Este artículo constituye la primera de 3 entregas sobre la edición digital en América Latina. El texto es en buena medida una actualización del informe La edición digital en los países en desarrollo (2011), aunque con un énfasis aun mayor puesto en los dispositivos móviles. En esta entrega, nos concentraremos en la influencia de las redes sociales en la lectura digital, en el desarrollo de tiendas en línea y en el surgimiento de las bibliotecas virtuales o “Nubes de libros”.
Archive for category: Latin America
It is undeniable that the mobile Web can help to reduce the digital divide. Developments in this field have allowed greater access to web content in numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But what happens when it comes to creation and participation? How do we promote an open mobile web in which local users can be active players, rather than passive consumers? To discuss these issues, which are of vital importance for the publishing world, we talked to Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation.
The intercultural, interdisciplinary and multilingual journal Bibliodiversity’s last issue focuses on the “Digital South”, thus highlighting the relatively unknown reality of digital publishing in countries of the South.
Based on a selection of the best papers and interviews published in French, Spanish and English on the Digital Lab of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers (IAIE), Bibliodiversity proposes a fresh outlook and provides a platform for voices that were until now little heard, or rather little listened to.
With its 11 million inhabitants –20 million, if we include the suburbs– and a GDP of over 300 billion dollars, São Paulo is South America’s main industrial and financial hub. Some 6 million vehicles travel its gigantic network of highways, avenues, tunnels and viaducts. Away from the traffic, countless passengers are transported underground by different subway lines, while up in the air a swarm of helicopters wait to land on the rooftop of one skyscraper or another.
The city exudes an extraordinary intensity; it is thoroughly multicultural and absorbs any outside influence –customs, dress, food and even words– just as naturally as a rainforest assimilates new species. However, such ease should not give rise to confusion: far from passively adapting to fashion trends, São Paulo transforms them to its advantage, which perhaps explains the Latin motto that adorns its flag: non ducor, duco –“I am not led, I lead”.
On Publishing Perspectives today, you’ll find the introduction to Octavio Kulesz’s significant research into digital publishing in developing countries. The study was commissioned by the International Alliance of Independent Publishers with the support of the Prince Claus Foundation, and covers industries in Latin America, the Arab World, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, India and China.
In addition to the countless IT service providers in India and hardware manufacturers in China that support the Western platforms from behind the scenes, there are original and innovative digital publishing projects being carried out at this very moment in the South -– local platforms that will one day be able to compete with foreign ones. In fact, some of these ventures are so dynamic that instead of debating who will be the future Apple of China or the Amazon of South Africa, perhaps we will soon be asking ourselves who will be the Shanda of the US or the m4Lit of the UK.
In a new post on his blog, DMN co-founder Arthur Attwell describes five key challenges, which are also opportunities, for educational publishing in emerging markets. These include the need for publishers to provide content digitally before they are completely replaced by other businesses that are moving more quickly:
… publishers need to provide content now: not for the market’s sake, but for their own. Every new technology needs content, and for a long time, publishers had a headstart providing it, because they already owned most of the world’s high-quality educational content. For at least ten years the inevitability of the ereading revolution has been a no-brainer, and yet many publishing companies wasted that time in uncertainty or wishful thinking. Now other players are getting better at creating their own content, and a decade’s headstart is almost up. Technology companies, retailers, non-profits, governments and small startups are all producing content, and under very different business models to traditional publishing ones.
On the website of his company, Electric Book Works, there is a new, free short ebook called Embracing Digital on change and opportunity in educational publishing, focusing on publishing in emerging markets.
In this article posted in Publishing Perspectives, Octavio Kulesz shares his views on the present and the future of the Argentinean ebook market. According to Kulesz, at this time, very few people in Argentina own e-readers, and suppliers have yet to develop a formal electronic market. Success in the e-book market is most likely to come from new companies with business models that are distinct from their U.S. and European counterparts.
The Argentinean publishing sector experienced an impressive boost in the aftermath of the country’s economic crash in 2001. However, at present the industry seems unable to adequately respond to the challenge posed by the digital era. The audacity that has always characterized the local entrepreneurs is pretty much alive, but has to be unleashed. (…)
In my opinion, given that the migration of the industry won’t come from analog publishers suddenly becoming digital but from new players joining the game, what we need now is a new generation of digital publishers entering the scene and taking over. This will require a big effort from that cohort, but the attempt will be worth making, since what is at stake is no less than the vitality of the forthcoming Argentinean (e)book industry.
