Interview with Digital Book World Daily

During our exhibit at the BEA Expo, Beth Bacon from Digital Book World Daily interviewed me about how Slicebooks can benefit educators and consumers. Money quote:

Publishers can use the SliceBooks service to portion ebooks into any number of slices, like sections, chapters and sub-chapters. Educators can quickly get just the content they need for a fraction of the price of the entire print volume. A literature teacher, for example, could buy bunches of poems, or even individual poems, from a poetry publisher who “slices” a large poetry collection. A math teacher could acquire small parts of a comprehensive Calculus text. This allows districts to manage their budgets more wisely and even gain flexibility in their course offerings.

Read the full article here.

The ebook remix beat goes on – Slicebooks at BEA 2013

Slicebooks ebook remix widget at BEA 2013At BEA 2013 there were all sorts of stars and celebrities around talking about their books. Jim Carrey, Amy Tan, Robbie Robertson, Jim Gafigan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar… the list goes on.

We saw none of them. Our own star, the eBook Remix Widget, which lets consumers remix their own custom ebooks, kept us too busy.

Slicebooks Booth at BEA 2013 in New York

While last year it was just Jill and I at the booth trying to manage all the demo requests, this year we brought 3 more members of the Slicebooks team to help, and good we did. Between demos, various sales appointments and interview requests from various media organizations like Wired, the Wall Street Journal, AP Radio and Xinhua Media, we were all running full speed. Publishers and distributors from the US, Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia all lined up see Slicebooks in action, and particularly the new Remix Widget.

Any startup that decides to launch not just a new technology but a new and disruptive approach to an established way of doing things must have patience. Sometimes industry digestion can take a while.

Judging from the number of publishers and distributors signing up to use Slicebooks and wanting to adopt our new remix widget, it feels like digestion by publishers and distributors is proceeding even faster than we’d hoped. Publishers are now increasingly agreeing with what we have long been saying –  slicing available content and making books available whole, sliced and remixable by customers is a no brainer.

Slicebooks interview with China's Xinhua Media

An interview with China’s Xinhua Media


 Creative Spaces Inbetween and Slicebooks

Meeting with Danish publisher Creative Spaces, who recently sliced their book, “Creative Spaces Inbetween”




We’re slicing & remixing New York

Slicebooks will be demonstrating our new Consumer Remix Widget at the BEA Expo in NYC May 30-June 1. As part of our demonstration, we’re slicing books with a New York theme and uploading those slices to our Remix Widget. Then to show how easy it is, we’ll let attendees instantly create their own custom New York ebooks at our booth using the Remix Widget on iPads. Should be fun.

Here are a three NY-themed titles that we just sliced and will be including in the NY remix inventory (we’ll be adding more in the coming weeks – if you have a NY-themed book you’d like to include in this promotion, or if you’d just like to request one, contact us):

New York, Whole or Sliced

Mad Men Manhattan ebook

The Little Black Book of New York

Bob Dylan New York ebook



CNET France on Slicebooks: “The first step towards personalized ebooks?”

Florent Taillandier of CNET France posted an article about Slicebooks this week that describes how we are working toward making ebooks as customizable as a music remix. Money quote:

We are witnessing a phenomenon: a trend towards personalization books, which one day may be may be “assembled” on demand, and according to our interests.

Interview with Publishing Perspectives

Publishing Perspectives featured Slicebooks today. Money quote:

Why is it that when it comes to music, consumers can download songs or albums, while publishing remains wedded to the idea of downloading an entire book? This was the question Jill Tomich, co-founder of Slicebooks and her colleagues found themselves asking a few years ago:

“Both as publishing professionals and as frustrated content consumers ourselves, we wondered why the publishing world wasn’t offering the same freedom and flexibility that consumers have had for years with music? In this digital world, why can’t I buy a slice of any book I want, and why can’t I easily mix and match content from different sources? We talked to countless publishers and discovered they didn’t have the time, resources or a platform for making what is otherwise an obvious transition. So we created Slicebooks and set out to make all content available whole, sliced and remixable.”


How publishers can get started with startups

How to Collaborate with StartupsAt last week’s Tools of Change Conference in NYC,  Javier Celaya from the research consultancy DosDoce presented a survey DosDose recently conducted with 170 publishing companies, startups and VCs. In what O’Reilly Media’s Joe Wikert calls the most important document I’ve come across in quite awhile, Celaya makes a powerful case for why the publishing industry needs to step up their involvement with technology startups and how it can be done successfully.

And he believes if publishers do not, they do so at their own peril:

However large, small or specialized they may be, every publisher, bookstore or library needs an alliance with one or various technology partners to survive in the 21st century. Just as companies reached high positions individually in the analog age, leadership by sectors in the new era of social participation will be consolidated via company collaboration. The future success of any digital venture in the cultural sector will depend on the ability to create a strategic alliance between various companies working together for the development of a common project.

Here are just a few of the many survey results:

94% of startups would like publishers to take on a more dynamic role in the encouragement, creation and development of startups

59% of publishers are willing to allow part of their contents to be used in testing technology

26% of publishers have never held a meeting with a startup

Only 10% of publishers claim to have held monthly meetings with technology companies

80% of publishers are interested in investing in startups.

