Category Archives: no paper

Do You Want a Green Egg?

“Help us help the environment, go paperless” is the pitch you get from your utility company, your bank, your broadband provider and anyone else that sees sending you a paper statement or invoice in the post as a cost to them. We all know that they don’t actually care about the cost to the environment, that’s just marketing spin, we know they need to look good because everyone else is turning green, so they have to too.

Which is fine, but they should at least stick to their end of the bargain. When I sign up to be paperless, that’s exactly what I want, they promised not too send me any more paper in the post, but they lied. Of course they kept their end of the deal on one level (but only because it cost them actual money) I no longer get the statements and invoices sent out to me (although I now have the inconvenience of going to them to find them, having to remember yet another username and password, plus they only keep them for a year, what???? so I have to download and store them myself! but that’s another story for another day)… but I still get just as much marketing junk mail from them trying to entice me with new offers and services. Where’s their green credentials now?

Thankfully I don’t get anywhere near the amount of junk mail I used too, but it still annoys me that I still get any at all… especially as like most people, it never gets opened, as it all instantly goes into the recycle bin. There was a time years ago that I would open it, but only to see if any contained a freepost envelope… why? so I could stuff it full of the junk mail I’d received from someone else, which I would then drop in the post box on the way to the office in the morning. I know, not very grown up, not very clever and not good for the environment, but it made me smile (in fact it made me smile just now when I thought about it again!)

Of all the companies that I have accounts with, I believe only Egg banking had the option to stop ALL post, and sticking to their promise, I’ve not had a single piece of marketing or post from them through my letter box in years, yes I get the odd email, but that’s OK, it’s not everyday, just once a month, if that, plus I can automate it to the junk folder if I wish, so no biggie. Let’s just hope it stays that way, now that they’ve been bought out by Barclays!

So in answer to the question, yes I like my eggs green.

eBooks Are For Weirdos

According to a new survey by Harris Interactive 1 in 6 Americans now use an eReader with 1 in 6 likely to purchase one within the next 6 months. That’s 15%, which is almost double what it was this time last year, 8%. Also eBook readers purchase more books and read on average more than paper book readers!

I should know, since I purchased my first Sony eReader I started reading more, and now with the books from my Kindle available on my Mac, iPhone, iPad I purchase and read more than ever!

A case in point, Seth Godin released a new book today entitled, We Are All Weird, but rather than purchase the hard back and wait for it to be delivered (which I’ve not done in many many years!), I clicked the link to the Amazon Kindle store, clicked the “Buy now with one click” and had it on my Kindle before my kettle boiled this morning! Two Clicks and I had the book, why would anyone purchase a book in any other way, and why would an author sell their book any other way?

I’ve been saying this for years, it’s part of my no paper mantra, but it would appear Seth believes the same:

My new book, We Are All Weird goes on sale today. We only have 11,000 hardcover copies on sale at Amazon, with no plans to print more. I wanted you to have first dibs. (PS, Outside the USA? click here). Why limit the number printed?

Conventional publishing wisdom says that the first 10,000 copies are the hardest. In fact, you don’t make money until after that. The goal is to prime the pump and then, if you get lucky, sell millions and millions of hardcovers, day after day, year after year. That’s what pays the bills at all the large publishing houses. The thing is, digital is better at infinity than paper ever will be. Digital is easy to keep in stock, easy to replenish, easy to connect with. Paper, on the other hand, benefits from scarcity.

The Cosmonaut is The Write Stuff

I posted about the Scribbly a while ago, but I just stumbled on the Cosmonaut by Studio Neat, the guys that created the Glif, which in case you missed it is a cool iPhone tripod mount and stand, that had a very successful Kickstarter launch. Well it looks like they’ve done it again with another great idea, the Cosmonaut, as it rocketed (sorry about that), past it’s goal of $50,000 to secure $134,236 in funding!

I can’t wait to grab one myself (actually it’s given me an idea for a no paper add on)

Don’t Build It and They Will Come, 90k Of Them!

