Joe Wikert

Joe Wikert

General Manager & Publisher, Chair of Tools of Change (TOC) at O'Reilly Media, Inc.

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Fishers, Indiana

Joe Wikert is General Manager & Publisher as well as Chair of Tools of Change (TOC) at O'Reilly Media, Inc., where he manages the sales and editorial groups. He's the author of the Publishing 2020 blog where he's provided industry insights since 2005. Prior to joining O'Reilly Joe was Vice President and Executive Publisher at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in their P/T division. He and his wonderful wife Kelly have 3 great kids: Sarah, Craig and Hannah.

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Earned Attention: More than a stack of paper

May 01 2013

As an industry I think we’re getting weary of all the various “rich content” experiments and products floating around these days. I have to admit that most make me want to yawn and move on to the next item in … read more

LinkedIn as publisher

April 29 2013

I’m drawn to LinkedIn now more than ever before. The rate of connection requests I’ve been receiving there has also been accelerating over the past few months. Maybe it’s due to all the uncertainty of the publishing industry but I … read more

Direct sales of ebooks in multiple languages

April 24 2013

O’Reilly has long been a leader in fostering community and building a direct sales channel. This week we took the next step in enhancing the customer’s direct buying experience by offering German editions for many of our ebook titles. Take … read more

Pre-publication samples

April 23 2013

This one has been nagging at me for years and I’m amazed none of the major ebook retailers offer a solution. I’m talking about the ability to pre-order an ebook sample prior to publication. Yesterday I received a bulk email … read more

Why Paperight should be distributing your content

April 22 2013

The opening statement on Paperight’s “about” page says it all: Paperight turns any business with any printer and an Internet connection into a print-on-demand bookstore. This isn’t just about distributing content through copy shops though. Paperight helps make content available in the … read more

Author (R)evolution Day videos now available

April 16 2013

If you missed TOC’s first Author (R)evolution Day you missed a lot. Cory Doctorow kicked things off and more than 20 speakers followed with terrific presentations on marketing, audience development, choosing service providers, and my favorite topic, data. The room … read more

Why I created a Flipboard magazine

April 15 2013

Flipboard recently announced the ability for anyone to become a publisher on their platform. Within two weeks 500,000+ magazines were created. I created one of those and I’d like to tell you why. Before I do that though, let me tell … read more

Best of TOC: Thought-provoking articles from the past year

April 11 2013

It’s challenging keeping up with publishing industry news and analysis. I have way too many content feeds to monitor and I’m sure you do too. We do our best to highlight the most important developments on the TOC website but you’re forgiven … read more

Will we ever see a “Spotify for ebooks”?

April 10 2013

My music buying habits have definitely changed over the years. I’m doing a lot more streaming now and rarely buying individual tracks or albums. I use Spotify but I also started using Rdio. I’m still in the free trial period for the latter … read more

The future of educational publishing

April 09 2013

The ebook revolution started with the launch of the original Kindle back in late 2007. More than 5 years later the world is now moving away from dedicated e-readers to multifunction tablets. Despite the dramatic rise in ebook sales most … read more

Three questions for…Adam Salomone of The Harvard Common Press

April 08 2013

1. The Harvard Common Press recently announced plans to open an office in San Francisco to become more closely aligned with the food startup community. The food industry probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people … read more

Content ownership and resale

April 08 2013

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen some landmark decisions on whether you really own that content you bought and if you can resell it. First, in the Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley case we learned that it’s OK to buy low-priced print books … read more

Current state of formats and platforms

April 03 2013

Remember the old days when PDF was pretty much the only way to distribute content and those PDFs were read on computer screens? PDF still lives, of course, but now we’re also faced with offering content in mobi and EPUB … read more

Goodreads + Amazon: Winners and losers

April 01 2013

I decided to wait a few days before writing about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads. I wanted to let the dust settle before weighing in with my own opinion. Now that I’ve had some time to mull it over, here’s what I … read more

Inspired by children’s ebooks

March 27 2013

The third TOC Bologna took place this past Sunday on the eve of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It was a terrific show and closed with a session announcing the winners of the Bologna Ragazzi Awards for digital publishing. You’ll … read more

A Nate Silver book recommendation engine

March 21 2013

It’s NCAA tournament time here in the U.S. and plenty of bracketologists are turning to Nate Silver for his statistical expertise. Silver, of course, is known for his book, The Signal and the Noise, as well as predicting presidential elections and Major … read more

The Kirtsaeng ruling: What’s your opinion?

March 19 2013

Wow. I’m very surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley case. I figured it would go the other way. Here’s a nice summary of the majority opinion from the Supreme Court (you’ll find more detailed analysis here): … read more

What devices and formats do your customers prefer?

