OMG, E-Poetry Is Awesome

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E-Poetry is the wackiest thing ever that I wish I had known about before now. A poem that moves in real-time with the ocean; that’s a thing. I want to share some of the poems I learned about through researching for this article with you so that more people can be aware of this burgeoning, intriguing, dynamic means of expression.

Before I – someone who I recently learned is woefully unqualified to talk about this subject – provide a definition of what e-poetry is, here’s a video of that ocean poem I mentioned just a moment ago: Channel of the North . According to an author statement on, “Channel of the North grows and shrinks as a function of the tide in the Westerschelde river on the Dutch/Belgian border.” That’s so cool. and is just one of many ways that digital spaces give poets different ways to play with language and form.

What is e-poetry though? According to this webpage,

digital poetry is not text poetry simply distributed on the web or put into electronic form: it uses the properties of the digital medium in a meaningfully distinct manner. Norbert Bachleitner offers a somewhat spare definition of digital poetry, as ‘innovative works with specific qualities that cannot be displayed on paper’ (303); a better basic definition might be a literary work which depends integrally for its form on the operation of digital processes on an electronic device, and which has poetic qualities of semantic richness and meaningful form.

So, I suppose e-poetry is simply whatever one can loosely define as something we can call poetry that utilizes the very digital environment to express and do things in ways print simply can’t do.

Now, let’s get back to looking at cool ways that people have played with the digital environment and poetry. But, before we do though, please note that a lot of these poems require extensions such as Flash Player. Consequently, some of the poems may be impossible to view depending on the device you are using. I struggled to find viewable poems, so I will try to post videos that show the poem being viewed, as well as the link where you can play with the poem yourself.

My favorite poem I found is called Faith, by Robert Kendall. You can watch/interact with it by clicking here: Faith. If you’re as confused and baffled as I was, here’s an author description on that describes the poem as:

a kinetic poem that reveals itself in five successive states. Each new state is overlaid onto the previous one, incorporating the old text into the new. Each new state absorbs the previous one while at the same time engaging in an argument with it. The gradual textual unfolding is choreographed to music.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the jargon being used to describe the poems, but basically kinetic poetry is where the words move and bump around. Furthermore, the poem itself unfolds through time and is read and/or watched as the poems move and reveal meaning and more words. For example, the words logic dropping from the top of the screen and bumping into the word faith in the poem, Faith.

 If you’re still here, check out this video of the poem by David Knoebel: ThoughtsGo. The poem plays by clicking on the yellow dot and holding down the mouse button; if you stop holding the button down then the sounds and visuals stop. Here’s a link where you can play with ThoughtsGo. What’s super cool about this poem is explained in the author statement, “This press and hold action is the physical manifestation of a held thought, which stands in contrast to the fleeting thoughts described in the work.” So. Freaking. Cool.

If you want to play with something really weird, check out this thing: Carving in Possibilities , by Deena Larsen. I don’t even know what’s going on here, but I like it. Thankfully, (praise be unto, has our back covered with an author description of Carving in Possibilities: “Carving in Possibilities is a short Flash piece. By moving the mouse, the user carves the face of Michelangelo’s David out of speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture.” Where in the world did these authors come up with this stuff!?

Another cool way people are experimenting with digital poetry is through how programs can generate poetry. Automation, by Andrew Campana, is a “generative poem” where “Every 8 seconds, a script generates a new line by randomly selecting the platform number, subject, verb, and exhortation from a preset list.” If the link above to Automation doesn’t work, here’s a video you can watch that shows how comical the poem can be: Automation Video (start at 0:59 to skip to where it begins presenting lines of verse).

Campana’s, Automation, isn’t the only type of automated verse creator though. For example, “Poem.exe is a micropoetry bot, assembling haiku-like poems throughout the day and publishing them on Twitter and Tumblr,” according to the author statement on The little guy just keeps spittin’ out poems to this day. You can find Liam Cooke’s micropoetry bot churning out poetry on Twitter, here.

Something I never saw coming, and the final bit I want to show you, is how poets are playing with augmented reality.  Check out this video:  Digital pop-up book: Between Page And Screen. I personally was not able to experience this since I don’t have access to a webcam right now. However, you can download and print a sample to try it out with at

There is honestly no telling what poets are going to come up with next, and I’m excited to keep up with what people are inventing in the world of literature. If you’re interested, go to and check out their collections found under the projects tab. Did you know that Margaret invented a kimchi poetry machine? there’s so much to explore and look at. I hope y’all have fun!

Audiobooks Continue to Increase in Popularity

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Instant, downloadable media has had a prolific effect on the preference of book consumption. Despite print books remaining the primary form of reading, audiobook sales have seen a continuous climb over the last few years; meanwhile, e-book sales have experienced a steady decrease in sales. In a rapidly moving society, the need to listen to books while on the go showcases the importance of easy accessibility – hence, the rise of audiobooks.

The Growth of Audiobooks

Good E-reader  reports that audiobook sales have been growing rapidly in recent years, becoming the “fastest growing segment in digital publishing.” Research completed by the Audiobook Publishers Association and Edison Research discovered that “audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year, and 57% of listeners agreed or strongly agreed that audiobooks help you finish more books.”

With the ease and simplicity through which audiobooks can be acquired and listened to, it’s no surprise that readers in an ever-busy generation at times feel more inclined to check out audiobooks over e-books. According to Audiobook Publishers Association’s 2018 report on consumer book publishers’ revenue stats (Links to an external site.)

The most noticeable increase was in audiobook sales, jumping by 37.1%, an additional $127.1 million since 2017. The AAP notes that downloaded audio (as opposed to physical audiobook formats) has been the format with the most growth since 2013. “This is the third consecutive year that audiobooks saw double-digit growth (+37.1%) and eBook revenue declined (-3.6%),” the AAP report says.

The report states that e-book sales have experienced a steady decline since 2017, with an even more drastic decline occurring in 2015 when “e-book units fell 13%.”

