Thursday, April 30, 2009

The New iPhones

In early June Apple is going to release its new 3.0 operating system for the iPhone. It seems quite probable that they will then, or shortly afterwards, release some new computer models. A new Mac mini, a new MacBook, or something like a blown up iPhone, a 10" touch screen, tablet style media player, a not quite netbook. Speculation is rife.

In about 6 weeks we will know some of the answers. A larger form iPhone that is touch screen and is media-oriented is quite likely. The success of the iPhone App store demands it -- last week the billionth App was downloaded. Apple was able to spread the success of the iTunes store by implementing it for Windows (6 months after the initial iTunes Store was launched in 2003) and that move played a big part in the success of iTunes and the iPod. Such a move is not going to work for the App Store, where most of the best software depends critically on the hardware, the geo-sensing and the touch-screen interface. So Apple will extend the range of its App Store software by extending the breadth of its hardware platform (there will probably be a low-end nano iTouch as well as an upscale iTablet before long).

It is a curious feature of the iPhone and the App store ecosystem that from the publisher's point of view the consumer's device works more or less like a dongle. Apple sell you an App for your specific account, tied to your credit card. You can work with an App on your iPhone and use the same App on your iTouch but you can't shift it to another platform. Oddly enough you can't even print from an App, and there have not been too many complaints about this, though Apple will remedy the deficiency with the forthcoming upgrade to the O/S. Apple sells software and it is in Apple's interests for free software to be given away (that broadens the appeal of the hardware and the platform) and it is in Apple's interests for software to be sold (Apple takes a 30% cut on everything that passes through its tills on the App Store). We have not seen a wave of pirated Apps and I suspect that Apple will make sure that this does not happen. They will not need to resort to DRM to do so.

For plenty of reasons, book publishers should not be thinking about DRM. But a lot of them do, and some of them are insisting on it for their eBooks. For those publishers, the fact that the Apple environment doesn't need it is an obvious attraction. The fact that Apple is also projecting the style and elan of Prada, rather than the sheer efficiency and economy of Primark will be another attraction for many authors and publishers contemplating iPhone ventures.

The sheer quality of the hardware (the brilliant screen) and the innovative touch interface give Apple a unique platform for media deployment. As the form factor gets a little bigger it will be brilliant for books, especially for digital editions - which map the quality and layout of a well designed printed volume. Just at the moment the world of digital publishing is preoccupied with the concern that Google and/or Amazon are going to end up being the monopolist of world literature. Mark my words: by the time of this Autumn's Frankfurt book fair, Apple will be another focus for monopoly concern. Can you have three non-collusive monopolists in the same market? Or is that a competitive situation?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

A massive new title is now in the Berkshire Publishing shop on the Exact Editions platform. The Berkshire Encyclopedia of China has nearly 1,000 entries and comes in 5 volumes in the printed edition.

The printed volume sets will be released and sent to subscribers shortly, but the whole work is now searchable and freely sampleable on the Exact Editions platform in the service we are running for Berkshire.

Here are some sample entries:

Climate Change—​International Cooperation
Currency Valuation
Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour
Feng Shui
and we must have

not forgetting the complex index, with a lot of links.

The key thing about a big reference book such as this is that we can enjoy the richness of the search results. 163 hits for 'Deng', 17 for 'HIV', 106 for 'Canton', 16 for 'Guangzhou'. 'Nixon' gets 39! and 4 for 'Obama'. I wonder how many 'Obama' mentions there will be in the next edition?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cloud Computing and Content Services

Richard Wallis who blogs as Panlibus for Tallis (the Solihull UK-based library automation specialist which seem to be going places after 40 years of quietly honing their LMS in the black country), has an interesting post on the way that library suppliers are moving into the cloud. Of course that is going to happen, and it will be interesting to see how OCLC, "the 500 lb" gorilla impacts the traditional library automation market. Especially with Google "the 15 million book" gorilla, hobbled by obvious metadata shortcomings, lurking in the background. Following on from Richard's post, I started to wonder how the content aggregators are going to react to the opportunity and challenge of selling content services within a cloud computing framework.

