Tag Archives: books

Why publishing will march on…

Publishing is a business like any other, it has its ups and downs, sometimes more so than others. However, I wholeheartedly believe that it will succeed and not only succeed but I see a change coming in the very near future. Now this isn’t merely a post to appease to publishers, far from it… they’ve done some stupid things in the past and probably will again, that’s the way things work.  Yet, I can’t help but be optimistic about its future and what is coming.  For a little background I’ve been in publishing in a variety of roles, majority of it sales, for almost 15 years now both in the retail area and in the education market working with every library imaginable.  I’ve seen a lot, both good and bad, but who doesn’t in any industry?

The reasons I see publishing succeeding is that we have a variety of passionate people out there that are trying to make a change whether the publishers want it or not. That’s awesome, we need those people, I’d lump myself into that category… although I don’t have a lot of pull, I’m still passionate about it, because of what publishing means, can mean and why we need it, to keep stories, history, knowledge around. I like the internet as much as anyone else, but we all have to admit, the info is only as good as the source and a lot of times, it’s pretty crappy.  When I said there are passionate and vocal people out there in publishing, I’m not kidding.  In fact, here’s a list, now it’s not extensive and if you feel I left someone out, tell me and I’ll add them… I didn’t compile a list simply for the fact that it could be a post within itself. The industry needs to see who is busting their ass to save it and keep it going and make sure that it changes directions when it needs to.  The biggest fail that any publisher can do is to not hire passionate people who love books, the printed word, the digital word and those that think so far out of the box it scares the hell out of you.  Publishers need to do this, they need to find these people, hire them, pay them well.. this is key, you get what you pay for, pay lower and those with the high talent either won’t want to work with you or will not be as great at their job as they could be.  What’s the problem with that, pay someone well and show them you believe in their worth and what they do, its common sense really.

I’d love to do a list of everyone but it might be easier to say follow the people who are on twitter #DBW hastag, or #ePrdctn or #ISBNhour.  Follow these conversations and many more like them and you’ll see who they are that have a passion for the publishing industry. Follow me on twitter and you’ll find many of these innovators and optimists, I follow them, you might want to as well.

Now the reasons that publishing will survive thrive are tied to these people or those like them.  People that want to turn the tanker of publishing around and are trying to find ways to do it that aren’t just to make a quick buck but that build sustainability and allow for growth year over year which is necessary.  Publishers need to take chances and let those that have the unique views run with ideas and concepts, you never know what might happen.  Too many times, the bean counters are running pub houses; which influences editing, acquiring materials and so on, it shouldn’t be that way, you need people who say I love publishing in all of its facets and let’s shake things up.  Granted that big tanker of publishing is slow-moving, but you have to start somewhere and realize that if you are afraid to try it, then you should try it… because sitting by and doing the same old thing time after time and not having any results, that’s just crazy people, not the good kind of crazy, the other kind. eBooks are one way out, we also have apps now and transmedia, an ever developing model and the list goes on. There are options, we don’t need to say only this way or that way, why not try them all or experiment with them and see what works for your company or project.  Let the innovators do their thing…innovate and come up with ideas, no matter how batty they may sound, ingenuity and creativity more than ever now needs to be at the forefront and publishers, customers and everyone involved needs to have a voice.  All of these items I mention are what will keep publishing going, keep it creating and make it successful.

What are your thoughts though? Digital Book World has asked this many times, where do you see publishing going? What are you afraid of? What excites you? Who excites you in publishing? Find these ideas, concepts, people, companies and talk to them, listen, watch and take away an idea.  Publishing isn’t dead, it’s in a fun house of mirrors trying to find its way out, so why not crack a few mirrors and maybe help show the way. If you don’t agree, tell me what you think are the reasons it will fail if you believe so or what do you see it needs to do to thrive and keep going.


Google Editions

So the web, twitter and it seemed like everyone in publishing and those not in it were talking a lot about Google Editions which is to come by end of year.  Google Editions has some nice features and offers. Offline reading, which should just be standard, accessible from anything with a browser, very smart and hosted in the cloud.  Now this is a very smart move, this helps take away the whole device issue and moves to what I have stated for the past couple years but others as well, that eBooks need to be device agnostic.  No matter what you are using you can get to the eBook from anywhere, google may very well achieve this.  Yet, there is one little hiccup, what about those people who want the actual eBook file, ePub, pdf or other format?  Hosted in the cloud means no file to worry about, but I see some areas where they may want to have access to the file itself.  Supposedly google will allow for an archival version to be downloaded and have to use for personal use, but let’s be real, will the rules be followed. I’ve also seen it may be only the PDF version and may have DRM on it, even if you choose no DRM to be applied. So the question here is what’s the deal, hopefully I’ll know more as I am actually asking them this question because it seems odd if you can have ePub but the archive version might be pdf, kind of defeats the purpose.

Google Editions also mentioned that format only matters in how they accept it and how they use on the backend but not for downloading. It’s weird.. send us ePub, but it won’t matter because you access online, ok… I guess.  By no means am I slamming google, they are trying to approach the problem that is plaguing everyone, device snowstorm, which to choose, which to develop for and how to go about it.  When you think about it, makes sense for google to work with ePub, it’s the defacto standard, people are designing for it, I know I am, so it’s a workflow ability where everything can flow easier.  I look forward to seeing what becomes of google editions but mostly, will it actually launch come the start of 2011?  Who knows, it could change again, maybe it’ll be like Microsoft’s courier and shutdown.  I do know that people want eBooks, they want them the way they want them and they want them as soon as possible. They don’t want to wait, they barely want to pay the prices on them, which are much lower than the current hardcovers, that’s another blog topic.

I see Google Editions doing well, initially it’ll do great, it makes sense, largest search and discoverability engine, whether you like them or not, you need to jump onto it if you are an author or smaller pub and want your eBooks seen.  It’ll be interesting to see how metadata plays out with it and how well it works for libraries? The ed market is watching this closely, they want to see what will their patrons/students be able to do with google editions, how will it affect eBook lending? If the archival version is the only version available to download and Google will be checking IP’s, which is how they will handle authentication apparently, so no passing your username and password to others, they’ll have to look at how they work with the ever-changing ed market. As libraries have stated loudly, the models out there are not ideal, so what will google’s be if any at all?  All we can do now is sit and wait, see what happens and how well the platform, which it still is, is implemented and used and what the naysayers and google fanatics have to say.

Erik


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