From Books to Software: Beware the Bogus Review

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Jan 4, 2013 1:19:00 PM

Beware the bogus review

The New York Times recently highlighted a topic that's been in debate for quite a while: bogus reviews. In this world where anyone can be a publisher or a reviewer and the loudest voice is sometimes heard over reason, my predominant thought is "caveat emptor." The story in The New York Times focuses on the situation with Amazon's book reviews. Look up any book on Amazon and then scroll down to read the vast amount of reviews. Even out-of-print books have a large number of reviews. There's the well read (?!) "hall of fame reviewer" Harriet Klausner who has more than 28,000 reviews logged on the site. Even as a self-proclaimed speed reader and former acquisitions librarian, that amount of reviews averages out to 6.5 reviews a day, everyday….for more than 12 years. With all due respect to Mrs. Klausner, I find it hard to take a review from her seriously.

Joe Wikert recently suggested an eloquent solution to this "slippery slope of bogus reviews." In yesterday's blog post he recommends that Amazon only allow reviews from customers who actually bought the book. Simple and logical. While this may mean I can no longer enjoy reviews of things like the Hutzler Banana Slicer or the BIC Crystal for Her Pen, I would prefer a fair analysis about an impending purchase rather than one contrived to falsely promote or slander.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon decides to handle this situation.

In the meantime, I think no matter the purchase---a book from Amazon, an expensive household appliance, or a major investment in enterprise software---the buyer needs to consider a few things and take the time to perform due diligence. Following are five tips I apply to validating any review and determining if the purchase is a worthy investment

  1. Does the reviewer provide a pen name?
    I'm less likely to value someone's opinion who uses the moniker idle45neato rather than Marianne Calilhanna.
  2. Is there a way to contact and engage in discussion?
    Even if I don't follow up with a reviewer, I like to see that there is the option to email or a web form where I can engage in further conversation.
  3. Does the reviewer list credentials or is she/he affiliated with a valid company/organization?
    I want to know why I should trust someone's opinion. I often use LinkedIn to research additional information like education, company affiliation, work experience, and qualifications.
  4. If the review is via a blog post, are comments allowed?
    When a blog post disables comments, I am immediately leery. One-way communication equates to a virtual shout and I can't see how that's helpful or believable.
  5. Have I talked to other people who use the product?
    For big-ticket items, I think most people seek out other opinions. Both good reviews and poor reviews are valid in my book. Understanding why someone may provide a poor review is equally important because I recognize that what's important to me may be different from what's important to someone else.
How do you vet a purchase?

Topics: book publishing, software, bogus reviews, book reviews

DocZone Book Publisher Announces Silver Sponsorship at the 2012 London Book Fair

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Apr 3, 2012 10:33:00 AM

DocZone Book Publisher | London Book Fair

Award-Winning End-to-End Automated Publishing Solution to Exhibit in The Digital Zone; Dan Dube from DocZone to Present Success Stories in the Digital Zone Theatre

DocZone Book Publisher announces its silver sponsorship at the 2012 London Book Fair at stand Y800 in The Digital Zone. The award-winning end-to-end automated cloud publishing team from RSI Content Solutions will meet with book publishers and demonstrate how their publishing clients save time by automating production processes to deliver content simultaneously to print and digital products.

DocZone Book Publisher will also be highlighted during two presentations in the Digital Zone Theatre as Dan Dube, EVP of global solutions at RSI, will showcase success stories of publishers using the system to produce multilingual print books and ebooks.

“DocZone Book Publisher continues to blaze a trail as the first fully automated ‘cloud’ solution for editing and producing both print and ebooks. We are pleased to show our latest release at the 2012 London Book Fair, where we will introduce new support for generating InDesign output from our XML-based publishing platform.” explained Dan Dube. “DocZone Book Publisher enables push-button publishing to PDF, EPUB, HTML, and InDesign. And with built-in language translation tools, it also allows publishers to reach today’s global markets by publishing to these formats in over 200 languages.”

Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our digital publishing strategists.

Topics: ebooks, DocZone Book Publisher, book publishing, ebook production

Can You Publish Your Book Content Anywhere, Anytime?