A recent survey paper from Berkeley summarises the hardware innovations of Cloud Computing as follows:

1. The illusion of infinite computing resources available on demand, thereby eliminating the need for Cloud Computing users to plan far ahead for provisioning.
2. The elimination of an up-front commitment by Cloud users, thereby allowing companies to start small and increase hardware resources only when there is an increase in their needs.
3. The ability to pay for use of computing resources on a short-term basis as needed (e.g., processors by the hour and storage by the day) and release them as needed, thereby rewarding conservation by letting machines and storage go when they are no longer useful. Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing (p 1)

A service model and a charging system of this kind would be very attractive to content users if it could achieve the radical cost savings typical of cloud computing. Service subscribers would jump at the promise of a service which gives them the 'illusion' of access to infinite information, (this is where the Google library of at least 10 million books comes in) and which eliminates the need for upfront commitments. The first and second capabilities are straightforward, but there does not appear to be a rationale for 3. The problem is that Information is not rivalrous. From the supplier's point of view, whether as creator or as intermediary, there is nothing saved when users do not use a resource. The intrinsic value of copyright resources does not increase because less use is made of them. Paradoxically the value of a scientific resource such as Science Direct actually increases if its usage is widespread. From the information suppliers standpoint the 'trick' is to maintain the illusion that a resource is effectively available wherever it is needed, even though a great deal is being charged for it and the barriers to entry and easy use are high. Paying for the resource on a short-trem or intermittent basis is unlikely to appeal to the rights holder. I suspect that the Books Rights Registry will be slow to sanction Google in the introduction of an hourly 'pay as you go' access model to its main collection.

A solution to this conundrum will emerge, and I suspect that it will evolve in the direction that publishers and rights holders want their information to be accessible, searchable, citeable, and to a limited extent viewable for free. But they do not want to give it all away. The necessity and the attraction of charging for data and content will be limited to services which are in some extent premium, whether by virtue of extreme topicality, of outstanding readable quality, or of additional value services. The Exact Editions service already deploys a cloud-based content management system it will be interesting to see how our partner publishers evolve solutions for end-user pricing and public access (all our public-facing services are now searchable without need for a subscription or controlled access). In fact every page can be viewed at thumbnail size without the need to register an account. Perhaps we need to evolve towards a stage where every citation at least delivers a thumbnail view even of 'closed' pages.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Press Gazette is Saved

The magazine has been bought by Mike Danson's Progressive Media group. When Wilmington announced a fortnight ago that they were closing the magazine it was withdrawn from the Exact Editions shop, though subscribers still have access to their accounts. It looks as though the magazine will resume publication in May and we hope that it will continue in its successful digital form on the Exact Editions platform. More definite news later in the week.

A new publisher with entrepreneurial vision could push the magazine back into the mainstream of British media coverage. Promoting the digital edition and selling subscriptions to it at an attractive price should be a part of that vision.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

On Thinking Beyond the Google Settlement

We enjoyed the London Book Fair earlier this week. There was considerable interest in the project that Bloomsbury have announced to create 'shelves' of content for public libraries, using the Exact Editions platform. There was also much interest in the fact that Exact Editions is able to directly support the iPhone user experience.

The fair was slightly quieter than last year and some publishers are feeling the squeeze of recession in reduced consumer purchases, but there was also a great deal of optimism and excitement about the books industry and in particular about the potential for new digital markets. I am sure that book publishers are in much better shape than newspaper or magazine publishers to adapt to the new challenge of digital publishing. If there were a Trade Show like the LBF for newspapers or magazines this year in London it would be so gloomy, or probably postponed.

There was certainly some discussion of Google Books Search, of the looming, probable, approval of the Settlement in the dispute with the Authors' Guild and the Association of American Publishers. There were some meetings where Google was discussed. A literary agent, Piers Blofeld, penned an angry diatribe against Google Book Search (see p 12 of the Bookseller Daily for 21 April): I am sure that I was not the only reader of this piece to be thinking "Canute". But overall there seemed to be a quiet air of business as usual, with the book trade; publishers, authors and agents, not quite understanding what is about to hit it. What is about to hit it, or them?