March 19 2013

Most publishers create ebooks in all formats figuring it doesn’t matter whether mobi is more important than EPUB or if the content is read on an iPad more frequently than on a mobile phone. That approach means these publishers have … read more

Reverse showrooming

March 18 2013

This past weekend a friend asked me to pick up a couple of books for them. Print books, btw, and they needed them later that day. That meant it was time to head to a local bookstore, something I’m doing … read more

Join the ebook subscription model movement

March 14 2013

The ebook revenue stream has much more potential beyond simply selling standalone titles, one by one, to customers. If you’re not already offering your content in an ebook subscription program you need to. I’m not talking about a broad program … read more

Automated ebook summaries

March 12 2013

Yesterday I wrote about the opportunity to rethink the used book in the digital world. One option I suggested is for the community to create summaries of ebooks and sell them as bundles with the original work. Now I’m thinking about how … read more

Used ebooks: Why your assumptions are wrong and the opportunity is huge

March 11 2013

Amazon has a patent and now Apple does too. I’m talking about the techniques both companies might use to let you resell your digital content. They join ReDigi, who already offers a platform to resell your digital music. Ebooks are next, of course, … read more

Moving from industry brand to household brand

March 04 2013

At last year’s BEA I heard a Big Six executive state that her company didn’t want to build a direct consumer channel because they’re totally happy with their retail partners. She said it as though the two channels are mutually … read more

What’s going on with readers today?

February 28 2013

You might recall an article a few months ago that asked the question, “What do readers want?”. It was a call for publishing types to submit questions that Goodreads could ask their members. Your questions ultimately formed the basis of the Goodreads member … read more

Why B&N should abandon hardware

February 27 2013

The ebook retailing business consists of three elements: hardware, content, and selling model. Dedicated e-readers (think eInk devices) are losing momentum to tablets. Content is mostly quick-and-dirty print-to-e conversions, or “paper under glass”, if you will. The typical selling model … read more

Beyond quick-and-dirty conversions

February 25 2013

I’m convinced some publishers think the current state of the ebook market is all they need. They’re comfortable taking their print products and making them available as ebooks. No thought is given to how the reading experience can be improved … read more

Collaborating with startups

February 19 2013

I mentioned in an article yesterday that what’s happening in the startup community is one of the key takeaways from TOC NY 2013. I’d like to drill a bit deeper into that subject and a recent report from Dosdoce helps … read more

Five key takeaways from TOC NY 2013

February 18 2013

TOC NY 2013 is a wrap and based on the feedback I’ve received so far I think it was one of our best. When Kat and I closed the event Thursday afternoon we both shared thoughts on the most important … read more

One author’s Kickstarter experience

February 01 2013

David Lang is working on a book project for O’Reilly called “Zero to Maker: A Re-Skilling Guide for New Makers”. Like some authors these days, David is using Kickstarter to get the project off the ground. I was recently introduced to … read more

Knowing when to outsource

January 24 2013

I was on a call earlier today with John Costa of Qbend. We’re putting together the final outline for the TOC NY session called Connecting to and Engaging Your Ebook Consumers. It’s a session I’m particularly excited about because it … read more

Towards a better book recommendation service

January 23 2013

The ideal content discovery service has yet to be invented. Plenty have tried but none have truly succeeded. The latest is venture is BookScout from Random House. It’s a nifty Facebook app that uses your social graph to help you … read more

Extracting value from uncertain data

January 16 2013

At TOC NY 2012 I made a point of telling attendees they need to learn the essentials of “big data.” It was still a fairly new concept then and a completely foreign one to most of the crowd. What a … read more

High-quality PDF-to-EPUB conversion

January 14 2013

How many times have you opened an ebook and noticed awkward hyphenations or other conversion errors? I still see this in the majority of the ebooks I buy and it’s clear these are the result of someone not paying attention … read more

Length and spine width in a digital-first world

January 08 2013

I’m still working through this extremely long exchange between Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky about containers and contents but one point keeps jumping out at me: We have got to get away from thinking every “book” has to be at … read more

Identifying DRM-free ebooks

January 07 2013

One of my colleagues, Edd Dumbill, asked me a simple question over the holidays that I thought I’d share with the TOC community: Is there any way to quickly tell whether an ebook on a retailer’s site is DRM-free? I’m … read more

The slippery slope of bogus reviews

January 03 2013

By now you undoubtedly read about Amazon’s decision to remove a large number of questionable book reviews. This is a problem that’s existed since the first day Amazon reviews. Most are probably from legitimate customers but quite a few are … read more