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Jan 16, 2012 4:51:00 PM

Come visit DocZone Book Publisher at stand 31 at Digital Book World Conference and Expo 2012 and learn how book and trade publishers are simultaneously publishing to print and ebook, while saving time and off-shore production costs.

Click me

Publishers are struggling with strategies to make the big switch from print-centric to digital-first book publishing. DocZone Book Publisher is the only cloud-based book publishing technology platform that can publish your digital content to print and digital formats, in any language, with the click of a button.

DocZone Book Publisher is an end-to-end publishing solution that provides:

  • online editorial tools
  • workflow
  • language translation
  • automated output to print-ready PDF, HTML, and eBook formats.

Digital Book World Conference is the only conference that offers trade publishers hard data on the state of the book business as well as actionable, proven strategies for taking immediate advantage of opportunities as they develop in today’s publishing industry.

Schedule your appointment today and see how DocZone Book Publisher can help you economically create and deliver digital content to the next generation.

Topics: content management for publishers, DocZone Book Publisher, digital publishing, book publishing

Don’t Hide Your Content in a Traditional Help System

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Sep 21, 2011 8:10:00 AM

TechProse, DocZone, Really Strategies, RSI, Webinar, Free webinar, SeptemberWhen people have questions, they turn to the Internet and search for answers. For technical publications, having content accessible is imperative. Put online help documentation on the Internet and your users can access your content.

CHMs, Robohelp, MadCap Flare, Adobe Air, Eclipse Help, and some WebWorks formats use architectures, plugins, and web services that restrict search access to the valuable content they contain. However, an HTML help system doesn’t rely on these technologies.

This is why TechProse, a consultant company specializing in technical writing, selected HTML5 and DITA, managed by DocZone.  DocZone is a SaaS XML CMS that can deliver help content to the Internet. HTML5 is designed with accessibility in mind, and DITA enables us to reap the benefits of single-sourcing and automated publishing.

By switching from FrameMaker and MadCap Flare to DITA and HTML5 help, TechProse was able to help its global international shipping customer:
•    reduce publishing costs by 15%
•    increase the quality of the user experience
•    make help topics accessible from any web-ready device

Learn more on September 28th at 1PM EST by joining us at our webinar entitled, "Don’t Hide Your Content in a Traditional Help System: A Case Study from TechProse Featuring DocZone."

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Topics: content management, Webinar, CMS for publishers, DocZone, Really Strategies, RSI, book publishing, TechProse, Free webinar, September

Really Strategies' 5th Annual RSuite User Conference

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Sep 6, 2011 4:32:00 PM

Really Strategies, RSuite CMS, RSuite, RSuite User Conference, Philadelphia, Philly, CheesesteakReally Strategies, Inc., provider of RSuite, a content management system for publishers, will host 150 publishing executives at the 5th Annual RSuite User Conference to be held October 25th 2011 at the Chemical Heritage Conference Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The RSuite User Conference is a forum for publishers who want to learn how content management is the key to building a successful digital publishing strategy. Attendees will hear case studies from some of the world's leading publishers, learning what works and what doesn't work when developing and implementing a CMS.

“We are very excited to be hosting our 5th User Conference and have presentations planned from some of the industry’s leading publishers and analysts, including Bill Trippe from Outsell and Evan Schnittman from Bloomsbury Publishing,” stated Barry Bealer, CEO and co-founder of Really Strategies.

The RSuite User Conference acknowledges the generous support of its sponsors Data Conversion Laboratory, ITC InfoTech, MarkLogic Corporation, Scope eKnowledge Center, and YuxiPacific.

Want to be a part of this greatly anticipated event?

Click me

Topics: RSuite, content management, CMS for publishers, book publishing, book publishers, conference, really strategies inc, textbook publishers

News from BEA: hires Laurence Kirshbaum as publisher

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on May 24, 2011 3:12:00 PM

Last week Amazon announced that epub format will finally be accepted for the Kindle.

This week at Book Expo America, Amazon announced that Laurence Kirshbaum, former TimeWarner c.e.o.-turned-agent, would be heading up Amazon's publishing operation in New York.

If publishers only suspected it before, this appears to be a strong indication that Amazon is gearing up to become a frontlist publisher.