The target audience for audiobooks are listeners under the age of 45, who constitute 54% of audiobook listeners. However, the Publisher’s Weekly article “Audiobook Revenue Jumped 22.7% in 2018 ” states that consumers who primarily read via audiobooks also constitute a large portion of the e-book consumers as “83% of frequent listeners also read a hardcover or paperback over the last 12 months, and 79% also read an e-book,” with print books still remaining the most popular form of reading.

Audiobook listeners primarily utilize smartphones as a way of listening to their audiobooks as “73% of listeners used a smartphone to listen to audiobooks at some point in the year, and 47% of listeners chose a smartphone as their listening device on a regular basis.” Since 74% of audiobook consumers  listen to audiobooks while in the car, smartphones provide a simple way of easily accessing multiple audiobook platforms and extensive libraries of titles.

Audiobook Platforms

With the rise in audiobook sales, digital publishing has also seen a rise in audiobook listening platforms. According to TechRadar (Links to an external site.), the best sites for audiobooks are Audible, Google Audiobooks, Kobo Audiobooks, Librivox, and Downpour.

Audible is Amazon’s audiobook site, the “biggest name in the world of audiobooks” with a wide selection of titles. It has two subscription plans: for $14.95 or £7.99 a month, subscribers “can download one audiobook per month.” For $22.95 or £14.99 a month, readers can download two. Audible also offers a 30 – day free trial (one book free of charge).

Google Audiobooks is the most recent option in the Google Play store. Techradar writer Cat Ellis states that “The newly minted service is clearly designed as a rival to Audible, with Google making a virtue of the fact that books are sold individually, with no subscription.

Kobo Audiobooks, launched in 2017 by e-reader producer Kobo, is less extensive than Amazon’s Audible, but boasts a cheaper subscription price at “$9.99/£6.99/AU$12.99.” Like Audible, Kobo offers the option of purchasing audiobooks separately, without a subscription.

LibriVox is unlike the other sites which offer newly released titles for purchase. LibriVox is a free-to-listen audiobook site that holds titles available in the public domain. Interesting to note, while Audible and other sites utilize celebrities and authors as their readers, LibriVox is volunteer based, allowing users to participate in the audiobook reading.

 Downpour, another subscription-based site, is similar to audiobook as users buy one credit (enough for one audiobook) for $12.99 a month. If users decide to end the subscription, they are allowed to retain their purchases.

The Future of Audiobooks

Non-book publishers are beginning to notice the rise in audiobook sales, and have subsequently began to publish columns and reviews on audiobook bestsellers. The New York Times has started releasing an audiobook bestsellers list published monthly.

“The vibrant growth of audiobooks in the industry has created a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling audiobooks across the country,” said Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review. “The Times recognizes the increased reader and listener interest in audiobooks, as well as in the Book Review’s increasing depth of coverage of audiobooks, and we’re thrilled we’ll be able to provide them independent data they can rely on.”

The bestseller for October (Links to an external site.) (as of right now) is “The Institute” by Stephen King.

Good E-reader reports that “major publishers have confirmed to Good e-Reader that 1 out of every 10 books sold is in the audio format, a percentage far higher than just a few years ago.” The article also quotes David Shelley, the CEO of Hachette UK (the second-biggest publishing company in Britain) as saying

Audio is not a blip…Audiobooks could be one of the biggest parts of our business. It has doubled in the last two years. It is a completely different way of transmitting our books to people. I would put some money on it that audio is going to continue being a central piece of our business going forward.

Audiobooks have even started being sold (again) in record format, branching back out from the digital sphere back into physical copies. For example, HarperCollins has recently released a vinyl version of the popular children’s books A Series of Unfortunate EventsThe Bad Beginning, the first book in the series is now available for $24.98 on HarperCollins website, featuring “a transparent sea foam green record and full-length digital download of theaudiobook narrated by Tim Curry.

With 2019 audiobook consumer reports showing that audiobook sales are continuing to rise and publishers defending this research with affirmative statements surrounding the position of audiobooks in their companies, the future of audiobooks has never looked so bright.

Getting Hooked on Reading

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Hooked entices young people to fall for reading hook, line, and sinker. The company aims to engage teenagers and millennials through a near-voyeuristic experience via fictionalized text message stories. Prerna Gupta, Co-Founder of Hooked, claims:

The way we consume content is changing dramatically, especially in younger generations. For example, a majority of young adult novels are being read digitally now in the U.S., and that’s increasingly happening on mobile. But the way that books are created hasn’t changed in centuries.

Hooked allows readers to select stories presented as a text message conversation between characters through a mobile app.  Anthony Ha from TechCrunch explains that instead of flipping pages, taps summon the next text. The app includes stand-alone stories and chapter series that reach about 1,000 words. Users are offered several free stories along with a charged option for unlimited access of $2.99 for a week, $7.99 for a month, and $39.99 for a year.

The History of Hooked

Prerna Gupta and Parag Chordia previously worked as successful app developers before they founded Hooked, the self-proclaimed “future of storytelling”. After Gupta experienced a panic attack about the uncertainty of their novel and its lack of a typical protagonist, the pair decided to test a selection of their novel on an app and track audience response. They realized that the audience barely finished even the limited best seller excerpts as Gupta explains:

People say that reading is dying. But we refused to believe this. Storytelling is fundamental to humans; some believe it is the essence of humanity. The demand for great stories is ever present. Fiction must evolve with the times.

After attempting various approaches to encourage audience completion, the couple decided to test out text message stories. They discovered that the format appeals to young audiences for several reasons: the text message style ensures brevity, encourages intimacy in storytelling, and feels familiar to an uber tech-literate audience.

What Hooked Has to Offer

Hooked hires college students to write fiction stories for the app. The writers then produce more pieces in the genres that receive the most engagement. Romance and horror top the list of the most popular genres among their teen audience with endless chapters available and an option for subscribers to self-publish.