The young digital generation of publishers will have to experiment with new formats and with new business models. From my point of view, there must be a viable and profitable pattern for digital publishing content, because of that unquenchable thirst for online texts that citizens have started to show. Certainly, we cannot expect replicas of the old commercial scheme to work as they used to. And I daresay that even some business models related to digital that may have proved successful in the U.S. or in Europe won’t work at all in our region, so the challenge will be twofold: disenthralling ourselves of old paradigms and also doing away with certain solutions imported from the North that as such may do little to improve the current situation.
The series “Future of the industry – new business models” is published in partnership by the Frankfurt Book Fair and the German trade magazine Buchreport. In this section, journalist Alejandra Rodríguez Ballester describes the particular publishing system implemented by Editorial Teseo in Argentina.
The publishing company Teseo is geared to the academic world and aims to channel the need for academic publications. For traditional publishing companies needing large print-runs, doctoral theses and university research papers are often unprofitable. Using the print-on-demand system, Teseo produces the book in just the numbers ordered online by the reader. In the process, the publishing company offers the advance option of a digital viewing via Google Books Search. The publishing company also works closely with Amazon which has books produced in its own printing works in the USA. In addition, cooperation is in place with the Argentinian bookshop Prometeo and other virtual booksellers. At www.ebookexpress.com, Teseo also sells its books as e-books at half the price of the print version.
“Teseo is a local, digital publishing company, we have neither a warehouse nor fixed overheads. It is all set up so that we have no need for a fixed location, the centre of our field of activity is the web and 90 per cent of the software that we use is free”, explains Teseo’s boss Octavio Kulesz.
Lead consultants from Kotobarabia (Egypt), Editorial Teseo (Argentina) and Electric Book Works (South Africa) have joined forces as the Digital Minds Network (http://digitalmindsnetwork.com), a cooperative venture that pools their resources, strategies and experience.
The co-founders, Ramy Habeeb, Octavio Kulesz and Arthur Attwell, specialise in digital publishing in emerging markets. Each are experienced professionals and entrepreneurs who hold or have held senior positions in publishing enterprises or entrepreneurial ventures. Individually, they have consulted to local and international clients on issues ranging from digitisation and ebook production to metadata management and print-on-demand. Working with small local businesses or large multinationals, the network’s members will provide a distinctly global view, identifying trends and best practice in emerging markets that are often hidden from mainstream international publishing.
Arthur Attwell, of Electric Book Works, says: “Many emerging markets are following a different digital-publishing trajectory to that of the US and Europe, but with experts in this area thin on the ground in our regions, a formal structure in which to share ideas and resources will boost our capacity, and add value for our clients.”
The network’s founders will look to bring other experts into the network. They will be experienced publishing professionals and entrepreneurs who can draw on a wide array of contacts locally and internationally, and demonstrate a combination of technical, financial, strategic, and communication skills.
Habeeb and Attwell will be speaking at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference (http://toccon.com) being held in New York from 22 to 24 February.
The Digital Minds Network (http://digitalmindsnetwork.com) is a network of consultants who specialise in digital publishing in emerging economies. While its consultants operate independently around the world, the network adds value for their clients by pooling their resources, strategies, insights and experience.
Ramy Habeeb, Director and co-founder of Kotobarabia.com, graduated from McGill University with a double major in Literature and Religious Studies. In 2004 he established Kotobarabia.com (http://kotobarabia.com), the first Arabic language e-book publishing house in the Middle East.
Octavio Kulesz has a degree in Philosophy from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has been a professor in Ancient Philosophy at the same university. In 2000, Octavio co-founded the independent project Libros del Zorzal, and in 2007, Editorial Teseo (http://editorialteseo.com). Octavio Kulesz chaired the International Young Publishing Entrepreneur (IYPE) Network in 2007/8.
Arthur Attwell is CEO of Electric Book Works (http://electricbookworks.com), a digital publishing and R&D company founded in 2006. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, EBW finds and tests ways to apply digital-publishing best practice in developing countries. He was runner-up in the British Council’s International Young Publishing Entrepreneur award in 2009. He keeps a blog on publishing-technology at http://arthurattwell.com.