book publishing world, and it’s been a while since I mentioned them in a post, so here’s a collection of links to library news, services, and more. Continue reading

App Zine Machine, An Easy Way for Indie Authors to Publish Magazine Apps

App Zine Machine

When it comes to digital publishing, indie authors have endless options. In addition to ebooks, authors can produce blogs, podcasts, and even digital magazine apps.

One new platform that makes it easy for users to publish magazines is App Zine Machine. Created by App Clover, LLC, a resource in the mobile app market, App Zine Machine launched after 21 months in development.

“Everybody has a blog, everybody has a website, some people have podcasts,” Len Wright, CEO and co-founder, said. “Very few people out there publish their own magazines. It has a special, we call it cache or panache, jokingly.”

App Zine Machine is a web application that uses HTML5. The platform makes it easy to add video, audio, or other interactive content that actively engages an audience. Users assemble their magazines in the application and then export them as apps for sale in Apple’s Newsstand.

Wright said that App Zine Machine was made for writers, entrepreneurs, and businesses who are passionate about publishing and want to build up their brands but either may not know or may not have the time to make complicated apps.

“I’m not a coder or a techie,” he said. “I’m not a programmer whatsoever. I don’t even know HTML, so for me a lot of the systems out there were just a no-go from the start.”

With App Zine Machine, all users need is an Internet connection, he said, though Chrome is the best web browser to use.

“You can be anywhere in the world and create a magazine,” Wright said. “You can even do it from the iPad.”

Continue reading

Books in Browsers 2013


I went to my second Books in Browsers last week (see last year’s recap day 1 and recap day 2), and was not disappointed! For those who many not know, Books in Browsers is “a small summit for the new generation of internet publishing companies, focusing on developers and designers who are building and launching tools for online storytelling, expression, and art.” It takes place at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, which is a really cool place.


The conference lasted two days, but I’ll just recap some of the highlights here. Continue reading

Infographic: The Life & Times of the Travel Guidebook

Cheap Flights has made an excellent infographic about travel guidebooks. The graphic looks at the history of the guidebook, from its inception as travel manuscripts in the first century, to its online existence today. Nothing is mentioned about e-books, but I suppose travel guidebooks are much more webby, since people use social media and review sites to figure out where to go nowadays.

I also found it interesting that the graphic mentioned Frommer’s was the first to make guidebooks available as apps. The recent history of Frommer’s I think indicates the uncertainty of travel guidebooks in the digital future, but may also set a precedent for travel publishers to recommit and focus on building their brands. For those unfamiliar with what happened to Frommer’s last summer, Wiley, the publisher who at the time owned Frommer’s, sold Frommer’s to Google. Many people thought that Frommer’s would complement Google’s recent purchase of Zagat, and that Frommer’s content would help populate searches. Continue reading

The Coming of Age of E-Textbooks?

I’m not as familiar with what’s going on with e-textbooks, but there seems to have been a lot of exciting developments recently.

One thing I often hear about e-textbooks is that, despite the expectation that young people, particularly college students, would be the first to eagerly adopt all things digital, most students don’t like e-textbooks as much as physical books. The main reason is that there is no good way yet to take notes or highlight, though some college students have also told me it’s too expensive to buy a tablet, and they prefer renting textbooks via websites when possible. Continue reading

Digital Content: Where are publishers investing and what challenges will they need to overcome?

I’ve been really in to webinars lately. I think part of it is I’ve been finding a lot free webinars that discuss either various aspects of the publishing industry or entrepreneurship. (Although the webinars on metadata were not free, but I think it’s important to learn and understand as much about metadata as possible).

Anyway, today’s webinar was on an Innodata survey conducted by Digital Book World. Presented by Marc Rubner, the VP of Product Marketing at Innodata Consulting, the webinar discussed the results of an online survey of 366 media executives.  Continue reading

Three Innovative Companies: WordPivot,, and Bibliocrunch

A big part of BEA is walking around the showroom and meeting new exhibitors. This year, I got to meet the founders of two new companies, WordPivot and, as well as reconnect with a friend and NYU alum, Miral Sittar, who is the founder and CEO of BibliocrunchContinue reading

Speed Dating: An Overview of 9 Innovative Digital Publishing Companies and Products

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) held a Digital Show and Tell last week at BEA. This consisted of 15 new companies, split up in to two groups, giving five minute pitches to attendees. It’s basically speed dating, but for digital publishing. Each session lasted long enough that all attendees could hear each of the pitches, and then at the end of the group they voted for the best ones. I only attended the second session, so I’ll give an overview of the eight groups I saw. Continue reading