Why Publishers Should Like Apps

Are you a truly free publisher?


When I read the article in the Technology Review entitled “Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps,” it helped inspire me to start my business.  Besides being a Caltech guy, I truly believed apps could answer all the problems raised in this article written by the editor of the MIT magazine.  Like a lot of journalists, Mr. Pontin wasn’t really aware of the technology developed right under his proverbial “nose.”

That same year, 2012, the final 3.01 version of ePub3 was approved by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).  One of the best creations to come out of that new standard was the open source Readium Chrome eReader.  It was this invention that led to EMRE Publishing, LLC and our development of the Embellisher™ Mobile Creation, Publishing and Marketing System.  We have answered all of the criticisms made in Pontin’s article, so please allow me to go over them, one-at-a-time:

1.  Apple demanded a 30 percent cut on all single copies sold through iTunes.

Oh yes, my my, Apple.  One of the wealthiest corporations in the world in 2015.  They didn’t get there by coddling other companies and especially other publishers.  With open source, we learned to work around the Apple gorillas in the room.  With the Embellisher™ system, publishers can deliver their magazines in ePub3 format to the reader directly by instant messages, bypassing the hairy brutes like Apple and Amazon.  Thus, no profit is lost on selling those single copies in iTunes, so lamented by Mr. Editor back in 2012.

2.  It turned out that it wasn’t at all that simple to adapt print publications to apps.

Whoops, MIT, I see you got the entire thing backwards, as usual.  Instead of rushing around trying to please everybody, why not do what CEO Jonny Kaldor talked about at the 2015 London Book Fair?   Our publishers drive their content through our ePub3 Creator Studio and eReader, cross-channels, to all mobile devices at one time.  Silly Mr. Pontin.  The answer was again in front of your nose, but you got it reversed.  Instead of creating all those versions of your publication for the different devices, all you needed to do was create one version that could adapt easily to all those devices.  That’s what we did!

3.  Software development of apps was much harder than publishers had anticipated.

Oh boy.  Again, you were trying to please the “big apes,” rather than using the Occam’s razor model of logic that we use at Caltech.  Bypass all that gnarly proprietary code by using open source code (i.e., the Readium eReader) as the backbone of your app (like we did at EMRE Publishing).

4.  Readers felt they were “boxed-in” when using an app.  There was no “linky-ness” because they couldn’t connect to the outside Internet.

Hey, it’s 2015, dummy!  Our readers at EMRE can connect outside anytime they wish.  Our authors and publishers use links in the best ways possible:  to market, to create, and to connect intimately with their readers!  In fact, the ads inside our ePub3 books can be constructed so they can be accessed by Google in many more ways, thus providing advertisers with a much better user experience when interacting with their ads.

5.  Conde’ Nast saw its digital sales increase by 268 percent last year after Apple introduced an iPad app called “Newsstand.”

Oh, okay, so you let Apple come up with the app first.  What kind of MIT profundity is that?  At Caltech, we take the bull by the horns and create our own!  My developers can match your problem with an immediate answer any day.

In summary, the real answer to this gripe session by the MIT editor is to put away conventional journalism and begin to think like a mobile developer!  That’s what we did, and we think we’ve solved all those so-called “problems” in the best way possible.  We not only by-pass the middlemen (those app-hating apes, Apple and Amazon), but we build brands for publishers from the ground up:  with open source flexibility!

Thanks for letting me share.

CEO Jim Musgrave and wife Ellen

EMRE CEO Jim Musgrave and wife Ellen


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About musgrave

Owner of EMRE Publishing, LLC and independent author who lives in San Diego with his wife, Ellen.

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