Publishing noob

Notes and observations from the world of book publishing

Archive for the category “Social media”

SOA and the art of coding

There was interesting bit of news that was caught by almost all news sites. It was a Google Developer who accidentally posted a public rant about Google’s architectural designs not in a very nice way. It was supposed to be seen only by co-workers, but as we all know, soon as you post something in the internet, it is stuck there forever. I read the lengthy post and was pretty surprised how Steve Yegge managed at the same time burn bridges also behind him, but probably a few in the front as well. Calling your previous boss (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) a terrible leader and taunting your current employer about incompetence does not seem proper behaviour to me. Even though the post was not supposed to be public. But the post mostly contained how both of the big names are incorporating Service Oriented Architecture.

I have to admit, for a while I have been a big fan of Service Oriented Architecture or SOA and agile methods. To put it simply, instead of programs keeping all the logic and functionalities to themselves, in SOA they can be used as interoperable services. These services can be then utilized by any other programs. The benefits are quite obvious, like reuse and easier integration. Where as API is more an interface to a certain tiny function, SOA in its best can define the API of the whole organization.

In Steve’s post, he told how Jeff Bezos back in 2002 decided that all Amazon services should be built on the SOA principle. The execution might not have been perfect, but in the end it offered Amazon a very big competitive edge. Because Amazon already used SOA to provide basic infrastructural services, like computational power, databases and disk space internally, why not also sell it to outside customers as a trendy cloud service? And it has been a huge success. And if you happened to stumble upon the Facebook Developer page, you can see how much they have placed effort on making sure that  apps utilizing those APIs are popping up everywhere.

But if you choose this open path, I have to agree with Steve that you have to be ready to eat your own dog food. The two past posts have been mostly about IT, I promise to come back to book publishing next time!

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About social reading

Sorry for the long break. I had a pesky finnish summer flu which knocked me out for one week, after that it was time for the notorious finnish mid summer festivities. I will try to catch up.

Few weeks back I took part in a conference which is part of the European audience research network Transforming audiences, transforming societies. This year, it was held by Aalto TAIK Department of Media. What struck me in the first presentation by Philip M. Napoli (blog) was that traditional audience research is not up to date with new media fragmentation that also book publishers are facing now. Although Nielsen and other well-known rating companies have created information systems to handle these new medias, there is still lot of dark spots in the media usage statistics. For publishers, the buzz around an author, title or specific topic could be used in marketing or when making publishing decisions.

Social reading concepts like presented by Kobo Reading Life can give very detailed statistics about each persons reading habits but also enhances the customer loyalty. Some may see this only as Barnes & Nobles way of differentiating Kobo readers from Amazon Kindle. I like my reading un-interrupted, so I had to remove some of the extra functionalities that it provides. Playing video games almost all my life, I found it a bit interesting how they have incorporated things like achievements or badges as a reward from reading. There is an interesting TED presentation by Tom Chatfield about this subject.

Everybody recognizes the buzz around social media and it is not a surprise that publishers are trying to utilize it. I think there is a lot of potential in this, who wouldn’t like to discuss about a book or receive relevant recommendations for their next book to read? I used to have a co-worker with similar taste and she would give recommendations by sending an email directly from one of the biggest nordic online bookstores. I have to admit that the conversation rate for those recommendations was nearly 100%. If you do not have a somebody to do this for you, a lot of new services like BookLikes and the soon available Bookish try to give readers an answer to the never-ending question, what to read next?

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