The success behind the frivolous content centers around young people reading to completion on the app. The content also fits precisely with readers’ parameters for time consumption, tone, and style, which promotes returning readership. Forbes’ Adam Rowe describes the challenge of the text style content: “To keep the audience engaged, you have to be pithy and keep the story moving along at a brisk pace.”

The Market’s Take

Readers are obsessed with Hooked. Gupta claims that “rather than destroy reading, Hooked makes reading engaging for a broad audience. We’ve heard from many teens who say they hate reading books, but they love reading in Hooked. It’s a gateway drug.” Overall, the app boasts 10 million subscribed readers, with over 20 million downloads. Gupta also states that the audience has “collectively reading over 10 billion fictional text messages in the app” and written “a million chat stories of their own, directly from their phones.”

This enterprise offers real-time data about audience interaction along with providing a unique reading experience for their teen readers. Along with the success from their innovation and versatility, the app has also secured substantial investments since its initial conception in 2015.

What Hooked Created

The most business-oriented use results from the app’s original purpose: a/b testing storylines. Gupta told the LA Times, “I think it can push the boundaries for Hollywood in experimenting with new storylines and diverse characters. If you can test stories … you could take out some of the guesswork.”

The app’s analytics resulted in three main conclusions about audience reading patterns that differ from current industry practice. First, the point of view doesn’t matter; readers connect the same with first present as they do third past. Second, readers seldom engage if the piece begins in media res. Third, the race and gender of the protagonist make no difference in engagement, aside from teenage girls actually preferring female leads. Michelle Castillo from CNBC says that Hooked’s audience is “18 and 24, with 69 percent under the age of 25. The average user, however, is 25, and more than half are female.”

This analytic function serves both writers and publishers who are looking to test new material, along with Hollywood execs searching for the latest piece, as David Drake of The Huffington Post writes:

[Gupta’s] team is using this data to transform the content industry and Hollywood is catching on as film studios can test stories in the same way before production. This is the reason why investors, including Greg Silverman, President of Warner Brothers, has invested in the app.

Hooked also creates other avenues of content such as spoiler sites and featured series. One of the spoiler sites, Hooked Stories, publishes complete stories and popular chapters from Hooked free of charge. These sites essentially poach content for readers and capitalize on the app’s paywall.

Featured series, such as “Dark Matter,” are produced for platforms like Snapchat. Todd Spangler describes the series as a “multimedia series [that] blends the chat-fiction format” with voice-overs and illustrations. The featured series last longer than a standard Hooked story and draw massive audiences to the platforms.

Hooked has been enticing readers since 2015 and ranked among the Apple store’s top apps since 2017. The tailored series, which are available in more than seven languages, attracts readers without demanding excessive amounts of the readers’ time. The understanding of readership Hooked provides also proves that audiences, such as the arts, are changing. With an ever-growing audience base, this app has truly transformed fiction reading from flipping through pages to swiping through text messages for a watchers’ perspective.

Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis

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For years the e-reader market has been dominated by the Amazon Kindle. Amazon continues to produce devices for consumers looking for more book-like e-readers as well as those who desire a more technologically advanced e-reader. This article will be exploring the newest installments of two of the most highly ranked Amazon Kindles: Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis.

What is Kindle Paperwhite?

Consumers are falling in love with Paperwhite for being the most advanced Kindle with the most budget-friendly price tag. By combining the affordability and durability of the original Paperwhite model with the Bluetooth and waterproof features of the pricier Kindle Oasis, the newest Kindle Paperwhite has become one of the bestselling e-readers.

Kindle Paperwhite is one of the most popular Kindles in the franchise. Amazon has improved this device by waterproofing and adding more storage. Users are now free to read by the beach, pool, or bath at their leisure  without the worry of getting the device wet.

According to Jeffery Van Camp, “for a couple extra Jacksons, it opens up the joys of reading in the pool, beach, and bathtub without fear. The display is flush, and the device is rated IPX8, meaning it can sit in 2 meters of water for two hours.”

The previous Kindle holds a battery that takes at least three hours to charge, and many consumers found the battery endurance to be gravitating; for such an extensive charging time, the battery did not seem to last as long as it should have. The Kindle Paperwhite, however, can last for weeks at a time, depending on usage, before needing to be recharged and it only takes about 90 minutes to be fully charged.

Paperwhite now has Audible so consumers can listen to their audiobooks through Bluetooth speakers. With the addition of Audible, the device’s storage capacity has increased in order to hold more audiobooks, which require more storage space.

 Avery Hartmans explains, “… Amazon increased by a lot on the new Paperwhite. You can now buy the device with 8 GB of storage or 32 GB of storage. The latter should be more than enough space for all your e-books.” The storage available on this device is comparable to that of the Kindle Oasis, which is almost double the price of Paperwhite. 

Consumer Reviews

A feature appreciated by most Paperwhite users is the device’s simplistic design. According to Jason Snell & Dan Moren:

I found the display to be appreciably better quality than on the base model, with higher contrast and more consistent lighting. The display on the Paperwhite is also flush with the front bezel, so there are no nooks and crannies for lint and dust and crumbs to get stuck.

On top of the sleek yet simple design, consumers also enjoy the fact that they do not feel the need to put a protective covering on their device thanks to its durability.

Consumer David Carnoy says the bottom line is that the Kindle Paperwhite “is more durable, fully dunkable, and ultimately the best Kindle reader for most people — especially if you snag it during one of Amazon’s frequent sales.”

While the design of the device is highly praised, consumers should be aware that the Paperwhite does not have a built-in headphone jack. This means that for those wanting to listen to audiobooks, they will need to have a Bluetooth speaker or wireless headphones. According to Max Parker of Trusted Reviews, “during my time with the device, I didn’t ever experience any issues with connection or pairing – both were solid.”