That appears to be Martin Hasek’s philosophy, the creator of Noteslate, and it appears to be working. I posted about the Noteslate back in January, I was sceptical then and unfortunately my scepticism was founded, as this CNN report confirmed shortly afterwards, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped 64,000 people clicking the like button on their homepage, 10,000 following them on Twitter, plus over 17,000 optimistic hopefuls liking the Noteslate Facebook page (there were only 500 when I hit the like button!), most of which are keen to see a real noteslate in production, although some are flagging a bit now on the Facebook page, and posting negative and frustrated comments.

So why do this? Surely Martin is going to anger a lot of people when he comes 100% clean, or will he? After all he’s proven without doubt that his college industrial design project (apparently that’s where it all started) has a market, one that may make investors very interested in the concept, although without any IP protection, I’m not sure how interested they’d be… although if you do the maths, based on the original price of $100 per unit (highly unlikely), that’s still 90k fans & likes x $100 = $9m… not bad for vapourware! Plus if Noteslate don’t release it, someone else undoubtedly will.

Either way, I’d personally love to see a noteslate type of device, without doubt I’d use it everyday, it dovetails perfectly with our no paper philosophy, we’d certainly look at ways of communicating with it and automating syncing with our own systems.

One thing Noteslate highlights and proves to us at no paper, is that people have no problem imagining a world where they don’t use or rely on paper, of course we’ve believed that for a long time, but it’s nice to know others believe and feel the same!

more dis-information at noteslate

more information at no paper

Keep Calm and Carry On With no paper

As the saying goes “sh!t happens!”

The recent spate of rioting, looting and arson in the UK will cost the taxpayer millions, plus business and household insurance premiums will rise as insurance companies cover their loses. The large businesses will bounce back and continue to operate, but smaller businesses will have a much harder time of it, it’s likely a lot of them will never recover. A friend of a colleague lost everything, as her flat was gutted by fire, all she managed to save was a small backpack as she ran from the flaming building, as to her and other similar homeowners who have lost everything due to arson, I cannot imagine what they’re going through.

Whether a business owner or an individual, when disaster strikes suddenly like this, the first reaction is understandably shock & disbelief, followed by anger, but soon you have to start thinking about the future, what next? How do I get going again? Who do I contact to get some sort of compensation? I better contact my insurance company, but do you know who you’re insured with, do you know your insurance policy number, or what you are covered for? You need to contact your clients, your suppliers, your bank, your staff etc But how, if all that information was stored in files in the office, it has all been destroyed by fire or water damage!

This is where digitised versions of all of your paper work is crucial for business continuity, but scanning your documents and keeping them on a shared office server isn’t enough, you require off site copies, be it in the cloud, or at a different office location, an effective paperless office is no longer a pipe dream, it’s a reality, and one your business cannot survive disaster without!

At no paper™ our goal is to remove the need for paper from your daily life, by perfecting the paperless office for businesses, and developing convenient solutions for individuals leveraging their everyday digital devices. We believe this future is possible… join us in our mission… imagine a world with no paper™

eBooks Outselling Paperbacks

Last week Amazon announced that it is now selling more eBooks than paperbacks (already 3x as many hardbacks). Amazon predicted this would happen in Q2 of 2011, but sales are obviously wildly beyond Amazon’s own predictions!

Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the Company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher… and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales.

The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 810,000 books including New Releases and 107 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers. Over 670,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 74 New York Times Bestsellers. Millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.

Amazon Press Release

The Insanity of Book Publishers

Einstein’s definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results”

I read this morning on the National Post that Canada’s largest book distributor (HB Fenn and company) has declared bankruptcy proceedings.

In the statement, H.B. Fenn blamed “the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books” for their financial difficulties. The company lost a major source of revenue last year, after Hachette Book Group moved control of Canadian sales and distribution of its titles to their U.S. offices. “I think this situation was enormously affected by the departure of one very large client,” said Carolyn Wood, executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers.