According to

"The news spread swiftly around the Javits Center even though the exhibition floor was not yet open, the first day of BEA being devoted to conference sessions. What people on the publishing side are feeling—(off the record for the most part)—is worried. Publishers, already feeling squeezed, have been feeling even more so since Monday morning.

[Link to full story on Bookseller]

What's this mean for your publishing organization?

Topics: ebooks,, book publishing

Batter up, Publishers! Really Strategies will be at SSP in Boston.

Posted by Sarah Silveri on May 20, 2011 9:00:00 AM


RSuite is exhibiting at booth #34 from June 1st through the 3rd at The Society for Scholarly Publishing (#SSP)!


Schedule your time with us today and see how publishers have done the following things with RSuite:

  • reduced book production time-to-market by 8 weeks
  • automated aggregation and distribution of journal articles to licensing clients
  • Increased website traffic by more than 35%
  • and much more

Tweet about us at #SSP using the #RSuite hashtag.

Topics: RSuite, CMS for publishers, ebooks, publishing, CMS, publishing industry, book publishing, revenue, book publishers, metadata, really strategies inc, STM publishers, journal publishers

How I learned to love XML, CMS, and EBooks

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on May 4, 2011 6:20:00 PM

RSuite Cloud - End-to-end book publishing solutionA Book Publisher's Guide to
Single-Source, Multi-Channel Output

A webinar from Really Strategies, Inc. [click here to register]

When: May 18, 2011 | 10:00 to 11:00 pm EDT

Snapshot: According to industry analysts Frost & Sullivan, 2011 is “The Year of the Tablet.”  For book publishers, this means that delivering content to devices like the iPad and Kindle is not an option…it's imperative.  Book publishers are recognizing that better content management will accelerate revenue and profit growth. Technology like XML and content management software are the enablers that produce ebooks.

In this free webinar, Dan Dube,  EVP of Cloud Solutions at Really Strategies, Inc. will present a case study that illustrates how publishers are producing and publishing to traditional and digital media from the same source content with the (literal!) push of a button.

Topics: Webinar, ebooks, RSuite Cloud, book publishing

Publishing Business Conference and Expo - all about the ebook

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Apr 6, 2011 12:05:00 PM

Publishing Business Conference and Expo 2011Really Strategies just returned from Publishing Business Conference and Expo in New York City where thousands of publishing professionals came together for 2 days of education and networking. While our cheerful staff pictured here had various  conversations with publishers, the recurring theme was definitely ebooks.

  • How do I generate ebooks for my back list?
  • How do I create ebooks and publish along with my print version?
  • How do I publish to multiple languages?
Hint: RSuite Cloud

Lightbulb moment for me was hearing so many publishers still ask, "what is XML?". Clearly the fact that I've been embedded in the technology aspects of publishing solutions for the past 15 years has made me overlook the fact that XML is still a mystery for many publishing folks. It's understandable. The great thing about RSuite Cloud, a cloud-based production system, means that XML can remain in the background. At the end of the day, publishers need to publish their work...output formats, file formats, technologies...these can stay in the background, allowing publishers to stay focused on the content.

I get in my car and drive to work everyday, but I certainly don't understand the details of my car's engine.

Learn how RSuite Cloud is helping publishers to publish to ebooks, print, and web in an automated way that improves productivity while reducing cost. Click here to recieve your free white paper.

Topics: CMS for publishers, ebooks, CMS, book publishing

Content farming, plagiarism, ebooks - AKA "The Kindle Swindle"

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Mar 31, 2011 12:03:00 PM

Tighten up your ereaders..the spammers are coming. Publishing Trends details how ebooks are the latest frontier for spammers. I recently noticed some garbage coming through on the Kindle store and wondered what this is all about.

Products like Autopilot Kindle Cash promote a tool that generates "passive income" and "totally hands free cash." Because many ebook vendors don't check copyright on books that are submitted, people are stealing content from the web and using tools like Autopilot Kindle Cash to quickly create ebooks about the same topic from multiple angles (targeting different keyword variants), and publishing them. Putting the books on also boosts the spammers ranking in search results.

Read the full post on "The Kindle Swindle" at Publishing Trends here.

Topics: ebooks, book publishing

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