Advantages of Paperwhite

  • Price: $119.99
  • Light Weight
  • Bluetooth
  • High Storage Capacity
  • Longer Battery Life
  • Durability

Reading Material Available for Download

  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Comics
  • E-books
  • Magazines

 What Is Kindle Oasis?

Described as “frivolously awesome,” the Kindle Oasis is the highest quality e-reader created by Amazon as of 2019. Van Camp explains:

The Oasis is more expensive than two Kindle Paperwhites—but it’s an absolute joy to use. The 2019 version has 25 LED lights to make its screen glow evenly (double the previous version), and you can adjust it to give off a more pleasant, warm orange glow.

Lightweight, waterproof, and Bluetooth, the Kindle Oasis offers the same basics of the Paperwhite, but on a more extreme scale. The price of the Kindle Oasis stumps many individuals because they do not understand how a Kindle could be worth this nearly $300 price point. While Kindle Oasis is admittedly expensive, it offers the highest quality experience for e-reader lovers. 

Just like the Kindle Paperwhite, there is no headphone-jack available with the Oasis, but the device does include Bluetooth. 

Consumer Reviews

According to the Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review by Samuel Gibbs, “Amazon’s most expensive, luxury e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, has taken a leaf out of the modern smartphone’s book for 2019 with a colour adjustable light that gets warmer as the sun sets.” 

David Phelan, a Forbes Consumer Tech writer, says:

Although I’d still maintain that nothing compares to a real book, this is the best e-book reader in terms of reading, for sure. Amazon has worked to improve parts of the software, so it’s much harder to lose your place than before.

As far as price goes, Courtney Jespersen says “if you treat your e-reader like a tablet, go for the Oasis.”

Advantages of Oasis

  • Price: $289.99
  • Big and Sharp Displays
  • Page-turn Buttons
  • Longest Battery Life
  • Most Lightweight Edition
  • More built-in LED Lights

Reading Material Available for Download

  • Kindle unlimited book
  • Audiobooks
  • Magazines
  • Comics
  • Amazon Prime Readings

While these new and improved e-readers may not look so different from their predecessors, the internal improvements are what keep users coming back for more.  With must-have devices like the Paperwhite and Oasis, it is clear why consumers flock to Amazon for their e-reader needs. 

The Magic of Web Comics

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Web comics are a wonderful example of how digital publishing can reach beyond just delivering black-and-white text to readers and exemplifies the digital realm’s near-limitless possibilities. While web comics started out as an obscure moon orbiting the planet of digital publishing, content creators have since colonized it into a little world of their own.

Web Comic History

Modern web comics predate the world wide web. Eric Monster Millikin, a pioneer internet artist and social activist, laid claim to the first web comic: a parody of the Wizard of Oz called “Witches in Stitches” that he self-published on a CompuServe server in 1985. However, Hanz Bjordahl’s Where the Buffalo Roam was the first thing resembling what we would call a web comic today.

The world’s love for comics created a desire to share them in any way possible. The creation of the internet – the ultimate sharing tool – caused the slow trickle of comics to become a flood. David Farley’s gag strip, Doctor Fun, was the first regularly updated internet comic with its own website in 1993.  

In The Verge Cat Ferguson said,  “…in those early days, webcomics were some of the most influential pieces of the early-ish internet — vibrant and weird. They formed followings, which became communities, which became culture.” Internet comics became their own culture and have helped shape the world of internet humor, as well as art, to this day.

Like video games, message boards, and social media, web comics have become a cornerstone of the internet.

Web Comics, a New Frontier

Garrity mentions that web comic authors “began to colonize [the internet] with comics, mostly black-and-white, newspaper-style strips.” However, digital screens are capable of more than mimicking paper. 

A web comic’s real magic lies in the things that cannot be done in traditional print. Garrity notes an important moment in 1995 that would alter the course of web comic history: 

Well do I remember sitting in front of my uncle’s modem-enabled computer in 1995, waiting half an hour for each page of Charley Parker’s full-color, animation-embedded, visually experimental Argon Zark! to load. Story-wise, Argon Zark! is geeky simplicity itself… But Parker was playing with flashy and imaginative visual ideas when most webcartoonists were still drawing basic art with BASIC gags. 

Web comics boomed in the late ‘90s as pioneering artists began to explore the medium. 

How Web Comics Direct Our Gaze

With traditional print comics, and even simply drawn web comics, there is nothing stopping the readers from looking at the “wrong” spot in the comic. Sure, authors can draw your gaze; but with digital screens, artists can direct your gaze.

The Team Fortress 2 web comic is an excellent example of how a comic can direct a reader’s gaze. When readers open up the first panel of a comic it seems simplistic; the art is bare, and maybe only half of the digital panel is filled. A simple command along the bottom of the screen changes the game: “Click image or use space bar to advance.”

The TF comics only display what the authors want the reader to see at any given point. Clicking reveals extra panels on some pages of the comic. The comic also allows writers to present real-time modifications of what is already in a given panel at any time; one character’s expression may change, or a new drawing may supersede the current panel. Furthermore, an entirely new drawing may overlay what was already on the screen. 

The author never has to fear that a reader will be confused by the arrangement of panels on a page if the grids themselves appear in the correct order. Timing is an important aspect of comedy, and Team Fortress comics strive for a lot of humor. Punchlines in a web comic retain the power to surprise an audience much more reliably than a print comic. 

Many web comics also insert animations within their panels to great effect. An excellent example is the Mr. Lovenstein comic, “Pushy.” Sure, an author can convey button-mashing in other ways, but the best way to convey the joke is by simply having the character within the comic mash the button repeatedly; the comic only gets funnier the more that readers watch it—which is only possible on a digital screen. 

The Shapes and Sizes of Web Comics

Web comics are not bound by traditional size constraints required of print comics. Traditional comics require strips to fit into certain sizes and shapes that xkcd consistently resists. The comic, “I’m Sorry,” has a completely different shape than “How Old,” which has a completely different form than “Earth Orbital Diagram.” Randall Munroe is confined only by his imagination when it comes to the size and shape of his comic. 

