Joe Wikert

Joe Wikert

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

  • @

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.

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Joe blogs at:

The agency model’s impact on ebook pricing

August 10 2012

The agency model has played a key role in ebook pricing models, and the DOJ’s recent ruling has generated a large number of responses from the community. One of the more interesting ones was from Simon Lipskar, President of the … read more

Data-driven publishing is the future

August 09 2012

As our industry shifts from print to ebooks we’re discovering a wealth of new data to study. Retailers hold most of the cards for this data, but a startup named Hiptype is looking to change that. In the interview below, … read more

Where are the apps for ereaders?

August 07 2012

I read on my GlowLight NOOK much more frequently than I read on my Asus Transformer tablet. I’d say there’s at least a 10:1 differential, so for every hour I read on my tablet I read at least 10 hours … read more

The agency model’s impact on ebook pricing

August 06 2012

The agency model has played a key role in ebook pricing models, and the DOJ’s recent ruling has generated a large number of responses from the community. One of the more interesting ones was from Simon Lipskar, President of the … read more

New life for used ebooks

July 31 2012

This post originally appeared on Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog (“The Used Ebook Opportunity“). This version has been lightly edited. I’ve got quite a few ebooks in two different accounts that I’ve read and will never read again. I’ll bet … read more

The value of free

July 25 2012

In this TOC podcast, Wattpad CEO & co-founder Allen Lau explains the free content foundation of his company. read more

Pricing lessons learned from a publishing startup

July 13 2012

In this TOC podcast, Demibooks CEO and co-founder Rafiq Ahmed talks about challenges in the ebook tools space and how his startup is handling pricing. read more

Amazon as friend and foe

July 03 2012

In this TOC podcast, Greenleaf Book Group founder and CEO Clint Greenleaf shares a unique perspective on working with and competing against Amazon. He also addresses the DOJ lawsuit and offers thoughts on the future of ereaders. read more

Direct sales should be a publisher priority

June 27 2012

In this TOC podcast, Logos Bible Software president & CEO Bob Pritchett talks about the importance of customer engagement, building direct sales channels, and how to beat Amazon. read more

"Lightweight" DRM isn't the answer

June 27 2012

In this open letter to the IDPF's Executive Director, Bill McCoy, O'Reilly GM & Publisher Joe Wikert explains why a DRM-free approach is far better than any "lightweight" DRM option. read more

Depth and immersion give static print images new digital life

June 21 2012

In this TOC podcast, medical illustrator Laura Maaske talks about creating digital imagery, the move from print to digital, and how publishers need to adjust their thinking. read more

Amazon, ebooks and advertising

May 29 2012

Amazon already sells ads on the Kindle. Joe Wikert explains why ad-supported ebooks are a logical next step for the company. read more

Social reading should focus on common interests rather than friend status

May 21 2012

In this TOC podcast, we hear from ReadSocial co-founder Travis Alber on why they're building their platform without tying it to your social graph. read more

Why I can't shake my ereader

May 14 2012

Ereaders are now commodities — improvements are incremental at best — but the fundamental qualities of these devices still make them compelling. read more

The reinvention of the bookseller

May 10 2012

Once booksellers accept the reality they can no longer just sell books, they can begin evolving into something dynamic and unique. read more

B&N and Microsoft: The potential beyond digital

May 04 2012

Joe Wikert: Microsoft should use its investment in B&N's digital business to create an end-to-end consumer experience that rivals Apple's. read more

Join us in celebrating International Day Against DRM

May 04 2012

A DRM-free world is one where retailers will find it much harder to create a monopolistic position that locks you into their device or format. read more

What if ebook DRM goes away tomorrow?

April 27 2012

Abandoning DRM won't change the publishing landscape unless B&N, Kobo and others force the issue through innovative devices and apps. In fact, Joe Wikert says that same innovation can occur with or without DRM — so why wait? read more

As transmedia publishing evolves, experimentation is the name of the game

April 25 2012

In this TOC podcast, Verane Pick talks about her work at Counter Intelligence Media. She also talks about gaming mechanisms and hints that gaming techniques may become an "engagement silo" in a future project. read more

The sorry state of ebook samples, and four ways to improve them

April 13 2012

Joe Wikert: "My gut tells me the revenue missed by not converting samples into sales is a much larger figure than the revenue lost to piracy. And yet, the publishing industry spends a small fortune every year in DRM but treats samples as an afterthought." read more

Books should be as easy to create as websites

April 02 2012

In this TOC podcast, PressBooks founder Hugh McGuire talks about the current state and future plans for this new book production platform PressBooks. read more

Context matters: Search can't replace a high-quality index

March 28 2012

In this TOC podcast interview, BIM Publishing Services CEO Kevin Broccoli talks about how indexes can and should evolve in the digital world. He says dynamic, linked indexes can be used as cross-selling tools and that index mashups are the way of the future. read more

The vision behind Yahoo's Cocktails platform and Livestand app

March 26 2012

In this TOC podcast, Yahoo architect fellow and VP Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz shares Yahoo's vision of the Cocktails platform and Livestand project. He also says Mojito, a component of Cocktails, soon will be open sourced. read more

Direct sales uncover hidden trends for publishers

March 22 2012

A recent O'Reilly customer survey revealed unusual results (e.g. laptops/desktops remain popular ereading devices). These sorts of insights are made possible by O'Reilly's direct sales channel. read more

No more book app sifting: PlayTales designed its bookstore within an app

March 21 2012

In this TOC podcast, Anna Abraham, marketing and PR manager at PlayTales, talks about what makes PlayTales unique and describes how they've embraced the opportunities in children's ebook publishing. read more