The London Book Fair is much smaller than the Frankfurt Book Fair, but its focus is overwhelmingly on British or English language books. The Main Hall at Earls Court accommodates several hundred stands from leading British, European and American publishers. Those publishers and the booksellers, agents, librarians and authors spend three days discussing, negotiating, dealing, buying, selling, promoting, praising, discounting, rubbishing, remaindering and very occasionally reading tiny little bits of the 300,000 odd books published or about to be published in the English language. The show is overwhelmingly concerned with new books and major sellers from the back list. The book business pretty much is the business that is on display at the London Book Fair and it has a focus on this year and next year's books (2 years worth of books from the UK and US market takes us to 300,000 or so new books).

If we think of this rather large and hangar-like hall being occupied by the books that are currently the focus of the commercial market for books, we can also imagine a skyscraper of 30 or perhaps 40 stories being built above the Earls Court Stadium. The stacked stories of this skyscraper will each contain another 300,000 mostly older books, but this time all of them ordered, regimented and deployed in total silence and precise obedience with no noisy haggling or discordant trading. Such a skyscraper would be a serious obstacle on the flight path for planes approaching Heathrow, but its towering shadow does give us an idea of the relative scale of the Google Books Search project as set against the current (this year, last year) output of publishers in the English language. The 10,000,000+ books that Google will have in its arsenal when the Google Book Search library goes live in a year of two will completely dwarf the current activity. The 40 odd stories of the Google Books skyscaper will not need the traditional tools and mechanisms of the book trade. The transactions, accessibility, searchability, and reading of these millions of books will all be a matter of database and web-driven activity. Commercial arrangements will be settled by the Books Rights Registry or the publishers' agreements with Google and the commercial transactions and access rules will be executed by Google or its contracted distributors. There will be very little need for human intervention, except at the periphery. When authors, agents and publishers decide to put things into the system, or, at the consumer edge, when readers, searchers, librarians or consumers decide that they wish to have some form of access to the repository. Of course Google will also not need a skyscraper at all. The few hundred terabytes, possibly by then one or two petabytes, that may be needed for the Google nearly-complete libary in 2012 will comfortably fit in the confines of the whirling, bladed and racked systems, housed in a single standard freight container. We should add a few more trailers to cope with the bandwidth of a billion users, but it is all fitting nicely in the underground loading bay that they have at Earls Court. The efficiency and reliability of the Google system does not require large physical infrastructure. Push on a couple of years, and by 2014 I think one can be sure that Google will have most of the world's published literature in the Google database. How will new books then be working in relation to the 50, 60, 70, 80 stories high skyscraper of previously published but now completely databased and universally accessible digital books?

So how indeed is the traditional world of books going to cope with the fact that most of the world's published literature will be available, purchasable, readable and eminently usable as a database system within a few years? The new books which are then being published will still need the care, design, attention and promotion of publishers and editors, but will readers be expecting to buy new books in volume form when everything else is usable and being used as part of a database system. Will Google be totally dominating the market for new books, as it apparently will be monopolising the market for 'orphan' books?

We may wonder. One suspects that there is far too much that goes on in the world of writing, authorship and publishing, for the talent, the style and the colour to disappear into the smooth and virtual maw of a Googlised library. Google, in my view, will not end up owning the books business, and its monopolistic trajectory will stall or run into natural limits. But in walking the aisles beneath this 40 story skyscraper, rising inexorably above Earls Court, full of scanned and indexed titles that are in many cases neglected and orphaned, one does wonder whether there can possibly be a future for proprietary file formats, Kindle or Sony readers and the non-Google searchable distribution networks that publishers are building and commissioning for themselves? What does Mr Bezos think he is achieving by locking users into a DRM which is Google inaccessible? Elsevier, Springer and Wiley are in enough trouble with their own non-standard, pre-Google Book Search, content management and access systems for it to be doubtful that the world needs another 175 variations on the same theme. There is quite a lot going on in the world of digital books that is completely irrelevant to the GBS seismic shift. The Guardian journalist writing about eBooks at the Fair managed to avoid mentioning Google or GBS at all. If the digital book is not in a format that can be searched by Google (or similar search engines) you might as well forget it. Google will not be selling access to everything, it will not be allowed to build such a monopoly, but it will be searching everything that is published. That is the big win for Google from the Settlement.