LINE Webtoon is another popular website, and application, for reading web comics that approaches the shaping of comics from an interesting angle. What Webtoon offers is the equivalent of selling comics as scrolls since grids in comics confuse readers all the time. Panels run vertically, and readers progress through the comics by scrolling from the top to the bottom of comic pages. In an article from Medium, Webtoon explains that: 

The transition from flipping through pages to scrolling down a monitor screen has given more freedom to readers in terms of story tempo and flow. Absence of grid freed the genre of cartoon from the limitations of layout and gave authors more space to experiment with each panel. 

Authors can extend the comic-reading experience and add tension to comics; tempo and flow become tools of the trade on Webtoon rather than the liabilities of more traditional formats.  

Web Comics Allow Reader Interaction

Users have a unique amount of interaction with authors that is impossible in print publications. An excellent example is SrGrafo who comments on Reddit posts with quickly drawn comics that act as jokes or puns on the subject at hand.

Another example of user interaction is Existential Comics, a strip thatalways has specific and obscure references to philosophers. At the end of each comic there are links to information about the philosophers that streamline the process of learning what the joke means for readers not philosophically inclined. 

Cyanide and Happiness takes a fun spin on things and has a section on its website called “Random Comic Generator” that is based on their physical card game Joking Hazard, but allows for a heightened level of interactivity. The generator is a work of art by an author in comic format; a huge part of why it is art is the quick and simple user interaction. A button takes up significantly less space than Joking Hazard and its expansions. 

Web comics helped create the internet culture that we have today. They have taken comics and removed many of the traditional constraints associated with the medium. Digital Publishing allows authors to experiment with timing, tension, animation, and even direct citations in ways that traditional print comics only dream about. 

The Aesthetics of E-book Publication

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When writing an e-book, one of the biggest considerations concerning the aesthetics of the publication is that of profit. Knowing the market is important for the publication of any work -physical or electronic – but the e-book market has special considerations, including whether the length of the work effects its earnings. Overall, while shorter e-books sell the best, it is the content of the work itself that really makes a difference in e-book sales.

Length, Genre, and the E-book Market

Every genre has a different average number of pages per book. The word count depends on what the author wants to achieve with their work. The author has to both consider their audience – some audiences prefer longer books with extensive details, while others enjoy books with simple, easy to follow plotlines – and examine how much content they have to write about. According to Catia Shattuck (Links to an external site.), writer for Book Cave (Links to an external site.), “The average nonfiction [print] book is about 50,000 to 75,000 words, which is about 153 to 230 ebook pages. A minimum [word] count for a nonfiction ebook is about 10,000 words, as long as the content is solid.”

Meanwhile, works of fiction average “about 80,000 to 100,000 words, which is about 246 to 307 ebook pages.”  The shortest of all the book genres is fiction novellas. Shattuck says that “fiction novellas are usually 32,000 to 55,000 words, which is 100 to 170 ebook pages. Short stories are even shorter (of course), but are often 99 cents or free because readers will feel cheated otherwise.”

I have personally felt that I can read e-books much quicker than I can read physical print books – though this may be because e-books tend to be shorter.  Derek Haines (Links to an external site.), writer for Just Publishing Advice, said “By chance, I was looking at the Amazon Kindle Store and clicked on an ebook listed in the top twenty bestsellers. I scanned down the book’s details and was surprised to note that the ebook was listed as being only 105 pages in length.” (105 pages is about the length of an average fiction novella.)

Shorter e-books tend to sell better because of the nature of e-books. People carry their e-readers with them almost everywhere they go, and can quickly take them out in the airport, coffee shop, wine bar, and doctor office waiting room. Haines writes,

All of these situations though are prone to interruption, unlike reading a long work of speculative fiction while in bed or lazing on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon. In these situations, light, short reads would make sense and would give a good reason as to why short ebooks are popular and sell well. Sure, there are reasons to publish long, but it appears that there is definitely a new reading market, for selling short stories. For authors, it creates new possibilities. It opens the door to write short story collections, novellas or prose fiction.

E-book Pricing

There are quite a few other factors when it comes to pricing of e-books, including the popularity of the author. A Stephen King novel is obviously going to be more popular than a Kha’Doe Crosby novel, which explains why Stephen King’s new novel is priced at $14.99 in the iBook store while a run-of-the-mill book is priced around $9.99.

Even though popularity plays a big part in pricing, length is still a major consideration. Most customers will feel ripped off if they were forced to pay $15 for an e-book that is only 32 pages. Fiction books prices tend to vary from author to author – at the moment the average price is $9.99.

Non-fiction books can be slightly more expensive than other genres. “Nonfiction ebooks are often shorter than fiction, and yet are generally more expensive,” Shattuck writes. “This is because they require more research and fact-checking and can become valuable resources to readers.”

Overall, when writing a manuscript for an e-book it’s important for writers to remember not to let a designated word count get in the way of their content. Rather than obsessing over the length of a work, writers should look at whether their manuscript has a detailed and cohesive plot, interesting characters, and an introduction and ending that keep readers hooked and looking for more. Though the aesthetic and physical factors of the novel shouldn’t be ignored, ultimately, it’s the content that will sell the e-book to audiences looking for their next literary journey. 

The Reality of Royalties

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Royalty Fees and Writers

As an aspiring writer in the world of digital publishing, you may be wondering how royalty fees relate to your livelihood. Simple: royalties are how you get paid. According to The Bindery article “Royalties: How Do Publishers Pay Authors (Links to an external site.),” there are different types of royalties, the primary type being royalties known as a “list royalty” or a “retail royalty.”

Most publishers in general categories, especially New York publishers, pay authors royalties as a percentage of the retail price of the book, which is an example of list and retail royalties. However, there are many publishers who pay authors “royalties on net sales,” which means that they pay authors their royalty percentage after the discounts the publishers give to retail stores are figured in.

