Category Archives: Publishing

Our ship is coming in…

…but for now, the paperback copy of Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5 is backordered. (Paperbackordered?)
MOI_COSMOS2
Our transport ship, the Mol Cosmos has cleared the straight of Gibraltar and is headed to New York right now.

We’ve been thrilled at the response we’ve gotten from the release of our new eBook. Electronic sales have been excellent, and so have sales of the Printed Book/DVD combo. So good, in fact, that we’ve run out of the first shipment, and have to put the paper copy on backorder until early March.

We’ve knocked $5 off the price of the paperback book + DVD on our site during the time of the backorder. In the meantime, you can still buy the electronic version, or get delivery on DVD at the regular price. Note that you can use discount codes with this offer, like the VIP code you get for buying anything directly from us.

The ship carrying the books, The Mol Cosmos, is due to arrive in New York from Singapore on the 26th of February. It will take a few days for the books to clear customs and get to us. And of course, in the internet age, it’s possible to follow along at home. Here’s a link to a (kind of) real-time tracking site for the ship.

Bon Voyage.

Lightroom Missing FAQ Now on DAM Useful!

lr5-book1Those of you who have read my books know that I’m a huge fan of Victoria Bampton’s book, Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ. She has created the most comprehensive reference manual detailing the function of each menu item, button, pulldown and right-click in Lightroom. I keep it handy whenever I’m trying to learn some a new trick, teach a class or write a book. I know that even people on the Lightroom team at Adobe sometimes use the book as a reference.

In my recent DAM Book Guides, I have written comprehensive but targeted books which are focused on solving a particular problem. I’ll show you how to use the important tools in the way I suggest you use them, rather than telling you every option possible. That’s because the place you should go to learn about all options is the place I go: The Missing FAQ.

Victoria’s company, The Lightroom Queen, is an independent publisher, as is DAM Useful Publishing. And I’m really happy to announce that we have started a joint marketing venture. We’ve begun by placing our books in each other’s stores. So you can now buy The Missing FAQ here at theDAMBook.com. And we’re also offering her free Quick Start Guide

Until February 25th, we have a discounted bundle featuring Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5 along with The Missing FAQ.

It’s an exciting new world of independent publishing, and we’re really happy to be working with someone we admire.

 

NGS Seminar

35 years ago, as a high school senior, I was invited to the National Geographic photographers’ yearly seminar (thanks to Clark Mishler, who was working in the Photographic Department at the time, saw my photos in a contest, and took the trouble to call my school and invite me to attend).

Every year that I go, I find it to be one of the most interesting, inspiring and intellectually invigorating experiences I can imagine. In the last 15 years or so, I have also been going to the Image Sales (now National Geographic Creative) business meeting, since they represent some of my stock photography. That meeting has also become one of the most interesting days of the year.

The business meeting recaps the past year for NG Creative and rolls out the plans for the year ahead. Over the years, I’ve seen NG Creative come into form, starting as an old-school stock photo agency, and turning into a nimble, smart and forward-thinking agency offering photos, videos, fine art, assignments and stock. It’s been a great education to watch Maura Mulvihill and Bill Perry build this department. (There’s a nice article in the January 2014 PDN magazine about NGC.)

The seminar day is always a real photographic feast. This year, the headliner was Danny Lyon, a Magnum photographer who has used his camera as a tool for advocacy. He’s a classic insurgent – irreverent, passionate, fighting for what’s right, and not afraid to tell it to the man exactly as he sees it.

In addition to Danny, we saw great presentations by Hasan Elahi, Wayne Lawrence, Newsha Tavakorian, Tyler Hicks, Vince Musi and David Maisel. While it’s always a bit overwhelming and humbling, this event also provides wonderful inspiration for the new year.

CC Licenses, APIs and Content Stacks

I just read an article in Wired that pushed a lot of my buttons, and illustrates a number of the points in my talk at the PACA conference two weeks ago.

A company called Pro Populi has used some AOL data to create a new service that makes the data available in new ways, notably on a mobile platform. The data is published by AOL under a Creative Commons license which allows for reuse in an nearly unlimited number of ways, as long as credit is given.

At first I thought this was a story about people unwittingly giving away the store. As I have been writing recently, I think that many people are granting very broad licenses to use their content when they post on social media. This can come back to bite you when someone starts to build a new service with your data in ways you aren’t expecting.