There will be one hell of a row when it is fully appreciated that this wonderful Google system is only to be properly and fully deployed in the USA. But leaving that on one side, the London Book Fair of 2012 will take place very much in the shadow of the decision Judge Denny Chin in the Southern District of New York this summer. We all need to be thinking post-Google Settlement.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Bloomsbury Library Online

We have been working with Bloomsbury for some months to develop a subscription service that they will shortly be launching for public libraries. The project is no longer embargo-ed and a select group of journalists will now have access to the final test version of "The Bloomsbury Library Online". The initial titles include: The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (by Kate Summerscale), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (by Mary Ann Shaffer), The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri, and Burnt Shadows, (by Kamila Shamsie). More titles will follow. The Bloomsbury set, as we have termed it 'in-house', will be on full public release in a couple of weeks. The Bloomsbury concept has been to provide a range of the best modern writing and new fiction through a subscription service that will be available to public libraries, and through the libraries' own portals for reading by patrons who hold library cards.

It has been fascinating to watch this project develop over a period of months (I have not been involved, so I have been hearing about it second hand, and seeing prototypes which my colleagues have been working on with Bloomsbury). Plenty of issues and technical considerations have been examined -- don't anybody tell you that Trade publishers are not devils for detail. They are painstakingly careful and systematic about many fine-grained decisions, I do not think Bloomsbury are atypical in this. There have been a lot of emails and visits! All along, Bloomsbury have been anxious to win the support of their authors and their agents, so we have been also hearing at two or three removes about their concerns and goals.

Bloomsbury have held steady to their target of developing a service for libraries, initially primarily in the UK. It has turned out to be pretty much the project that they explained to us before Christmas. A shelf for libraries of some of the best books, from contemporary authors, which will grow and which will also serve to promote sales of the print books and public awareness of the authors selected. I suppose that there is, in this chosen vehicle, an element of quasi-political support for public libraries - a resource which publishers rightly hold to be key to the flourishing of a literary culture. Nevertheless it is interesting that one of London's leading Trade publishers should set such a priority on the support of public libraries, and that they should fashion such a service for a market which must be a tiny fraction of the market for their print publications. Some STM publishers sell the bulk of their books to institutional libraries (school and college libraries will also be able to subscribe to the Bloomsbury service) but General Trade publishers surely only sell a few percent of the typical hardback print run to the library market. Bloomsbury have not decided how far they will take their digital development. Or, if they have, they haven't told us about it. This year all major trade publishers are putting out exploratory feelers for the digital books market. No one knows where we will be with digital books in 12 months time -- anyone who says otherwise is a visionary or a consultant with an axe to grind! But they clearly have plans to move things on from the current focus. It will be fascinating to see how that works out. we are not privileged to the Bloomsbury plans, but they have been asking a lot of questions!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Trouble with Orphans

In the old dispensation books (and magazines and newspapers) used to be published and then gradually disappear. A few copies of any particular print run would be kept in archival conditions in important libraries, but by and large they gradually mouldered away. In fact they biodegraded into mulch. Something similar happened to the 'copyrights': to the intellectual property that the publications crystalised. After a few decades, and with the exception of a very few masterpieces or works of genius, the intellectual property that they represented was of negligible value or interest, and they would sooner or later fall into the public domain, probably before the physical book biodegraded. At that point the 'IP' did not matter, or rather it mattered only to the public domain.

In the last 10 years there has been a growing tumult about 'orphan' copyrights. Or 'orphan works'. In the eyes of some of the key critics, eg James Grimmelmann, the real problem with the Google Book Search proposition and the Settlement that Google is reaching with Authors and Publishers is all about the orphans that are being swept up into the maw of Google's 7 million, and counting scanned digital books.

But the funny thing about 'orphan works' is that the very category is defined by the technology which makes it possible to replace or preserve printed books by digital books which could last forever. The books and photographs are no more 'orphan' than they ever were, it is just that they look like they should be imortal rather than biodegraded, so who can speak up for them on that? Suddenly old and mostly forgotten copyrights seem to have some possible value, because the digital books could last for ever, and who knows but some of them (a few) will surely have considerable hidden value? To many of the critics it does not seem right that this value should accrue or crystalise to Google (and to the Authors Guild and some Publishers), rather than to anybody else.

