Horizon Scrolling Be Gone

Still little more than a wrapper around the mobile website, but Lufthansa, after embarrassing themselves for years, has ditched horizon scrolling. No more tilting your device to select menu entries.

Now let’s see if they can make Passbook boarding passes update properly.

FCP X: The Waveform Display Is A Lie

Pop Quiz: What does track four sound like? Must be a test tone, right?

fcpx-dcbias

Wrong. It’s silence with a DC bias offset of around -9db. Let’s take a look at a more common waveform display for this:

audition-dcbias

This track will produce an audible pop with every play or pause, but apart from that, the sum from track one and four will sound just deceivingly fine. Not only is the waveform display messed up, the audio level meters in FCP X also claim constant audio power when there is no audible sound from that track or the sum of all tracks.

Some device in the chain decided to mess up track four, and there is no way of automatically discarding this silent but deadly track. As long as it’s isolated like in the example above, opening the clips from the event in the timeline and deleting the offending tracks helps.

appstore.com

I felt a disturbance in the force. Apple just ditched itunes.com in favor of appstore.com

This provides a simple way for users to find your apps on the App Store directly from your website or marketing campaigns. These short links are ideal for use in offline communications materials like print ads, TV spots, app trailers, radio ads and billboards.

appstore.com is the Aol keyword of 2013.

appstore.com/undsoversumgmbh

Self-Publishing Dead Trees

I know that e-publishing is all the rage, but for argument’s sake let’s say you still want to ship dead trees to customers, you want to sell your self-published paper book on amazon.de. This probably applies to amazon.com in a similar manner.

There are several ways of listing your products on Amazon. Let’s compare two that appear nearly identical to the customer. Both variants will ship the book from Amazon’s warehouse. This doesn’t take secondary costs into account, such as the fee for getting the ISBN and shipping to Amazon’s warehouse.

Variant 1: “Sell on Amazon”

There’s a Professional and Basic account option, but let’s say it only makes a difference for you if you’re selling more than 40 units/month.

You create the product on the site using your ISBN. Then, you create a shipment containing 50 copies to go into Amazon’s warehouse. Let’s say the book sits there for one month.

You will act as the seller. The customer buys the book, Amazon ships it to him, you mail an invoice to the customer, and you will be paid.

Example:

  • Customer price: 23 €
  • Net price: 21,50
  • Picking, Packing, Weight-based Shipping, Warehouse Storage Fee: 1,27
  • Sales Fee: 0,99 Fixed Sales Fee + 3,23 (15%) commission + 1,01 Fixed Fee = 5,25
  • Net Fees: 6,52

Net payout: 14,98 €, or 70% of the net price

Variant 2: “Amazon Advantage”

Amazon will act as the seller of the item and ship it from their warehouse.

You still create the product listing with your ISBN, and Amazon will ask you to ship new copies whenever they feel like they need more stock. Also, they get to set the price freely however they see fit.

Example

  • Same book for 23 €
  • Net price: 21,50
  • Storage and Platform Fee 5%: 1,08
  • 50% (!!!) Rebate for Amazon: 10,75

Net Payout: 9,67, or 45% of the net price

These numbers are based on the examples in amazon’s help documents, but I think I got it mostly right.

Printing

A 200 page black and white book will cost you about 3 to 5 € each when printing one or two thousand copies. Let’s say you spend 5000 € on wood.

With the regular seller program on amazon, you will break even on production cost alone after selling 333 copies. On Advantage, after 517.

And suddenly, the 35%/70%, but zero-risk payout on Kindle looks very tempting. Same with Apple’s 30% cut on the iBookstore.

Even the very high cost (~15 €) of printing the book on demand appears more reasonable, you could still sell it at 23 € with a comparable profit as on Advantage, but zero risk on investing in a huge print run.