Tag: publishing

Introducing MKISIO

Roundabout a year ago yours truly sought out “substitute” for this blog. I desired the ability to “post” information to content consumers, much as is done with websites, except I wanted the content delivered direct. Use an email newsletter service. Voila! There are tons of those around. Easy!

That is a fact. There are plenty of email newsletter service providers already in business. Some are free, and others even allow you to charge for your newsletter. I was looking for both options, but I also wanted the ability to encrypt newsletters with OpenPGP and provide subscribers with a way to read the stuff without having a degree from MIT (i.e. install crazy complex software); I thought it would also be nice to have some protection for both myself and potential subscribers in case of a security breach. As the latter goes, nothing but NOTHING is un-hackable, so why not make the stored data completely useless to miscreants?

I simply could not get this combination of features from anything in the wild, so I built it myself (with a little help of course). It is called MKISIO.

After covering the basic requirements some additional fun stuff was added, including …

  • Optional invitation functionality – so a publisher can ensure only known peeps are subscribing to their newsletter
  • Shortlink and QR code quick subscribe widgets – for plastering on legacy blogs and social media profiles
  • Subscription clearinghouse – as new publications are started, anyone with an account can find them and subscribe (assuming they are not invitation-only)
  • A couple of aces and kings up a sleeve, guaranteeing consistent performance in Hold ‘Em

As to the why this concoction was dreamed up in the first place, well the folks over at ReclaimTheWeb have the skinny on that. It wasn’t about creating a solution for raw censorship or economic hardball a.k.a. de-platforming though; I just wanted something that could afford more privacy and security, thereby making free speech the default. Sure, if someone wants to share confidential information via a MKISIO newsletter, they most certainly can use the encryption functionality. That was part of my original wish list, if only because nobody was doing it. Call it a personal challenge, successfully tackled. But the system is also good for sharing treasured fruitcake recipes, keeping extended family up-to-date on the kiddos report cards, or castigating members of the condo association … without fear of “repercussions”.

Meanwhile, I will be writing what otherwise would get posted here, over there. You can subscribe to my newsletters by clicking this link. Alternatively, feel free to point your phone camera at the nifty QR code to the left (that is if you are not already reading this post on it).

End Note: If you’ve read all of the above technical jargon slash carefully crafted PR and are still wondering where the name came from because you thought “MKIS” stood for Marketing Information Systems (you are correct), just read this (warning: it’s silly, but almost the truth). Finally, don’t forget that the beast is still work-in-progress, so if you decide to play and find a problem please feel free to let me know.

MG signing off (to blog via email for a while)

Something Thoreau wrote on April 16, 1852

“How many there are who advise you to print! How few who advise you to lead a more interior life! In the one case there is all the world to advise you, in the other there is none to advise you but yourself. Nobody ever advised me not to print but myself. The public persuade the author to print, as the meadow invites the brook to fall into it. Only he can be trusted with gifts who can present a face of bronze to expectations.1

Does the advent of self-publishing – electronic books, blogging, social media – make striking the balance more elusive, or easier to segregate?

MG signing off (to push another publish button, subject matter notwithstanding)

1 [At the time, Walden was ready for printing but Thoreau did not yet have a publisher]

A new game for publishers, portability plus price

“Ezines”, those nifty flip-the-page websites, are sprouting up like weeds, particularly in the fly-fishing world. Some are vying for easy distribution, while others hang on the green bandwagon while manipulating InDesign files from treehouses. Regardless of intent, various pundits have called it the death of print, while publishers declare the insanity of such thoughts. Further, if you keep a close eye on new media chatter, you might also find that some traditional publishers have simply regurgitated their print editions in mobile applications. Such investments far exceed that of ezines, hence the problems publishers may be having finding a price that both suits consumers and provides for a recovery of their investment. Whether it be Flash-based open source scripts or flashy looking tablets, however, it’s the general availability of new technology that is the genesis of the efforts.

You could argue the relative merits of these channels until the cows come home, and frankly I enjoy observing all the banter for and against. Nevertheless, I think it comes down to just two factors, portability and price. The first is all about convenience – whether you can consume it anywhere you want, whenever you want. Then there’s how much you want to pay for it. The problem for publishers is individual preference, and adapting to changes in those preferences.

For example, I’ve always been a disposable content fan. I bought and read a lot of magazines, but did so mostly when I was doing a lot of business travel. Periodicals alleviated in-transit boredom, and the investment was always small enough that I didn’t mind tossing them in the trash before heading home. Same goes for books – unless they were reference materials I bought paperbacks whenever possible. When rich websites arrived, I found myself consuming more timely content via that channel – pulp took a back seat.

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The cost of publishing on the Kindle

A group I’m a part of is in the process of assembling a publication directed straight to Kindle, so I found this analysis timely…

The amount of revenue each publisher earns for their Kindle newspaper/magazine is calculated thus:

(Price – delivery costs) x 70%

“Delivery costs?” I hear you cry. This is the wonderful world of electronic publishing: Amazon hasn’t got an army of paperboys popping the newspapers through letterboxes each morning.

It does, however, pay for “free” 3G connections in the souped-up version of the Kindle, and someone has to pay for that data. And that someone is largely (70%) the publishers, particularly those who want to include anything other than plain text in their periodicals.

I’m not sure how applicable it is, as 1) we’re not doing a periodical, and therefore 2) not going to worry much about images. But it deserves revisiting my own analysis of the matter.

Shuffling for different reasons

Adobe and BellSouth are each laying off a whole bunch of people, but for different reasons. In the first case, it is about managing new technologies (and keeping it in sync with the old); in the latter it is about not managing old technology (and separating it from the new). Both serve their purpose.
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