HTML5: The code to maximizing revenue

January 02 2013

Have you heard all the hype about HTML5 but you’re still not sold on it? You need to read the latest whitepaper from SPi Global. It’s called HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue and it does a terrific job explaining … read more

NY Times ebook initiative could be so much more

December 19 2012

The NY Times realized they were sitting on a mountain of valuable older content. Readers might discover it through search but why not curate and convert it into ebooks? That’s exactly what they’ve done with their TimesFiles initiative. It’s a … read more

MediaShift on the future of print and ebooks

December 17 2012

I recently got to take part in a Mediatwits podcast for the PBS franchise, MediaShift. Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali were the hosts and the panel consisted of Miral Sattar, Jason Allen Ashlock, and yours truly. The podcast focuses on … read more

Why I’m drinking from the Spundge firehoses

December 17 2012

Have you heard of Spundge? I hadn’t till recently but I’m glad Kristen McLean, co-chair of our Author (R)evolution Day, called my attention to it. Kat Meyer and I got a demo of their platform last week and we were … read more

Next Issue: Why I recommissioned my old iPad

December 13 2012

I had to take my first-gen iPad out of mothballs for this one. I’m talking about the Next Issue service and app. Like most of you I’ve let my print magazine subscriptions lapse over the past several years. I spend … read more

Ebook lending vs. ownership

December 12 2012

In an earlier article called Free and the medium vs. the message I excerpted liberally from a terrific short ebook by Joshua Gans called Information Wants to Be Shared. (Buy the ebook direct from HBR’s website, use the code ADINFO1 … read more

It’s the brand, stupid!

December 10 2012

None of the Big Six are all that interested in creating their own direct channel. They usually say “we already have retail partners…we don’t know how to sell direct and we don’t care to learn.” That’s all true but the … read more

Best publishing industry articles of 2012

December 04 2012

Earlier this year we gathered the most interesting publishing industry articles from the O’Reilly Radar site and put them in this free ebook. For 2013 we want to take it up a notch. I’m going to sift through all the … read more

The self-publishing book

November 29 2012

As we sat in Liza Daly‘s and Keith Fahlgren‘s Books in Browsers presentation many of us wondered why she was wearing an iPhone earbud and mic. Many also noticed her words were being transcribed in a tiny box in the … read more

Author and publisher relationships

November 29 2012

I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from Schilling earlier this year as they prepared a white paper called “Author and publisher relations — how publishers stay competitive in digital publishing.” You can download the free report here. As … read more

MEF Global Consumer Survey 2012

November 28 2012

MEF enables community networking and provides information on the mobile industry just like TOC does for the publishing industry. They also produce reports summarizing the state of the mobile commerce marketplace. Their latest report is called Global Consumer Survey 2012 and … read more

Introducing the TOC Affiliate Program

November 27 2012

We know you already say good things about TOC. Our community grows stronger every year, and we recognize we can’t take all the credit for that. So this year we’d like to share a little more than credit. Help us spread … read more

Authors as marketers

November 26 2012

Authors are always looking for an edge. In a world where thousands of new traditionally- and self-published books are released every month it’s hard to rise above all the noise. We’re launching Author (R)evolution Day at TOC NY in February … read more

Subcompact Publishing

November 21 2012

I’m a kitchen sink guy. When I want to improve something my first thought is to add to it, ultimately creating a product that has everything but the kitchen sink. I’m not alone. All the bloatware on our computers proves … read more

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Webcast: Why the Ebook Subscription Model Might Be Right for Your Content
April 26, 2013
The ebook revenue stream has much more potential beyond simply selling standalone titles to customers. If you're not already featuring your content in an ebook subscription program you need to.

Webcast: Digital Pricing Strategies & Lessons Learned
July 31, 2012
Logos Bible Software is one of the pioneers in digital content and pricing. Their CEO, Bob Pritchett, will share the approach Logos uses to manage e-pricing across their list.

Webcast: My eContent Wish List
December 16, 2010
Despite the recent surge in ebook sales we're still very much in the early stages of this new platform. In this webcast Joe Wikert of O'Reilly will talk about the current state of the econtent world and present more than 10 different improvements and...

Webcast: O'Reilly TOC Debate: Amazon vs. Apple
September 15, 2011
What began as a disagreement between colleagues has blossomed into the most fun you can have fighting at work: the TOC Debates. Our first debate, Amazon vs. Apple, features Joe Wikert and Kassia Krozser.

Webcast: Agency vs. Wholesale Model: Which One Is Best?
June 28, 2012
The wholesale reseller model is still widely used but Apple and others have helped popularize the agency alternative. There are pros and cons to both and it's important to understand the differences.