In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at the implications of Barnes and Noble's data breach, and an interesting move from Spotify.
Last weekend's #SelfPubCon contained a vast amount of information, with many groundbreaking tools for indie authors. Due to popular demand, the free day period has been extended to midnight Thurs 22nd Oct. From Friday you'll need an access pass to get to the content. Right now and for a few days post-conference passes are discounted to half-price– which makes a six-month pass just $99 and a lifetime pass just $249.Use the coupon code NTK2684 when you checkout.ALLi members have access free for the lifetime of their membership. Visit the ALLi member zone for details of how to access and use your member code.
Barnes and Noble—Just the Latest Data Breach
One of the activities that has seemingly boomed during the pandemic has been hacking. My day job is in higher education, and we have, as a sector, experienced a wave of attacks. I’m also a runner, so I’ve been very aware of the chaos caused when Garmin fell victim to ransomware and was offline for days. Last week it was the turn of publishing. (I’m sure it’s happening everywhere, not just targeting all of my interests and careers!).
On Tuesday, Nate alerted us to the fact that Barnes and Noble was down. He followed with a series of updates, which ended with a warning that account holders might like to check their banking statements. It is clear that this was an actual hack. Barnes and Noble have confirmed that customer information was put at risk. They have subsequently written to customers that financial details appear not to have been actually compromised. But there are whispers of suspicious account behaviour, so reset your passwords.
We’re not new to hacks in the author community. Any of us who are WordPress users will be constantly on our guard. Indeed, the latest mass security warning came just last month, when 700,000 sites using the FileManager plugin were potentially compromised. But this is clearly something on the rise. ALLi’s conference theme at the weekend was around top tools for authors. Many of these will be online tools. And many of those is a potential vulnerability, and something we need to keep on top of with good security hygiene. Maybe the best tool of all is something that will help us do that – suggestions in comments, please!
Library Marketing Valuation Toolkit
Overdrive’s increased availability for indies in recent years has made it easier for us to find readers in libraries. And many of us have benefited from library events. It is really encouraging to see the launch of something new from the Panorama Project to help libraries help authors even more. Their library marketing valuation toolkit is a series of tools designed to help libraries put on better author events. It contains guides to best practice as well as advice on creating value. It is particularly good to see libraries encouraged to work with bookstores to help sell speakers' books!
Spotify Continues to Edge Into our Territory
Spotify, you will remember, recently advertised for someone to head up audiobooks. As subscription platforms grow, with Audible taking tentative steps to an all you can eat model, this was a sign of a potentially seismic shift coming our way. Now Spotify is taking a further step towards the spoken word market. It has launched a tool that will enable anyone to add a vocal overlay to their playlists.
Digital Adoption and Covid
At ALLi we have spent much of the past week focusing on our own Self-publishing Advice Conference. But of course there was another big online event happening. Frankfurt took its time to move to being a wholly online event. But, with 148,000 attendees reported by Friday, from over 180 countries, it seems to have been a success. And they clearly did their best to mimic as many of the experiences of being at a live conference as possible. The most interesting question to emerge from this year, though, will be how much of this sticks? Having followed the stumbling progress of virtual reality for several years now, I will also be interested to see how many of those “conference experiences” we currently struggle to recreate might be possible in coming years now we have an incentive to try and make the most of them.
Of course, this is part of a wider question right now. People’s habits have changed with Covid. That’s included more streaming, and more use of digital in general. How much of that will become long term behaviour was the subject of Publishing Perspectives’ panel at Frankfurt. There is also some very interesting comparison of the future of paper and print in the International Publishers' Association's latest report. My take, as I’ve said many times, is that we are seeing the acceleration of existing trends, not anything radically new.
All of this makes Panorama Project's new research exercise really timely. Their Immersive Media and Reading survey will take a very deep dive into the way people's reading habits have changed. The work will be carried out in conjunction with Portland State University and the results are sure to be invaluable.Barnes and Noble's data breach, a new tool to help libraries create better events, and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy… Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months.
Society of Young Publishers, 9-13 Nov
Over to You
Let us know about online events of interest to indies in the comments below.