If you buy the idea that the 'orphan' status of a book (or some other piece of intellectual property) is more a function of the new technology than of the old which was around when the object was born or conceived, there is an interesting corollary. As technology improves the orphans become more valuable. The 'orphans' may indeed become a lot more valuable when computation advances again, as it will. Especially if the orphans can be used to construct something else, something that we dont yet understand. Who is to say what value they have? There is a lot in the Google Books Settlement about 'non-consumptive' research (which roughly means 'reading by computers and software'). Who knows how valuable that could become?

We may get a glimpse of this when Wolfram's intriguing Alpha project is unveiled. From Rudy Rucker's recent blog about what Alpha portends, it certainly sounds to me as though Wolfram and his team have been doing some pretty sensitive 'non-consumptive' reading of key reference books:

I asked him how he is handling the daunting task of finding out all the possible scientific models. “There’s only so many linear feet of reference books that exist in the world,” remarked Wolfram. “Nowadays when I go into a library I look at the reference shelves and try and estimate how many of them we’ve picked up. I think we’re close to ninety percent by now. Right now my office is mounded with books with bookmarks for things we still need to implement, and one by one the bookmarks and the books are going away.”
When the database representation of what a book is about gets to be that powerful and expressive, non-consumptive reading is arguably more useful and valuable than the old fashioned human kind of reading. Orphan copyrights, in a clever enough computer environment, have much more value than their publishers or authors could have imagined....

New Site Releases

We have been making various enhancements to the Exact Editions platform in the last couple of weeks. In many cases these improvements just merge into the slipstream and practically nobody notices. There was a small improvement of this type yesterday, and I am going to mention it because it needs to be noticed.

For a good while we have offered power-users a keyboard command which speeds moving between pages {Ctrl+left, Ctrl+right, for page forward or page back}. These moves speed up reading and work for the double page view and the single page view. We have also recently introduced a 'fit to width' icon. These two functions work well together now as the browser 'remembers' your fit-to-width preference and so allows readers to zip through a magazine with pages fitting themselves to the circumstances of the individual browser in use at the time. This change is symptomatic of the need to keep a reading platform as unobtrusive and 'silent' as possible. Ideally the readers of the publications on our platform should not notice that they are using Exact Editions at all. They should be fully in the book or immersed in the magazine.

Exact Editions works best when the users really don't notice the fact that they are using a web platform. So we need to let users know about the Fit-to-width Icon, without ramming it in their face... Here it is:

We have a way to go yet, but gradually we seem to be getting there.

There are two more recent changes that merit a blog mention. Publishers sometimes wish to be able to sell a collection of books for a single price, as a set or shelf (whilst perhaps also wishing to sell them singly at individual prices). This functionality has been requested by several of our partners and is now supported. The management of 'title sets' in the Exact Editions platform is quite sophisticated and tracks through into the way individual accounts are managed, renewed, promoted and paid for.

We have also frequently been asked whether we can support 'territorial restrictions'. This is not something that generally appeals to magazine publishers, but many general interest book publishers have to support this concept of 'regional markets'. They simply do not have the right to sell the digital edition to a customer resident in Asia or the Australia. We can now support this requirement. Which is not to say it is an entirely good thing to have lots of them! Geographical restrictions on the web are a bore and they complicate both the e-commerce and the support function. Our system is country-based and is driven by the address of the credit card or PayPal account, it applies to the transaction. Once someone has bought a subscription they can read it anywhere, which is of course the way it works with physical books. So publishers and agents should be happy with that.

Note: I edited this post, shortly after posting it. One of the new features we introduced yesterday seems not to work perfectly on all the important browsers. Its a 'nice to have' rather than an 'essential' usability feature. So it may come back in due course...... Version control, version control! Keeping track of it on Web Services and on Blog postings can get complicated!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Folding Magazines

Some magazines will make a successful transition to digital subscriptions and digital distribution. Some will not. The commercial environment for magazine publishers is getting tougher, and the fall in advertising budgets across all media segments is not helping. The magazines that really need to build their digital subscription revenues should get going with the subscription service as soon as possible; and keep in mind that the Subscribers have to have a good reason to subscribe. The subscriptions will not come if all the content, or the better part of the content is made freely accessible on the magazine web site.