It’s incredulous that they blame a rise in eBooks as a factor in their demise? They’re distributors, they’re experts at it, so why didn’t they move their operation into eBook distribution? As they say, they saw it as a growing market… they have all the contacts in place with the authors and publishing houses, they understand the complexities of the publishing business, they were in an incredible position, so why didn’t they leverage that knowledge base?

The real difference for them between eBooks and paper books was the distribution network, all they had to do was get cosy with a technology company that could handle the eBooks and the technology, while they maintained those all important and very valuable relationships (now all going to waste).

But that doesn’t seem to be the case, they appear to have continued with the business model that allowed them to become the largest distributor in Canada, but when demand and the distribution network changed, they didn’t, that’s insane!

Original article

Digital Magazine Sales Dropping on iPad

Continued from a previous post… Why are digital magazines on the iPad already in decline, after the initial gold rush users are losing interest in the digital versions. Wired, which sold 100K issues of it’s first iPad release, then managed to sell an average of 31K in the following months, with only 23K for October and 22K for November (for comparison they sold 130k printed versions in Oct-Nov).

Why is this happening?

It’s too early to say for sure (this is a very new market space), but general consensus is that Apple’s lack of subscription based payment is a major reason, meaning users have to manually purchase individual magazines rather than automated payments, plus these work out being more expensive. There’s rumours that Apple are about to roll out subscription based payments, hopefully it won’t be too little too late.

But will it be the answer, possibly, but I believe magazines and news networks need to look at the iPad and tablets in an entirely different way, rather than simply a medium for them to spout out digital versions of their print publications.

I’ve read numerous blogs and reports saying print is dead, but there’s new print magazines being released every week, so that doesn’t seem to ring true to me. Consumers still wish to consume, but the way they consume information is different now, it’s available instantaneously from so many sources and with social networks that information is becoming more and more driven by their friends, associates and their own likes and dislikes.

Flipboard on the iPad is a wonderful example of this, never before has my Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds looked so good, and been so engaging. Now if I could subscribe to several news networks, magazines etc all within a single app, and micro pay for each article as I read it, I’d be happy, as I only pay for the articles that grabbed my eye and interested me, and the software would automatically highlight related articles from all my subscribed sources and suggest new ones from other popular sources I may not have heard about and would have never found on my own.

Hands up who has ever read an entire newspaper or magazine, cover to cover? Precisely, so why pay for the whole thing when you only read a fraction of it? So rather than getting what you pay for, how about only paying for what you want? Who wouldn’t pay a penny or a cent or two per news item or magazine article that they read, as long as the payment part was transparent and managed for them, most people would give this a go, especially if they knew they could set a cap, or would have access to the whole issue if they went over a certain percentage of articles. Adverts can still be utilised, they could even be used against payment, watch an ad, get the article for free or at a reduced rate.

The technology is certainly there, the main thing holding it up, is publishers being scared to give it go through fear of losing control of their content and user base, but if they don’t do it soon willingly, then their hands will be forced by market forces, and they’re have less room to negotiate!

Who could pull this off, Apple, Amazon, Google, they could all do it, although I feel Apple is best placed for the micropayments, plus by utilising the iPad and the iOS platform, far more engaging advertising can be achieved than on a Kindle. Google just don’t have the payment side worked out properly. Apple on the other hand do, they have iTunes, ease of use and making micropayments is already there. I’ve read often that micropayments won’t work as users are put off by the fear of accumulating enormous bills at the end of the month, but the success of the App Store squashes that claim, often I’ve purchased apps at £0.59 (the minimum charge), for Apps I know nothing about, or will only use for a day or so.

With rumours of the next iPhone and iPad finally having Near Field chips, Apple are in a prime position to take on the big credit card companies that have been dragging their heels on NF for years.

An application that fuses Flipboard and Apple’s iBook into a magazine / news RSS reader, come social app linked to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, that microcharges you for articles as and when you read them, embedded with iAds, all linked back to your iTunes account, would be a very powerful and profitable application, and would be the perfect way for Apple to build it’s own social network (which it’s hungry to do), and utilise it’s new cloud data centre.

Digital Adverts More Effective Than Static Print Adverts

No real surprises there, but it’s good to have some data to back up the claim… Now here’s a title that just rolls off the tongue! Digital Ad Engagement: Perceived Interactivity as a Driver of Advertising Effectiveness snappy eh?

Apart from the title, the PDF is worth a read (if you’re into advertising and marketing that is), but if you prefer something a little shorter, or even a short video that explains the PDF, have a look at the article on the Adobe Digital Publishing Blog.

An incredible sound bite from the video starting at 1 min 30 secs, “every advertiser experienced an increase in brand awareness, with several advertisers seeing percentage increases of 3-4 times!” a 300-400% increase, now that’s impressive!

But it’s not all rosy, as digital magazines on the iPad are already in decline, after the initial gold rush users are losing interest in the digital versions. Wired, which sold 100K issues of it’s first iPad release, then managed to sell an average of 31K in the following months, with only 23K for October and 22K for November (for comparison they sold 130k printed versions in Oct-Nov). Reasons why I believe this happening continued in a separate post

Obviously this increased brand awareness is only an advantage to advertisers if magazines can retain digital user numbers, and that unfortunately is where they’re still getting it wrong!

The End of the Paper Notepad is Nigh!

I appreciate this is a concept rendering, but if the NoteSlate uses the Kent Display technology, then the promised sub $100 price point should be achievable, after all, the BoogieBoard, which uses the same screen technology retails for only $40… although the lack of a save function on the BoogieBoard is a major drawback, but at that price you can’t exactly complain, it does what it says on the tin, it replaces small white boards or that notepad beside your phone.

But the NoteSlate is proposing more than that, it’s trying to replace the notepad once and for all… and there’s a good chance it could succeed.

It offers a 180 hr battery (that’s over a week of continual use! So a month of practical use between charges), unlike the BoogieBoard it can save multiple notes, has a USB, an SD card slot, a 3.5 jack for audio playback and even WIFI. A promised future (free) firmware update will allow PDF viewing.

They’re also planning to roll out a coloured version (although limited to a few basic colours, but useful for highlighting sketches)

I think being able to erase parts of a drawing, thus editing mistakes and allowing development of an idea or drawing, would be a major add on, making the use of the NoteSlate more akin to using paper and pencil, rather than paper and pen.

But the real killer add on would be being able to record audio while making notes! That would make the NoteSlate the perfect boardroom and meeting device!

At under $100 a piece, I can’t see a facility offering conference or meeting services, or a live events organiser not wanting or having these sitting in every meeting, breakout or symposium room, not to mention too numerous other sectors or industries. Plus if they offered an automated centralised storage system locked down by device MAC address they’d be no stopping them (of course we may be able to help them there!).

So are we closer to the day of no paper notepads, absolutely!

NoteSlate
BoogieBoard

Hey Man, You Wanna Buy Some Tabs?

Is there a single large electronics company NOT announcing a Tablet at CES this year? I’ve read about 20 so far and the numbers keep growing! There’s dual screens (NEC Cloud Communicator, not good), one with a coloured e-ink display (Pocket Book Mirasol, I’m really interested in that one!), one using a LED / eInk Display (Notion Ink Adam, really neat idea, and finally announced!), plus numerous other me toos… but thankfully at least one of them doesn’t look like an iPad clone (I mean in the hardware design department, although it’s still pretty similar)… plus it’s the one that’s been eagerly awaited by the tech industry and I’ve been really interested in seeing, Blackberry’s Playbook (personally I don’t think it’s the best name for a Tablet that will be purchased predominantly within the business sector, but what do I know).

