My recent travels caused me to fall behind a bit in the various newsfeeds and blogs I follow each week. One item that slipped below the radar was this article on The Guardian that talks about our ever-changing marketplace and the value of online content. My favorite excerpts:
Technology, often feared by the bookish world, is a growing friend.
So publishers must harness the great power of online networks through enriching reader experience. We must provide content that can be searched and browsed, and create extra materials - interviews, podcasts and the like. We mustn't be afraid of inviting readers to be involved... The key to this is just to make available and to resist too much control.
I particularly like the last couple of sentences. We're rapidly approaching a point where anyone with intellectual property (IP) to offer will need to determine the right balance of openness and control. It won't make sense for all books to have mash-up or wiki-like functionality, but it's an interesting model for quite a few. Even the ability to let readers exchange chunks of content on social networks seems like a stretch to most IP owners, but it won't be long before this becomes a reality...I hope...