· · Publishing
· I was cruising through the supermarket when a shopping-cart traffic jam stalled me in front of the “newsstand”. That word is in quotes because most things on offer aren’t news and in fact aren’t magazines in the traditional sense, but single-issue glossies about Princess Diana or Bruce Springsteen or Michelle Obama or Christmas. Anyhow, an awesome cover photo of an owl on the The Atlantic caught my eye; that cover also touted an article about Jack White, whose music I enjoy, so I impulse-bought it. Now I’m thinking about the quality-publishing business model ...
· I was reading yet another lament at the death of a much-loved publication because advertising doesn’t work any more and they couldn’t execute the pivot to subscription (fewer and fewer can). Ads no longer work because of the Google/Facebook duopoly; suddenly I was thinking “This reminds me of something.” After wandering the dusty back corridors of memory I came up with names that will be familiar to a few oldsters: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. No, really ... [4 comments]
· Since I’m lightly employed these days, I enjoy keeping up with the news. In recent weeks, I’ve been blocked by the paywalls of the Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail (closest thing Canada has to a national newspaper), the Times/Sunday Times (of London), the Telegraph (also UK), Business Insider, and Bloomberg. Recently I got a bit of inside info on how these publications think about the economics, and I’m here to explain why they’re wrong ... [29 comments]
· At Canadian Thanksgiving, friends joined us at our cottage for turkey and the fixings. The food (what we made and what they brought) all came out great and we had happy stomachs. I did a lot of the cooking and wanted to check recipes and was brought face to horrified face with the failure of publishing to work on the Internet. The solution seems plain to me and this won’t be the first time I’ve offered it. But something really needs to be done ... [8 comments]
Easy Reliable Chicken Kebabs
· This involves a certain amount of chopping stuff up, also attention to hygiene, but requires no particular technical skill and has never ever failed to get rave reviews ...
Paywalls Don’t Scale
· Here’s the problem: Every day I get emails about great offers expiring real soon, better act now. They’re subscription deals from publications I mostly like, but I’m not signing up. I’d like to pay them though; here’s how ... [13 comments]
· I’m thinking about successful new communication channels, and how we talk about what’s in them. On Twitter, we say tweets. In the blogosphere and on Facebook, posts; also rants, reviews, and flames. Facebook has likes and now everything has links ... [17 comments]
Who Owns Your Pictures?
· People are claiming that a new British law is going to allow anyone to steal your online pictures and sell them and keep the money. I think they’re mostly wrong about that law, but in the process of checking it out I ran across some bad behavior by social-media companies ... [23 comments]
Kindle is Weird
· The Kindle store is sort of like a quantum vacuum; items flicker into and out of existence, and when they’re there, their measurable attributes don’t stand still ... [7 comments]
· I was at the drugstore buying train tickets, waiting for a cashier, staring blankly at the magazine covers, and realizing they’re possibly (like many paper publications) doomed. So what’s going to replace them? There is apparently a thriving market of people who will pay to read about movie-star marriages, home makeovers, and weight loss ... [8 comments]
Bits as a Service
· It is true, if inconvenient, that information wants to be free. Which fortunately doesn’t mean we’re done with Art or Journalism or the other services embodied in bits ... [15 comments]
Good News-Biz News
· People still read news, but the howls of pain from the business grow always louder; the news about the news is all layoffs and paywalls. I’d like to offer a cheery counter-example ... [5 comments]
· Consider three different rooms you’ve never visited ... [26 comments]
· This last Friday and Saturday I spent in the company of 250 or so people who self-define as contributors to the Net, at Northern Voice 2009. On the one hand, it’s like being in a warm bath; everyone here thinks it’s normal to want to tell your story to the world, usually on more than one channel. On the other, everyone goes around talking about “Social Media”; the clock is totally ticking on the time when you can do that unironically. Having said that, our traditional media are looking pathetically clapped-out and we are sure as hell going to need something to fill the gaps. With pictures ... [1 comment]
· Recently I read The Rebellion Within by Lawrence Wright, a long, erudite, immensely informative New Yorker piece about the internal dynamics of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad: Who are these people, anyhow, where did they come from, and where are they going? I entirely recommend it. There’s a problem, though: I read it on-line ... [7 comments]
Cars and Publishing
· While our car was in the shop, we rented a van and it dawned on us that for a 2-child family that’s on the road quite a bit, a van might be a better choice than either of the current chariots, a tiny lovable Golf diesel or a slick but space-challenged Audi wagon. So we’re kind of car shopping. As a side-effect of this process, I begin to think that Consumer Reports is maybe ahead of the world in effective integrated publishing ...
By Tim Bray.
The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.
A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.