Side note: publishers sell books to bookstores for a range of discounts, sometimes up to half off the cover price or more.

What is a “Royalty”?

A royalty is defined by Investopedia as (Links to an external site.) “a legally-binding payment made to an individual, for the ongoing use of his or her originally-created assets, including copyrighted works, franchises, and natural resources.”

Royalties are written into contracts for musicians, artists, writers, and any other creator whose work is used by another source as a way of compensating the artist for their work.

Royalty payments comprise “a percentage of the gross or net revenues obtained from using the owner’s property.” In order to decide on these payments, a third party and a creator will lay out a “license agreement,” along with the limitations of the royalty, “such as its geographic limitations, the duration of the agreement, and the type of products with particular royalty cuts.”

According to The Balance Small Business (Links to an external site.),

There are a number of ways that franchisors establish what their ongoing royalty fee will be. The most common is a percentage of the Gross Sales that the franchisee earns. Typically this ranges from between five and nine percent. So, essentially, the franchisee is taking in 91-95% of their gross sales with the rest going to the franchisor.

This means that royalty fees are completely up to the franchisor’s discretion, depending on how high or low they wish to make it (although, typically, it’s less than 10%). To summarize, whenever a creator’s work is being used by the franchisors, like a song playing in the background of a commercial, the creator will be paid a set percentage of the income the franchisor makes from said advertisement (decided upon in a license agreement).

The payment of a royalty comes in the form of a “royalty check” – a check a creator gets for the use of their work. As RSG Media (Links to an external site.) states,

When you write a book, royalty check is the royalties earned from sale of every copy. When you compose a song, royalty is when someone performs it professionally or purchases your CD. You can also earn royalty from your land or property, if someone purchases your mineral rights. The amount of gas or oil produced will provide you a royalty. You can earn royalty checks annually, half-yearly or quarterly, depending upon the royalty agreement.

Royalty vs. License

Here’s where the importance of reading your contract comes into play as some confusion can occur concerning the difference between royalties and licenses. A license is defined by RSG Media (Links to an external site.) as “an agreement between two parties for using someone’s property without paying any money for it.” Whereas a royalty insinuates a payment for the use of the creator’s work, a license allows the third party to use the work without having to actually pay anything for it.

Licenses have what’s known as a licensing fee, which is “an amount of money paid by an individual or business to the licensor, which is mostly government, for enjoying the privilege of being licensed to use someone else property” for a set period of time.

The Licensor receives a perpetual/time bound payment as a percentage of sales in regards for using the intellectual property. You can take for example – an earning from copyright, patent on new products, and consumer product licensing more.

Royalties and licenses are members of same family; these terms are just two faces of same coin.

Know Your Contract

With any kind of contract, there is room for suspicious activity. When one party ignores the contract and goes outside the bounds of the licensing agreement, it’s up to the other party to decide whether to stay with the agreement and risk another breach of contract or terminate the license agreement altogether.

One such case involving a breach of a license agreement involves a toy creator and a line of baby toys. According to Markowitz Herbold PC (Links to an external site.),

A toy inventor sold his entire line of baby toy products to a large toy company in exchange for royalties on the future sales of his products.  The royalty agreement, which spanned many years, contained separate royalty rates for different categories of toys, including a rate for toys that had already been commercialized by the inventor (“original toys”), and another rate for toys that were “derived from” these original toys.   

Though the company paid royalty fees for the sales of a multitude of toys, the toy maker stated that it “misclassified toys” to keep from paying more fees. The toy maker then had to decide whether to sue for the previous grievances or terminate the contract entirely and try to get payment for the remainder of the agreement.

In the end, the toy maker ended the license agreement and “sued to recover the future royalties that he would have earned under the royalty agreement if the toy company had not breached the agreement.”

It is always important to understand the terms of ending a licensing agreement.

If the terminating party revokes the licensee’s right to use its intellectual property, the licensee may have to pull products off shelves.  If the licensor’s initial termination was not justified, the licensor may be held responsible for the licensee’s damages. In the inventor’s case, the toy company counter-sued for breach of contract, in part based on what it claimed was the inventor’s improper termination of the contract.

The result of early termination is usually laid out in the license agreement as a “royalty agreement’s termination provision standards.”

As a new writer, it can be intimidating trying to understand contracts saturated in unfamiliar legal jargon, especially when your focus is sharing your work with the world. However, understanding the contract is of the highest importance when making sure you are getting your full rights as a creator.

The biggest lesson a writer can gain from this article is to find a good editor/manager to help and ALWAYS READ YOUR CONTRACT. Then, maybe you can one day watch Jon Snow quote your poem in a car commercial or hear your song playing in the aisles of Target as you buy caramel popcorn.

With a proper understanding of your contract and the ability to write something worth selling, the world is at your fingertips and the royalties will be in your pocket.

Multilingualism in the Digital Market

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Digital publishing offers authors access to far-off audiences, but fostering an effective international presence takes precedent once an author crosses that bridge. Many publishers implement multilingual translations to gain new clients and establish a global identity. Engaging people across the globe requires the publisher to speak their language.

Publishers diversify content with technology by “identifying and defining which aspects, desires and interests conform to your target customers,” State of Digital Publishing claims. Information drives the digital market. Promoting catered content guarantees the intended audience’s interest.

Why Multilingualism is Important

Providing e-books and other digital content in the native tongue, and on culturally relevant topics, ensures a natural, intimate relationship between audience and author. Multilingual editions not only promote access for communities often overlooked but also create authentic connections with a multicultural audience.

ThoughtCo defines multilingualism as “the ability of an individual speaker or a community of speakers to communicate effectively in three or more languages.” Experts debate this definition, though. Various factors, such as a person’s environment, can change what defines multilingualism in a society.

In an official capacity, programs such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) require multilingualism. According to the WHO website, “Multilingual communication bridges gaps and fosters understanding between people.”

