Change in Publishing: (not really) answers to (not really) questions. Writers, insiders and publishers discuss freely about 5 popular tags. Prev: Stephen Brown, _Jacob Appel, Thierry Crouzet, Paul Di Filippo_, Rhys Hughes. Joanna Penn, Kassia Kroszer. Follow us: RSS | Twitter | Facebook
Richard Nash Richard Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur, presently launching Cursor, a start-up portfolio of social publishing imprints the first of which, Red Lemonade, will launch in Spring 2011. Blog | Twitter: @R_Nash
Right now, I feel that the eBook refers to the hope that not much needs to change about publishing! That the digital book supply chain will just partly replace the physical book supply chain. I began to feel this when corporate publishers finally embraced the eBook: they clearly see it as a way to avoid losing the existing business model. So I think of the eBook narrowly defined as a downloadable read-only file bought/licensed for a one-off sum of money as a transitional thing, like the MP3 before Spotify.
Like tomorrow, it never comes. I think we need to move aggressively to change how we do business now, based on what we now know. Only thing I really know is that we all get somewhat older on average and somewhat warmer on average and this, for books, has implications
Oh that's the hardest one of all! That was relatively easy to talk about in a world where there were significant economies of scale around reproduction and distribution. There are going to be just as many power law curves in the future as there were in the past since the attention economy is not egalitarian and we've seen plenty of winner-take-most outcomes online so far. But these winner-take-most platforms, whether in search, or data-mining, or what-have-you, tend to be somewhat unaffected by the substance of what they deal with, so they don't discriminate in the same way against the "alternative," the marginal. The unit cost on printing a bestseller is far lower than on printing a poetry title. But the search results on both cost the same. Nothing. The production barriers to entry are zero. The challenge is on the consumption side.
Digital prices will be very very very very low. Physical prices will become higher and higher.
What, that's for the historians to decide really. It's hindsight. What you try to do is the best possible job for those whom you serve, and never take for granted you're doing it.