Staying in the Game

New Venture to Offer Small Publishers Digital Technology

Hundreds of small, independent publishers will have easier access to digital book technology under a new service offered by Perseus Books Group, the result of agreements between it and more than a half-dozen technology companies, Perseus is expected to announce on Thursday.

The new service, called Constellation, will allow independent publishers to make use of electronic readers, digital book search, print-on-demand and other digital formats at rates negotiated by Perseus on their behalf. Unlike large publishers, small ones typically lack the resources to use digital technology and as a result often bypass it altogether.

David Steinberger, the president and chief executive of Perseus, said that by using Constellation independent publishers could make their books quickly available in several digital formats, allowing them to compete on the same technological level and with the same speed and flexibility as larger companies. Many publishing analysts see digital technology as one of the few major growth areas in the book industry.

I Have A Virtual Birthday Coming Up

While the national switch-over to digital broadcast television happens on my birthday next year, the transition is getting a tryout in Wilmington, NC next week: Wilmington, N.C., ready for switch to digital TV (pdf)

The future of broadcast television is set to premiere in this quaint seaside city next week. And the federal government is working hard — too hard, some say — to make sure it’s a hit here.

At noon on Monday, Wilmington’s five commercial broadcast stations are scheduled to become the nation’s first to permanently switch to all-digital signals, serving as a test of the government-mandated transition that other stations across the country will make in February.

“It’s like landing on the moon,” said Constance Henley Knox, general manager of CBS affiliate WILM. “We’re making history.”

Fighting Over Cupcakes

Sprinkles is frosted over cupcake newcomer Sprinkled Pink (pdf)

Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles — pioneer of the cupcake-only shop and purveyor of miniature morsels beloved by celebrities — is turning up the heat on competitors allegedly treading on its trademarked name and dot motif.

prinkles most recently set its sugary sights on Sprinkled Pink Cupcake Couture in Montecito. Last week, just one day after Wendy Jones opened her shop, she received a letter from Sprinkles demanding that she change the name of her bakery, which she registered when she got her business license in 2003.

“They’re going too far,” said Jones, who hasn’t decided how to respond to the letter. “I’m sure they’re protecting themselves, but there’s a whole big United States out there. There’s room for other cupcake shops. They shouldn’t be bullying around or picking on little people like us. . . . I really honestly don’t think they invented the cupcake.”

NebuAd Pullback

NebuAd Halts Plans For Web Tracking (pdf)

Tech firm NebuAd has put on hold plans to widely deploy an online advertising technology that tracks consumers every Web click while Congress reviews privacy concerns associated with the technique.

The Silicon Valley company announced this week that founder and chief executive Bob Dykes was resigning. His departure comes as a number of Internet companies have suspended or canceled trials of NebuAds controversial tracking technique, known as deep-packet inspection, marketed to companies seeking to target ads to Web users.

Related: Candidates’ Web Sites Get to Know the Voters (pdf)

How did the campaign know which readers to send ads to? Although both the Obama and John McCain campaigns are reluctant to discuss details, the ability to identify sympathetic voters based on their Internet habits, and then to target them with ads as they move across the Web, is one of the defining aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign.