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...
I left working on the publishing side because I started to believe there was no room allowed for this kind of thinking. Glad to see that you are making the room.
I sometimes feel like a space alien when I look at the publishing industry and I look the internet and try to convince someone in the industry that there is more than a little room for optimism.
Posted by: Jeff Nordstedt | March 10, 2008 at 01:40 PM
Interesting that you should post this today. I wonder what your thoughts are on something like www.ABNABooks.com, which came out of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Posted by: Valya | March 10, 2008 at 05:19 PM
Hi Jeff. Oh, there's plenty of room for optimism, but only for those who are very comfortable with change. The demand for knowledge and entertainment from the written word is as strong as ever and those of us in the publishing industry need to constantly learn how to adapt to new delivery mechanisms and services.
Valya, I hadn't heard of ABNABooks till I saw your comment. I stopped by, took a brief look and liked what I saw. I definitely encourage authors to continue networking with other authors, publishers and others in the community. New platforms are more likely to be built using this federation approach than if everyone is simply trying to rise above all the noise individually.
Posted by: Joe Wikert | March 11, 2008 at 12:10 PM
Thanks for taking the time to check out ABNABooks, Joe.
Posted by: Valya | March 12, 2008 at 07:51 PM