Regardless of the name, it looks like Blackberry have been working hard at creating a pretty slick Tablet, that’s feature rich, responsive, comfortable in the hand and is likely to sell very very well when it’s finally released in the coming months. It’s most similar competitor and undoubtedly main rival after the iPad, is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which has been out a few months already and has been selling well (thankfully that’s another manufacturer that decided to differentiate itself from the iPad a bit, by adding a white backside). I’ve played around with a Galaxy Tab and it seemed pretty nice, although I found the UI a little frustrating at times, but I’m sure after a few hours I’d get used to it.

Also Google unveiled it’s latest upcoming release, Android 3.0, Honeycomb, designed specifically for Tablets, as the review and video shows, this looks nothing like previous versions of Android for mobile phones… so I’m not sure what the UI of the next release of Android for mobile phones will look like, but keeping the Android UI consistent will be on everyones mind, let’s hope it’s on Googles too.

Neither of these would make me want to part with my iPad, I’ve invested way too many years in Apple and it’s eco-system for me to change now, but new uses without a legacy will find them worthy competitors and on a hardware only comparison, way ahead on features to the current iPad. Although Steve Jobs would disagree entirely, I feel these smaller sized Tablets are an ideal compromise of portability and function.

My iPad is great, often I’ve carried it instead of my MacBook for meetings and presentations, it’s great for recording and taking notes and the screen is an ideal size to show video and slides etc, but it’s too big to carry all the time. I didn’t bring my iPad with me on a recent backpacking trip to Cambodia, as it’s just too big and heavy (although I packed my Kindle!), plus even when I do have it with me on the underground, I don’t feel comfortable using it for reading or catching up on stuff, but with a 7″ version I would. Steve’s argument that a 7″ screen is too small for a tablet to be a useful touchscreen device is flawed, he only has to reach into his pocket and pull out his own iPhone to realise that, yes I agree the larger screen on the current iPad is great when you’re in the office, or at home, but out and about it’s a little cumbersome.

Of course Steve won’t be seen to go back on his word, sadly there won’t be a 7″ iPad anytime soon, if ever (shame as I would have bought one, another 10″ screen with a speed bump and cameras will not be enough incentive for me to purchase a new one)… although of course he never said there wouldn’t be a new 7″ iPod Touch! we live in hope

Engadget Blackberry Play Book review
Samsung Galaxy Tab website
Android 3.0 Honeycomb video

Google Editions

Although 6 months behind schedule it appears that Google are about to roll out their commercial eBook store Google Editions. As promised, unlike other stores that tie you into using a single eReader platform ie eBooks purchased on Amazon only work on a Kindle, B&N only on a Nook, Apple only on an iPad etc (although Apple do sell non-DRM ePub docs as well, so technically eReader agnostic, but personally I’ve never got them to work properly on anything than other an iPad), Google Editions however, will allow your purchases to be read on most, if not all, eReaders… although don’t hold your breath that they will work on a Kindle!

You will access your purchased eBooks and subscriptions via a Google Editions account, Google will have a store of it’s own, but it’s planning to offer it’s Editions versions on Independent book sellers websites. The way Google plan to achieve this, is having a browser based eReader, plus native device based eReader software, but it’s the browser based eReader that concerns me, just how good a reading experience will you have using a browser based application? Plus that doesn’t sound like a practical option for e-Ink based eReaders.

I appreciate we live in a connected world, but quite often when I’m reading an eBook I’m not connected to the web, with my Kindle offline for days if not weeks at a time, of course Editions books will be cached in your browser’s memory, but it still seems a little flakey to me. The real gripe though is yet another format, Google talk the talk of being open etc, yet Google Editions will not be in any sort of  transferable format, you can’t simply download a book you’ve purchased and put it on your eReader of choice (in fact you can’t exactly download a book!), this is a major drawback of nearly all eBook platforms, and a major hurdle to the uptake by new users and the continued expansion of the market. It’s high time the likes of Amazon, B&N, Apple, Sony & Google agree to play nicely and stop trying to control a market by continually fragmenting it. Standards win in the end, think email, SMS, HTML, until there’s a truly open format (and I mean really OPEN), new adopters will continue to be confused and frustrated with their choices and purchases.

