Jul 1, 2010
An article on CNN today reported on Finland’s new law offering broadband service at an affordable price. In an interview with a CNN correspondent, Finnish communications minister Suvi Linden explained that the move “…is not for entertainment [purposes], it’s day-to-day life, and through this kind of e-services, of course, we are looking forward [to] more efficiency and more productivity [in] public services.” She goes on to cite Internet banking as a key motivator for the law. “In the 1990′s we had the bank crisis in Finland, and after that, the banks started to offer banking [via the] Internet, and at this moment 86% of…all bank clients are using Internet banking…”
This is a drastic move that will serve as an excellent case study on consumer and provider behavior in regards to electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP). It will likely help answer a few common questions in this industry: Read more »
Jan 29, 2010
Steve Jobs can be sure of at least one success and that is the instant domination of all blogs around the world with one product launch. There have been many things stipulated, but I would like to get back on the influence the iPad could have on the publishing industry. There are remarks abound, about the great opportunity the iPad poses to publishers. But it should be spelled out explicitly: Steve Jobs is not interested in saving the publishing industry. He wants to sell iGadgets including software and everything around it. What will publishers gain?
Let’s have a look at the numbers: Assuming a consumer buys an iPad for publishing products it means a one-off fee of $500 and then every month an additional $30 (the web access charge) less to spend on publishing products. This money goes into the pockets of Apple and the network provider. Of course a consumer will expect a huge discount in return for the publishing content he reads on the iPad. That is the money the publisher is not getting. Sure, the publisher is saving money by producing e-content. Printing is only a small fraction though, about a seventh of the retail price. The biggest cost factor though is the retail channel which typically receives up to 50% of retail price. However this is the portion Amazon or iBooks are vying for and what they are already charging. In the end there will not be a lot of margin left after giving consumers the discounts they expect.
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Jan 3, 2010
It was my great pleasure last week to visit the Minneapolis History Center in St. Paul where among other fascinating exhibits is “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” (see the exhibit web site for more details). As I think about 2010 and the various possibilities that new technologies may bring, I was struck by something Franklin wrote in a May 1788 letter to the Reverend John Lathrop:
“…I have sometimes almost wish’d it had been my Destiny to be born two or three Centuries hence. For Inventions of Improvement are prolific, and beget more of their Kind. The present Progress is rapid. Many of great Importance, now unthought of, will before that Period be procur’d; and then I might not only enjoy their Advantages, but have my Curiosity satisfy’d in knowing what they are to be.”
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Jun 30, 2009
Last October I picked up a copy of Esquire’s 75th Anniversary edition which featured an E-Ink electronic paper display embedded in the cover. With moving words and flashing images this experimental magazine cover was meant to attract attention and explore the possibilities surrounding electronic paper display technology and the publishing industry.
The magazine sat on my desk for a couple days and quickly attracted the attention of a few co-workers. Before long, we started an office pool – placing bets on the day that the magazine’s batteries would die and the display would expire.
According to Esquire.com, the electronics and batteries used for the E-Ink cover were manufactured in China, flown to Dallas, shipped in a refrigerated truck to Mexico where the covers were assembled by hand, and shipped back to Kentucky, home of one of R.R. Donnelly’s magazine printing plants. Retrofitted equipment was then used to bind the special covers to the rest of the magazine before it was distributed across the country. Esquire originally estimated that once activated, the batteries used to power the flashing E-Ink display would last 90 days. In actuality, my copy of Esquire magazine lived for nearly 250 days, exceeding my expectations and destroying my chance of winning the pool. The expiration of Esquire magazine got me thinking about the viability of electronic paper. Read more »