The state of ebook pricing

March 14 2012

Joe Wikert looks at the agency model, efficiencies, fixed pricing and other major trends that will drive ebook pricing in the months ahead. read more seeks to set ebooks free

March 05 2012

In this TOC podcast, Gluejar president Eric Hellman talks about how the platform can be used for ebook distribution. read more

Customized self-publishing is the future of textbooks

February 29 2012

In this TOC podcast, John Conley, vice president of publishing and commercial print at Xerox, talks about the textbook market today and what's coming down the road. read more

Story first, interactivity second

February 27 2012

In this TOC podcast, Persian Cat Press creative director Jos Carlyle talks about the company's new book, "The Gift," and what goes into building a successful children's book app. read more

It's time for a unified ebook format and the end of DRM

February 09 2012

The music industry has shown that you need to offer consumers a universal format and content without rights restrictions. So when will publishers pay attention? read more

Tip for B&N: Don't just follow Amazon

February 08 2012

Amazon is the clear market leader, but that doesn't mean everyone else should throw in the towel. In this podcast, Joseph Esposito, president of Portable CEO consulting, discusses the current publishing market and how B&N can best compete. read more

Tools of Change for Publishing Newsletter: February 1, 2012

February 02 2012

Highlights from the 2/1/12 edition of the TOC newsletter include: TOC chairs Kat Meyer and Joe Wikert on what to watch for at the upcoming Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. read more

Why the fuss about iBooks Author?

January 26 2012

Apple doesn't have an objective to move the publishing industry forward. With iBooks Author, the company sees an opportunity to reinvent this industry within its own closed ecosystem. read more

Coming soon to a location near you: The Amazon Store?

January 25 2012

In this podcast, Weblogs, Inc., co-founder Jason Calacanis shares his thoughts on Amazon's market presence and what the future might hold. He says an Amazon retail presence isn't out of the question and that AmazonBasics is a preview of what's to come. read more

Children's ebooks and apps are big business on the iPad

January 23 2012

In this TOC podcast, Neal Hoskins, founder of WingedChariot, talks about challenges and opportunities in children's ebooks, including issues with screen sizes and making the development choice between EPUB or app. Hoskins also predicts three front runners vying for the future of this market (hint: Amazon isn't one of them). read more

Kindle Fire: Three pros, five cons

January 20 2012

Joe Wikert says the Kindle Fire gets good marks for form factor and meeting basic consumer needs, but its lock in, auto updates and lack of a killer app are detriments. read more

The art of marrying content with mobile apps

January 16 2012

In this TOC Podcast, KiwiTech founder and CTO Gurvinder Batra talks about how his company masters the challenges of developing apps for the publishing industry. He also says native apps are a better option than EPUB. read more

Tools of Change for Publishing Newsletter: January 11, 2012

January 12 2012

We take a look at the five things that shaped publishing in 2011 (many of which will shape the industry in 2012 as well). Plus, how service and ease of use can trump piracy. read more

A venture into self-publishing

January 09 2012

Scott Berkun turned to self-publishing with his latest book, "Mindfire." In this TOC podcast, Berkun discusses the experience and says the biggest surprise was the required PR effort. He also says traditional and self-publishing don't need to be polarized options, for authors or for publishers and editors. read more

Traditional vs self-publishing: Neither is the perfect solution

January 05 2012

In this video podcast, author Dan Gillmor talks about the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. read more

Social is an integral part of tomorrow's reading experience

January 03 2012

In this audio podcast, mobNotate's Ricky Wong and Sean Gerrish talk about how mobNotate connects readers and content, why a social reading environment works, and what such an environment looks like. read more

Keeping Safari Books on top

November 28 2011

Safari Books Online CEO Andrew Savikas talks about Safari Books' success and how it's incorporating mobile technologies into its business model. read more

Why publishers should build direct sales channels

November 23 2011

In this TOC video podcast, Allen Noren, the head of O'Reilly's online and marketing groups, addresses questions about how to succeed in the digital market, dealing with "Walmart world" deep discounts, and learning from fixed-price territories. read more

Ebook refunds and absolute satisfaction

November 23 2011

Joe Wikert says if you trust your customers with a generous ebook returns policy, they'll pay you back with loyalty and future business. read more

Exposing content via APIs

November 21 2011

APIs enable developers to work with your content like a box of Legos, building solutions you may never have dreamed of. In this TOC podcast, Fluidinfo CEO Terry Jones says the real world is "writable" and describes how APIs can offer powerful publishing solutions. read more

Publishers need broader and broader shoulders

November 16 2011

It's more challenging than ever to handle all aspects of content management internally. In this podcast, Firebrand Technologies founder and president Fran Toolan addresses a myriad of content management issues. read more

Not a self-publisher, far from a traditional publisher

November 14 2011

In this podcast, Jesse Potash, founder of Pubslush Press, talks about how his company differs from self-publishing platforms — and from Kickstarter — and how he's using it to help eradicate global illiteracy. read more

The problem with Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library

November 04 2011

For Amazon's new lending program to be mutually beneficial, the flat-fee compensation model needs to be replaced by a usage spectrum: The more a title is borrowed, the higher the fee to the publisher and author. read more

Agile content models better address audience wants and needs

October 26 2011

Agile isn't just for software developers — content developers can benefit from the agile model as well. In this podcast, Bookigee's founder and CEO Kristen McLean talks about why agile is the way to go. read more

The more you engage, the better the advice

October 24 2011

The Goodreads recommendation engine has been in development for six years. In this podcast, Patrick Brown, community manager at Goodreads, talks about that development process and how the algorithm works. read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

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.