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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

E-publishing gets easier and easier with new models

Hindustan Times   July 15, 2012
First Published: 21:20 IST(15/7/2012) | Last Updated: 21:28 IST(15/7/2012)

"Content is king" is an easy saying - but how does it pan out as the Internet expands and technology progresses further? The jury is still out because advertising models have not yet matured for e-content, but I am fascinated by new prospects opening up based on simple pay models - and also the increased scope for content innovation that the Web offers.

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We have sites such as Zite.com that enable technology-based personalisation of content from various sources on the Internet to offer you customised packages, or companies like Hyderabad-based Pressmart.com that create "epapers" of old-world newspapers so that anyone anywhere in the world can get the look and feel of newspapers.

But beyond these, new innovations are emerging.

At the World Book Fair in New Delhi earlier this year, I chanced upon Qbend.com -with its roots and strong presence in Chennai but serving with US incorporation. Qbend.com has created for e-books an online store similiar to what an Amazon or eBay do for physical goods.

You can create, publish and sell e-books online using their business model that combines digital rights, online payment and delivery.

Even more interesting, with their focus on the academic segment, they have created a framework where a professor can mix and match stuff from various books for which the rights are enabled and sell them in their own course-specific packages.

And then you have Magzter.com - which calls its self a "global digital mobile magazine store and newsstand." This makes  it easy for magazine publishers to offer digital editions of their titles using an Internet "cloud"-based model with revenue-sharing without investment.

Basically, Magzter, based in New York but founded and headed by Chennai man Girish Ramdas - is a one-stop shop for publishers to convert their content so that it can be delivered across platforms on subscription to mobile devices based on the Android or Mac operating systems.

Magzter for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Samsung's BADA platforms are expected soon. In essence, this makes marketing and distribution easy for publishers.

I found more interesting the fact that independent publishers can start their own publications by simply uploading digital copies of their magazines.

"Publishers can set the pricing, release data and can see real time sales data through their dashboard," Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, Magzter's co-founder and president, said in an e-mailed response.

 A digital advertisement platform is also being planned to enable publishing of ads.

Clearly, commercial e-publishing is getting easier by the day.


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