This is a particular problem for media companies that publish stuff to other social media platforms. If you are a media company pushing your content online to Instagram or Facebook, you may find that the content shows up in competing products that you exercise no control over (and get no revenue from). The story in Wired uses this as the lead – AOL publishes database, and company scrapes up the whole thing, reformats it, and builds a new service with the data.

But buried in the 12th paragraph is the real story – the business implications of the Application Programming Interface or API. APIs allow one company to make their data available to another user, service, device or application. And they come with their own terms of service, with implications that few people understand.

On the surface, an API seems like a great way to short-cycle development. You can wire up the content or service into your own in a matter of minutes, hours or days, instead of months or years of development. It’s creating phenomenal growth as data stacks and business models are remixed on the fly.

But APIs typically come with take-it-or-leave-it usage terms. When you build with APIs, you run great risk that the service which is offering the API-fed data will simply turn off the spigot. If your business depends on the live link to the data that APIs provide, you are at the mercy of the provider. And that’s the story here, the one that Wired buried.

Welcome to APIworld. Over the next few years, APIs are going to become central to the battle for commerce and business development, particularly in the media realm. We’re going to be seeing this story a lot in the next few years, as more people find that they have built their businesses on agreements they did not even know they were making.

David Byrne and the Independent Creator

I’m peeling this post off of a discussion I’m having on Facebook with Leora Kornfeld, who writes about Disintermediation as a Harvard Research Associate. I think this message is an important one for all independent creators to be thinking about as all content-based industries are changing around us.

Here is David Byrne’s Oped in The Guardian. In it, he argues that new media consolidation on the internet is squeezing the economic sustainability out of music broadcast.

And here’s my take on it:
I think he has a point about the economics of the new aggregators. It’s a little ironic to see a reference to the good old days of the record company fairness, since they were the posterboys of IP robber baronism. 

Now, it’s the tech aggregators turn. It may be an even less fair arrangement, due to a confluence of factors. The end result will probably depend on whether the winner-take-all model topples, or whether it stands. 

Also it’s probably more accurate to say that the new model is sucking the economic sustainability out of the middle and bottom rungs of a professional art form. Whether that translates to the “life” or not is a different question. 

Of course, both of the above questions are linked. Do new disintermediation models spring up to get around the reintermediation™ of Amazon and Pandora? Jeff Goldblum would say that life will find a way.

You’ll see many people in the tech world shrug and say, “Get used to it.” But this ignores the fact that there is no one single natural order of things. The rules (laws) governing business practices set the playing field. And those rules are set by governments.

When radio was new technology, for instance, payola was outlawed. This law was instrumental in the development of music businesses in the radio age. Without these laws, the record companies would have had an even tighter stranglehold on the entire industry and could have required even more onerous contractual terms.

Monopolies deform the marketplace, generally to the detriment all outside stakeholders. Disintermediation is undermining the power of the existing content oligarchies, but reintermediation is apparently on track to bring an even greater concentration of wealth and power into fewer hands.

Along the way, these companies will work to bend the rules in their own favor. So I don’t think that stakeholders outside the new oligarchy should simply “get used to it.” Our laws are ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of the digital age. And we should not leave the law-writing only to those with the highest concentration of wealth and power. History teaches us that they will try to increase their power by tilting the playing field. 

It’s possible that these companies will be prevented from becoming true monopolies through some market-based limiting factor, such as hubris, incompetence or outside competition. But it’s also possible that they win the winner-take-all game.

In that case, as with the monopolies of the last century, it may fall to governments to limit the power of these companies. It’s important for independent creators to stay informed and to advocate for their own best interests.

New Lightroom Multi-Catalog Workflow eBook!

Multi-Catalog Workflow 250I’ve just finished my newest book, The DAM Book Guide to Multi-Catalog Workflow with Lightroom 5. This multimedia eBook offers a deep dive into the tools, methods and workflows that make use of multiple catalogs with Lightroom 5.

This multimedia eBook uses text, videos, screenshots and animated flowcharts to help you create a solid multi-catalog workflow. Watch the movie below to see how I’ve approached the subject and the book.

We’re offering a special discount for people who have purchased The DAM Book or other products directly from us. Look for an offer in your email box or contact us directly.

Anyone can stay in the loop for updates and special offers by opting in here.

Purchase $34.95

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