The Future of Publishing…We’re In It

Three interesting articles about the publishing industry caught my eye today. But first, I’ve found that reading and thinking critically about articles goes more smoothly with music, so I invite you to play the video below and enjoy the sweet sounds of “Stereo Love” while reading the rest of my post. (And yes, I may be a little obsessed with this song right now).

First, the Kindle 3 is coming out with two versions–one for $139 and one for $114. The $114 Kindle, however, will be ad-supported, or to quote Amazon, it will be the “Kindle With Special Offers.” $25 doesn’t seem like enough of a difference to opt for the ad-supported device, though I’m sure once it becomes a viable model we’ll see larger price cuts, but the ads will only appear when you’re not reading your Kindle (so instead of seeing intricate photos of famous writers on the screen, you’ll see deals for LivingSocial). But, this is only a first step. Amazon also launched an app, AdMash, that will allow users to vote for which ads they want to see on their Kindles. For now, there are no ads in the books themselves, but I think someday soon we may see that as well.

Full articles: Amazon to Offer $114 Kindle 3 Supported by Ads; Will the Ad-Supported Kindle Sell?

The second article I found questions the role of publishers in a world where self-publishing is so easy. At The London Book Fair this week, one side argued that publishers are becoming irrelevant, because self-publishers now have the tools to edit, market, and distribute, while the other side claimed that publishers “are the best, and perhaps only, way for good books to make it into the world.” But maybe publishers shouldn’t be ignoring self-publishing. If they could somehow combine the tools of self-publishing with the edge they still have as actual publishers, they could still remain relevant. Bobbie Johnson sums up the end of his article nicely: “In the end, though, that moment didn’t seem to make much difference to the audience. Doctorow and Bridle were defeated, with around 80 percent of the audience voting for the idea publishers will remain relevant. It wasn’t a surprise; had it gone the other way, it would have been as if the audience — which was, of course, largely made of publishers — were a barn full of turkeys eagerly voting for Thanksgiving.”

Full article: Will Book Publishers Ever Be Irrelevant?

But, if publishers can’t think of how to incorporate self-publishing tools right away, there’s always the Hulu method. Michael Wolf of Gigaom suggests that publishers who can find multiple outlets, other than merely selling their books, will continue to be successful. A new Spanish company, called 24Symbols, uses a freemium model which allows users to read free books with ads or pay subscriptions for unlimited access to books. Wolf thinks that publishers should get together and offer their content in a platform similar to Hulu, because they have the rights to the most number of books. It’s an interesting thought, and probably could make a lot of money, but will publishers then lose potential sales? Thoughts, anyone?

Full article: Forget Netflix. E-Book Publishers Need a Hulu


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