Buying an eBook should have advantages over a physical purchase, but you know when you purchase a paper book, it’s yours to keep, you can lend it to a friend and they won’t run into any compatibility problems when it comes to reading it. Will consumers have the final say on this, will the social media revolution really give users a voice and enough clout to eventually force the big guys into open standards? it will be interesting to see how it pans out, it will probably take a few class action legal cases to rock the boat enough that legislation forces them to adhere to users having the right to transfer and truly own their digital purchases (if you’ve ever bought anything for the Kindle, look in the T&C’s and notice that you don’t actually own your purchases, they’re merely on loan to you from Amazon, and they have the right to stop you accessing them anytime they want!)

Anyway I’m veering off subject, Google Editions will be available in the US in the coming weeks and Europe Q1 2011

Google Editions
Interesting PC World Article
An Authors Perspective

Project iPad

Rupert Murdoch is probably pretty pissed off at Richard Branson right now, as he’s just released the first daily magazine for the iPad, named Project, months ahead of Murdoch’s very own daily, to be named The Daily

You can download the app for free today, then pay a monthly subscription of £1.79 / £$2.99, for continual updates, so far the content looks pretty good, although I feel the approach to navigation isn’t right. It follows the same approach akin to Wired magazine, taking a print layout analogy and transposing it to the iPad. You may think, so what, it makes sense to me, and you’re right it does, until you look at the different approach used in say Inkling (although Inkling no longer works on my iPad, since I updated it to 4.2), they approach the navigation in a totally new way, which makes perfect sense, but rather than spell it out here, try it for yourself or look at the video on the Inkling homepage. Granted their GUI is designed for books not magazines, but it’s so logical once you start using it.

Anyway I’m sure Project will be a hit and will attract plenty of press coverage in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if it makes and appearance on the NookColor.

Project Mag
iTunes download

James Bond Novels Go Digital

It’s not the only time this has happened in recent months, but this time it’s a high profile brand, James Bond.

The Ian Fleming estate has announced that it are releasing all 18 Bond titles as eBooks this week on Amazon and Waterstones, but they won’t be released through their current print publisher Penguin (as they never signed for the digital rights), they will be released by themselves under the name of Ian Fleming Publishing.

Of course the publishing houses are up in arms, hitting out at the online retailers and complaining the authors have no loyalty, but they only have themselves to blame. If instead of complaining they offered equivalent royalties to their authors, then they’d retain their custom, but as long as authors can sign better deals elsewhere, then they will continue to do so.

As this article in the Telegraph highlights, JK Rowling has not signed away the digital rights of Harry Potter and is assessing their options.

“The books industry could lose out on millions of pounds because publishers have failed to sign up the digital rights to authors, who are expected to bypass traditional publishing houses in favour of Amazon or Google.”

As I’ve said before on the no paper blog, publishing houses have had a monopoly for far too long, they need to understand that it’s no longer the case, they need to embrace the sea change not fight it, as the potential eBook market is enormous… plus they should stop trying to make an outdated, centuries old business model work in a modern environment that is quickly leaving them behind, they should be jumping all over this opportunity not running from it!

David Hockney iPad Sketches Exhibition

David Hockney has been a fan of the iPhone and iPad for sometime, having replaced his paper sketch pad with them. Over the past year Hockney has produced over 300 sketches, some of which will be on display at his Flesh Flowers exhibition in Paris.

“The great thing about it, is the distribution of the image, that is profoundly new… the fact that I could make a drawing of the sunrise at 6am and at 7am send it out to 20 people… and remember, If I just had a pencil and paper beside my bed, the sunrise wouldn’t be that interesting” David Hockney

BBC article ironically the embedded video is in Flash so doesn’t play on an iPhone or iPad! (well done BBC)