Songbirds

Like they know the score

A condensed, two-day version of BookExpo returns to New York next week.  Pre-show events take place on Monday, when I’m attending a first-time “DIY Authors” day, and Tuesday, the new home of IDPF’s co-located Digital Book 2010 conference.

The city is bracing for an onslaught of sober assessments and sweeping generalizations. A data geek, I’m somewhat prediction-challenged, so I’ll not be jockeying for a position with the publishing future crowd.

Instead, here are four pre-show data points:

- China Mobile recently launched a mobile reading platform that it hopes will attract over 200 million users.  The provider claims that 155 million devices are now used for mobile reading, with almost half used at least once a day.  Most book consumption occurs under a subscription plan.

- In 2009, CBS and Viacom paid three people, including Sumner Redstone, who controls both companies, a total of $110 million.  News Corp paid two people (one of them named Murdoch) a total of $32.6 million.

- Amazon’s business mix now favors electronics and general merchandise.  Books and music combined (“media”) make up less than half of the company’s total sales.

- Microsoft has a rubric that measures your humor proficiency.

These may be weak signals, or not signals at all.  But if the songbirds keep singing like they know the score, one or more of these data points may prove useful.





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