Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Future Of Book Publishing Now

A new book from O’Reilly: Tools of Change for Publishing, shows how book publishing dramatically shifted when the Kindle and iPhone debuted in 2007 and explores, through a collection of essays, where the digital book is heading.

Hugh McGuire and Brian O’Leary put together Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto. They say: “The move to digital is not a format shift, but a fundamental restructuring of the universe of publishing. This restructuring will touch every part of a publishing enterprise – or at least most publishing enterprises.”

The book features information and ideas on:
·         New tools that are rapidly transforming how content is created, managed and sold
·         Understanding the increasingly critical role that metadata plays in making book content discoverable
·         Who and what is leading the digital revolution
·         How some digital books can evolve moment to moment, based on reader feedback

One of the messages heard throughout the book is that writers must connect with their readers online. Such dialogue will drive sales in a number of ways.

In their book they wrote the following passages that I think are of interest:

Excerpt 1
“Readers, like any other consumer of media, are not content to passively consume.  Allowing their consumption to become interaction, regardless of whether that interaction is laudatory, is part of selling books now.  The reader’s voice is important, as is her opinion and what she does next with her opinion.  Listening to the reader and allowing the conversation to grow is essential.

Excerpt 2
“Publishing over digital platforms can increase readership, visibility, and marketability.  It can also give content creators insight into what does and doesn’t work.  Digital distribution will allow for a more agile approach to publishing.

Excerpt 3
“There is a lot of content flooding the world today.  Hundreds of thousands of titles are published every year, along with millions of self-published ones.  Suddenly, everyone is both a producer and a consumer.  If communities didn’t exist for authors and publishers to engage with readers, it would be utterly confusing.  Figment doesn’t just facilitate this interaction, it encourages it.  Already, we’re seeing that readers are finding books not through editorial reviews or physical bookstores; they’re finding that information online, in communities of other readers.

Excerpt 4
“Gathering better information about reading habits, patterns, and preferences can drive the market for books-rights, translations, prices-to a place where guesswork can be eliminated.  Online communities of readers engaging with stories and their authors, enabled by technology and emboldened by the participation of every member:  these are good things for publishers.  Readers, writers, and publishers would all benefit from meeting each other, and this congress will ultimately make the market more efficient.  Just like those pirate sellers in Brindisi.”

Book: A Futurist’sManifesto is certainly worth consulting before you begin to write or market your next book.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect (, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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