78% of startups would approve incorporating publishers as shareholders

So why don’t publishers and startups get together more often? According to DosDoce, one reason is that publishers see startups as future rivals:

Our experience in this area has demonstrated that management in the cultural sector tends to consider these new companies potential competitors, for which reason they are ignored. Other management teams agree to meet them with a view to extracting information on their vision of the future in the sector, without any real intention of working with them. Other, more arrogant, publishers feel that their broad knowledge of the sector, coupled with certain internal resources, are quite sufficient to face any digital challenges.

Wikert concurs:

And now we get to the heart of the matter. We’re afraid of competition, especially when it’s from a startup. I’ve definitely seen some of the arrogance referred to here and it’s remarkable given the opportunity startups represent.

But DosDoce believes cooperation is inevitable, and we would agree:

The results of this study have revealed that publishers and startups are destined to get along in order to benefit from the business opportunities offered by the Internet. In the era of participation, every company should establish strategic alliances to face the challenges of the digital age.



Get Noble Prize winner by the slice

Shifu, You'll Do Anything For A Laugh by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Noble Prize for LIteratureArcade Publishing, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes books by the Chinese writer Mo Yan. Mo was awarded the 2012  Noble Prize for Literature, the first writer from China to win this most prestigious of awards. Arcade recently contacted Slicebooks about helping them make some of Mo Yan’s work available whole or sliced, which we thought was a splendid idea.

We’ve started with Mo Yan’s short story collection, “Shifu, You’ll Do Anything For A Laugh”. This collection features eight stories written over the past 20 years.

Publisher’s Weekly compares Mo Yan to Kafka: 

“If China has a Kafka, it may be Mo Yan. Like Kafka, Yan (The Republic of Wine; Red Sorghum) has the ability to examine his society through a variety of lenses, creating fanciful, Metamorphosis-like transformations or evoking the numbing bureaucracy and casual cruelty of modern governments. The title novella of this collection of eight tales chronicles the story of old Ding, whose 43 years of dedicated service to the Municipal Farm Equipment Factory have earned him the honorific Shifu, or master worker. Despite this praise, Ding is abruptly laid off one month before his retirement. After contemplating his options including setting himself on fire in protest Ding decides to go with a more entrepreneurial approach, converting an abandoned bus into a cottage-for-hire for lovers. As an old man getting his first taste of capitalism, he serves as a symbol for many of those facing struggles in modern China.” 

 Now readers can grab just a story or two, or the entire book.





Talking Innovation at the Professional & Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Conference

2013 Professional & Scholarly Publishing Conference

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) invited Slicebooks to be part of “The Innovators” panel at this year’s Professional & Scholarly Publishing Conference in Washington D.C.  The conference was well attended by STEM publishers despite  travel schedule paranoia due to the monster weather system blanketing New England last week. (Our own flight from D.C to NYC was postponed a day due to the snow storm, so we spent our off day instead at the Smithsonian viewing the Emancipation Proclamation exhibit, Julia Child’s kitchen, the Ruby Slippers and so much more. Time well spent!)

The theme of our presentation at the conference was simple, and more or less echoed by the other Innovation Panel participants.  Today’s users expect choice and flexibility, and content must be made available how and when the user needs it. This is just what Slicebooks is focused on. All of our development and the partnerships we are forming are aimed at making all content available whole, sliced, remixable and accessible immediately from any device. This is as true in educational and journal publishing as it is for trade publishers, and feedback from STEM publishers following the conference indicates that they are on board.


Book Fiesta at Guadalajara Book Expo 2012


A view of the exhibition floor, Guadalajara Book Fair 2012Slicebooks spent the week at the Guadalajara Book Fair introducing our “whole or sliced” retail platform and our slicing and remixing services to STEM  publishers, distributors and educational organizations from throughout Latin America.  This book fair is the largest in Latin America and the 2nd largest in the world after Frankfurt. They expect about 600,000+ visitors to pass through during the 10 days of the fair.

The cultural aspect of this book venue can not be overstated. Mariachis strolling the book fair avenues, art exhibits around every corner.

Here’s the entry into the Guadalajara Book Expo. Chile was the host country.Entry into the Guadalajara Book Expo. Chile was the host country.

For Slicebooks it was both exciting and gratifying to find audiences from a host of Latin American countries (as well as delegations from the US, the UK and Spain) doing emotional backflips after watching demos of our services and retail platform. Giving their book customers the freedom of choosing content whole or sliced, and the ability to easily customize their own ebooks makes obvious sense to them.

Tree of Life made from Mexican chocolate
Tree of Life made from Mexican chocolate

Tree of Life made of Mexican Chocolate at the Guadalajara Book Fair 2012
While not all are yet ready to immediately make the digital leap (Costa Rica University Presses, for example, are looking at a 2 year process of moving to digital) they easily agreed that the transition to making their content available to their customers “whole, sliced and remixable” is a natural next step. We are excited about helping them break on through.

 libros y leopardos (books & leopards) at the Guadalajara Book Fair 2012

Libros y leopardos (books & leopards) at the Guadalajara Book Fair 2012