Two magazines on the Exact Editions platform announced that they were closing up last week. It has been no secret that The Press Gazette has been losing money for at least four years and for its last three proprietors, so no surprise but very sad to hear that its next issue will be its last. The Ecologist is also soon to produce its last print issue. Zac Goldsmith its wealthy and influential proprietor, writing in the Guardian, sees this as a positive step and not one motivated by the magazines losses. He points out that the magazine has never made money and he has never been in it for the prospect of profits:

What has changed is that we have reached a point – compounded by the recession – where we are not able to get as much value for money as we could from the internet. Online our potential readership is limitless. If we get it right, we can reach millions. We can launch campaigns and see immediate results. We can bring news to people when it matters – now. The format will change, of course, but we won't lose anything that has made the Ecologist vital and relevant. We will continue to provide the best analysis and the best investigations. We will continue to provoke, fearlessly, where that's needed. (Zac Goldsmith: Why the Ecologist has Gone Online)
When a publisher decides to cease print publication Exact Editions promptly removes the publication and its sample issue from the Exact Editions shop. We also arrange with the publisher to refund any subscriptions which have not been fully delivered (this is a very important obligation which any reputable publisher accepts), but we are also able to continue to offer access to the available back issues for the term of the subscription. So subscribers should not lose out. Whether the archive of back issues can be kept available in the long term or made available, perhaps as open access, in the longer term, will depend on the publisher's policy.

While we will miss these excellent magazines, the fact is that magazines always have been coming into and passing out of print. The challenge is to how deal with their post publication preservation. The challenge for the publisher of a magazine in the digital age is how to keep sufficient value in the premium subscription, whilst using the web to develop the maximum impact from the magazine's content, and its mission.

It is not an easy task. But making a successful magazine never has been easy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tank Magazine

Tank magazine which straddles the worlds of art, architecture, culture, literature and fashion, is now available on the Exact Editions platform.

The Railway Magazine

This is the first IPC magazine to use the Exact Editions platform. Railway magazines seem to do well in this digital format (possibly because the archival search is strong).

A lovely magazine. Toot toot!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nostalgia for Books

Robert Darnton made an impressive cameo presentation speech at JISC's Oxford Conference on The Library of the Future (Presentations, Twittering). Darnton made some interesting points about Google Book Search and what libraries should be doing (appealing to Google's better nature and public spirited-ness, which may work?). One throw-away remark of his caught my attention:

"Someone born in 2010 will not feel nostalgia for the printed book."
He might be right about that. Think about the implications. This year, next year or the year after is a tipping point for digital books. He clearly isnt saying that three year olds will not be having Babar read to them in 2013. But it could be that a lot of kids will be having Babar read to them from iPhones or colour Kindles in 2013. A lot of folk in the publishing industry would say that Darnton is being a bit early with that conjecture, but if you look at the way that the iPhone and netbooks have jumped forward in the last year or two, he could be spot on. Bedtime stories in many households will be coming from mobile devices, of course with colour screens, in three or four years time. In three or four years time many households that cannot afford colour books will have mobiles with colour screens.

But I think that there is another implication of his remark. People will not in five or ten years time be feeling nostalgic for print books. They will be very excited about what you can do with real books, digital books. Sure printed books will still be collectable and valuable, some of us will prefer them to digital books. Just as a few of us prefer vinyl to digital recorded music, but it will be a small minority. It may be a very small minority. Do you still know people who use typewriters over computers, who use slide rules over calculators? Not many left.

When digital books have really arrived they will be so much better than print books that nobody will feel nostalgic for print. The books and the libraries of 2020 will be vastly more useful and vastly more accessible than those that we have now. Darnton is right. Also, though he did not say this: not only will the digital libraries be so much better than the merely print-based libraries of the 1970s, they will also be so much unlike our early efforts to create digital books and digital libraries, that readers of 2020 will be looking back on the primitiveness of our current Kindles, EPUBs, GBS and other efforts with embarasment. Do any of us remember how clunky the first calculators were? About digital books and magazines I am an unmitigated optimist.

Even about newspapers. The few remaining digital newspapers will be great once the publishers have learnt how to make them work. There is still a huge amount of fear of digital in the publishing industry. There needs to be more excitement and enthusiasm.