Marianne Kay pushes for multilingualism in the publishing world saying:

At the end of the day, it’s companies that put the multilingual requirement at the heart of their strategy that reach the widest global audience. Google’s search page is available in more than 100 languages, Wikipedia has more than 300 language editions, and the most translated website in the world is Jehovah’s Witnesses (, with extraordinary linguistic diversity of more than 900 languages and dialects. If you want to engage with people around the world, you need to speak their language. There is no shortcut.

Both the UN and WHO sites publish in six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Fostering functional relationships with other nations, an essential resource, dictates the publishing language. As a result, the “decisions on what content to publish in which language(s) are made based on an analysis of the target audience needs,” WHO explains.

Organizations such as Multilingual Matters Publishers, Worldreader, and Mantra Lingua also tap into the multilingual demographic. Each brand tailors e-books and textbooks to the language needs in classrooms and communities around the world.

How Publishers Become Multilingual

According to Yousef Elbes, writer of “Why Multilingual Communication is Important,” “Language is still the main instrument used to convey ideas and to communicate messages.” Translators use the mother tongue of an audience to tailor the language of the content to consumers who, in turn, become devoted clients due to the accessibility and security of reading literature in their language.

Translators help authors and publishers access a multicultural environment. Effective translators ensure publishers portray an accurately represented message to their audience and maintain a professional image. Translators provide multiple translations to ensure as many languages as possible are accessible to the audience.

What Multilingualism Means for Translators

Multilingualism breaks down into three categories. According to Kay, author of “Changing the World Wide Web, One Language at a Time,” dividing Multilingualism into three broad categories “doesn’t reduce the amount of work involved, but it creates structure and emphasizes the need for a range of skills required for successful delivery.”

Global content refers to languages translated for different regions; regional content, specific, regional areas or items, such as currency; local content, a local setting. Digital publishers must pick the best translators to guarantee the message will be well-received.

Multilingualism in a Truly Digital Environment

ThoughtCo’s Richard Nordquist stretches the idea of multilingualism even further. “As computers communicate with humans—and with each other—the meaning of language may soon change.” He continues saying,

Language will still always be what makes us human, but it may also become the tool that allows machines to communicate, express needs and wants, issue directives, create, and produce through their own tongue. Language, would then, become something that was initially produced by humans but then evolves to a new system of communication—one that has little or no connection to human beings.

Though Nordquist describes a science fiction future, the relationship he portrays illustrates the transaction between users that occurs when the industry offers true accessibility. When full multilingualism enters the digital environment, the audience constraints placed on publishers disappear.

Multilingualism serves as an excellent tool for reaching multicultural audiences in the digital world. As the digital publishing market rapidly develops, more and more publishers are partnering with translators. International expansion determines the content relevancy for both audience and publisher. Refusing to engage in Multilingualism might mean failure for publishers.

Top Digital Publishing Trends from FIPP Insider Paris

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FIPP (International Federation of Periodical Publishers) held its highly anticipated conference in Paris on October 1st. Notable members of FIPP include National Geographic, Business Insider, Marie Claire, and Buzzfeed. Networking and digital publishing experts from around the globe attended the event to discuss the top trends in data journalism and the future of digital media: 

This exciting initiative from FIPP combines a select group of world-class speakers from the local region and across the globe, sharing their knowledge and insight. Delegates will have plenty of opportunities to network with their peers across the media industry.

FIPP puts on more than ten international events each year called FIPP Insider. During these conferences, media leaders are encouraged to come together to build marketing techniques and pursue partnerships that will better improve the publishing industry. At this year’s Paris’ conference, James Hewes, President and CEO of FIPP outlined some of the top industry trends impacting the publishing industry in 2019.

Platform-Focused Content & Why Print Matters

Hewes reminded publishers that the rise of digital platforms is highly notable. To keep up with GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), publishers are cautioned not to rely solely on the success of these leading platforms. They need to focus on the needs of consumers and the relevant content created within the most reliable frameworks.

With expanding video content, podcasts, and the preponderance of online media, some media users have turned back to print. Rebekah Billingsley of John Brown Media says , “In a world of fake news and uncertainty, print brands feels like a tangible trustworthiness.” Tapping into the tactile nature of print creates a nostalgic feel with consumers that proves to be a useful marketing tool.  Reverse publishing is a tool that publishers use to adapt to specific online content for a print resource. 

John Watkins , a content marketer and media consultant for FIPP, focused on the digital age and benefits of reverse publishing. In his FIPP Insider presentation , “The Future of Media: How digital-to-print revenue models continue to shape the industry” Watkins noted:

Some traditional digital-first brands have gone as far as to launch a new print offering for a specific audience, filling that print product with repurposed content originally created for digital channels.

In 2013,  Allrecipes made one of the first major web-to-print moves by announcing the launch of a print edition of their online magazine. Later, the company integrated SmartCode technology  within its printed versions. Readers can use their smartphones and print copies interchangeably to access information from Allrecipes. Jennifer Darling , editor-in-chief of Allrecipes, explains the introduction of QR-code SmartCode technology:

Whether it’s launching the first Skills on Amazon Alexa devices or blurring the lines between print and digital and audio with this latest SmartCode issue takeover, we’re reaching home cooks everywhere and are helping them connect with us across channels in fun, informative ways.

The State of Advertising

Hewes proposed that companies pay particular attention to content and trust in their advertising strategy to provide a better consumer experience on a website. Bernard Glock, senior VP of MediaLink, encourages companies  to “focus on the areas which have been proven in the last one or two years to help publishers and advertisers to grow their business, namely data proficiency, partnerships, and trust.”

Just last week, the two largest chumbox providers, Taboola and Outbrain, merged under the Taboola name. Together, their expected annual gross revenue will be more than $2 billion. Outbrain’s former marketing chief, Eric Hadley, told The New York Times , “This is clearly working, somehow. You may laugh at these ads, but people click on them.”

