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Posts Tagged ‘future of publishing’

Seth Godin & The Future of Books

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Seth Godin just released his new book, Poke the Box. As he announced he would several months ago, Seth has broken away from his traditional publisher and issued the book on his own.

The 96-page book was launched in 3 formats:

  • A Kindle book for $7.99
  • A hard cover book for $9.99
  • A limited edition, signed by Seth, with letterpress cover and poster for $75

You may recognize this 3-format model as one I blogged about last June. Seth’s new project only confirms the future that I see for the publishing industry:

  • E-books for primary consumption
  • Everyday print books to mark up, mess up, or trade around
  • Specialty editions at premium prices for collecting, not reading

How does your book project fit into this future?

New Evidence for the Future of the Printed Book

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Black hole at the center of our galaxySometimes being a sci-fi geek has its benefits. It’s often said that not everything written about in science fiction exists, but everything that’s discovered in science existed first in science fiction. Now, sci-fi is leading the revolution in book packaging that we discussed in a previous blog post.

A new book by Daniel Wallace, The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force, won’t be your usual reference tome. With a hefty US$99 price tag, the promise is a full-color interior, “missing” pages, removable trinkets, flashing lights, sound, and movable parts. Oh, and there’s even an actual printed book to read somewhere in the package. Clearly not your usual hard cover edition.

With all the new formats — e-books, vooks (video books), audio books, enhanced books, collector editions with special features — it can seem like a confusing time. Or is it just the most exciting opportunity we’ve ever seen for creating new ways of communicating with your audience?

Robert Kiyosaki Invites Reader Collaboration on His Latest Book

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Robert Kiyosaki is the latest business author to take the collaborative approach to writing a book. His newest effort, Conspiracy of the Rich, is being released chapter by chapter on the book’s website. Readers must register to view the full text of each chapter, and are then encouraged to share their thoughts on each topic.

From the website:

Conspiracy of the Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money will be an interactive project in which Kiyosaki will not only offer his written ‘draft’ chapters online, but invite feedback, commentary and questions from readers across the globe via website forums and blogs. Reader feedback will then be incorporated into the book as it is written and released, chapter by chapter, on the Internet.

The Future of Publishing in Three Cs

Monday, February 16th, 2009

The third annual Tools of Change for Publishing conference from O’Reilly took place in New York City last week. More than a thousand people drawn from all corners of the globe and the industry — from publishers and authors to programmers and bloggers — convened to discuss and debate the future of the book.

Over three days of keynotes, tutorials, and sessions, several themes began to emerge and repeat; top among them were conversation, collaboration, and community. These themes are important for authors to understand because they signal a fundamental shift in how you will write and publish your work in coming years.

Conversation, Collaboration, and Community
The notion of “book” is evolving. In the last 500 years, “book” has meant a static collection of words, printed and bound between covers. Now, the e-book and Internet have changed all that.

The way it used to be:

  • A book as an object, fixed in time and place
  • The author as the sole authority
  • A silent readership

What is emerging:

  • A book as a process
  • The author as one of many voices, the leader of a conversation
  • A vocal and participating readership

Writing a book is becoming an increasingly public and collaborative process, one that involves readers from the start and encourages their input into the product. Readers are enthusiastic about being involved in the development of a book. Several conference keynoters made observations along these lines:

  • Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, described how he had blogged about some ideas that had come up for him during his research for the book. His readers disagreed with his post and told him so. Their feedback reshaped the chapter that Jeff ultimately wrote and published in the book.
  • Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly Media, discussed O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts program. Through Rough Cuts, readers have access to some of the company’s books in draft form and are able to chip in with their comments. After these books are published, sales of the titles outpace titles that weren’t put through Rough Cuts by 2 1/2 times.

The theme of community and conversation also applies, not just to the development leading up to the book, but to the ongoing process of consumption that occurs after the book is published. Networks of readers connect through blogs and social media to review, critique, and advance the content.

Bob Stein from the Institute for the Future of the Book may have said it best when he proposed a new definition of “book”: a place where readers (and sometimes authors) congregate. Non-fiction authors become leaders of communities of inquiry, and publishers serve to help build and nurture these communities.

Here’s my visual interpretation of the book-as-process idea:

How are you working conversation, collaboration, and community into your authoring process? Leave a comment and let us know.