This method may be effective in the short term results, but it lacks a personal connection between the publisher and consumer. Other companies have even included ad-blocking technologies to protect the integrity of their content and relationship. This relationship expands its audience’s desire to be loyal to relevant and specific advertisers within the publisher’s content.

The Importance of Artificial Intelligence

Hewes explained that publishers should research the potential benefits of utilizing an AI strategy on their websites. Organizations that adopt the approach are expected to see exponential revenue growth within the next five years. Margaret Ann Dowling explains,

The heavy lifting of duplication and generic content creation can be automated, leaving more time for creative writing and effective storytelling. 

The use of integrated AI reflects the continual progression of the digital publishing industry.

While Hewes encourages publishers to assimilate AI into their work, he cautions the reliance on these powerful data strategies before understanding the impacts, both positive and negative, of implementing these technologies. In her article, “I, Robot Author, ” Myia FitzGerald writes, “AI can be incorporated more into the writing and publishing world, but only at the writer and publisher’s discretion.”

Many companies embrace new ideas and creative partnerships to position themselves ahead of their competition. Hewes’s biggest takeaway from the Paris conference was for publishers to embrace a commitment to continuous learning 

FIPP’s dedication to keep pace with a rising media industry and help companies pursue the smartest solutions for their businesses will continue to lead and shape the future of digital publishing. 

in News | 882 Words

What is the Dark Side of Print and Digital Publishing?

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The controversial topic of print and digital publishing has been an ongoing debate for years. Both methods can be harmful to the environment due to the unawareness of the disposal process of print and digital publishing.

How Is Paper created?

Since paper’s creation, the construction process has been misunderstood. Paper is nothing more than a dried compressed mat of plant fibers. To create paper from trees, the raw wood has to turn into pulp. According to  How Do You Make Paper From a Tree, “ The more commonly used method is chemical pulping, also known as “kraft.” Chemicals are used to separate lignin from the cellulose fibers, leaving a pulp mixture that can make stronger papers.” Once the pulp is finished preparing, it is placed in a roller machine to form paper.

Steps of Papermaking  

  1. Headbox: The soggy wet mass of pulp starts off here. It could be a mixture of wood pulp and recycled paper fibers.
  2. Mesh: Sometimes called the Fourdrinier table or wire, this is where most of the water from the pulp is removed and the paper slowly starts to form.
  3. Suction boxes: While some of the water drips through the mesh, more is removed by suction boxes (a bit like box-shaped vacuum cleaners designed to suck up water).
  4. Dandy roll: This large roller puts a watermark, pattern, or texture on the paper.
  5. Felt belt: The forming paper runs over a rotating felt belt that mops away further moisture.
  6. Dryer: The paper loops back and forth over more felt rollers and heated dryers.
  7. Calenders: The rollers at the very end smooth the paper, so it’s of completely uniform thickness.
  8. Paper roll: The paper is all finished and ready to use.

Is Print Harmful?

Print publications take a significant toll on the environment. In one year, the United States produces over 2 billion books. As a result, more than 32 million trees are burning to produce printed books. One tree can conceive 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,888.3 sheets.

Sora Davidson explains,

…the print industry is also one of the main contributors to the negative state of the environment as we know it today. There are many key environmental issues caused by the print industry. These include and are not limited to: air pollution, handling and disposing of hazardous materials, waste management, and energy use.

Trees hold a significant contribution to filtering out the air and absorbing odors. The printing industry tears down the filter by having to burn the trees, which causes air pollution. As a result, about 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide is being released back into the atmosphere.

Throughout the print industry, the toxic level of materials used is at an all-time high. Materials such as ink, fountain solution, solvent, and photographic chemical waste are hazardous to the health of the environment. According to Aaliyah Madadi, writer for Resource Hub, “printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint – which includes its raw materials, paper production, printing, shipping, and disposal – in the publishing sector.”

What is Digital Publishing?

Many people would probably assume that digital publishing emerged from the World Wide Web, this assumption would be wrong. Digital publishing was actually created b on July 4, 1971, by Michael Hart when Project Gutenberg began. The meaning of Digital publishing means different things due to people’s different perspectives. According to Digital Marketing Defined , “The use of digital technology to replace written material so that it can be disseminated and accessed through computerized electronic devices.”

Examples of Digital Publishing

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Journals
  • Blogs
  • Advertisements
  • Company Reports
  • Catalogs
  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • Advertisements

Benefits of Digital Publishing

While using digital publishing, the use of toxic chemicals is reducing. This method produces with speed and better quality. Therefore, digital content can always be issued out to the world at any time. If online publishers find errors such as incorrect dates, typos, or invalid information, editing and updating the content is easily able to achieve.

Ebooks Save Millions of Trees (Links to an external site.), “ In the USA in one year, 2 billion books are produced. To get the paper for these books requires consuming 32 million trees. We can estimate that one tree yields enough paper for 62.5 books.” Digital Publishing saves energy in book productions. As a result, money and fuel can be collected from not having to produce and ship books to other states and countries.

Is Digital Really Green?

Pro-print argues that the e-waste arising from digital publishing is harmful to the environment.E-waste holds toxic materials containing heavy metals, that can soak into the ground. Eventually, the e-waste can get into groundwater supplies affecting land and sea animals.

According to Madadi

  … while the creation of digital publications eliminates the destructive component of straining environmental resources, concerns are related to the CO2 emissions that occur during the manufacturing of technological products. Studies show that it is indeed tougher on the environment to create an iPad rather than printing a book, but the paper and water saved from reading content on tablets make up for the initial CO2 emissions. 

The estimated waste stream as of 2018 is 48.5 million tons. For instance, the more individuals buying electronic equipment, the more e-waste is growing.  E-waste has become the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. The electronic industry is continuously making new technology adds to the e-waste because the lifespan of electronics is short. Electronic devices such as computer equipment, stereos, televisions, and cellphones are apart of the contribution to e-waste.