Disruptive Digital Publishing

I’m a fan of new ways of publishing. 

I think Eoin Purcell did an excellent job in his post “Moving Up The Value Chain: How Digital Publishing Disrupts.” In it, he discusses three new publishers/publishing models: Demand Media (ebooks), Open Air Publishing, and GigaOM Books.

Demand Media has started to make ebooks out of its content. Until now, Demand Media was only a website that paid writers up to $15 per article, or sometimes via revenue share. All articles are edited, and topics for articles are created based on Demand Media’s algorithm, which determines what content people are most likely to read. Now they are using their data to make ebooks.

Open Air Publishing uses a different approach. They make high quality how-to books for the iPad, and charge between $5 and $10 for them. Lastly, GigaOM is using its brand and expertise to make ebooks. They remind me of Hyperink, which pairs up writers with experts to turn blogs into quality non-fiction ebooks.

Another disruptive publishing developments is the new partnership between Dropbox and O’Reilly Media. If you have an O’Reilly account, you can now sync all your ebooks with Dropbox. This means all your content is now in the cloud.

Some companies are changing the way books are written. Sourcebooks recently started the agile model of publishing, where they post chapters on the site, get feedback, and write accordingly. It seems to be working, since they build an audience and drive sales.

Inklewriter is a way to create interactive stories. You write multiple storylines, and readers get a different story depending on how they react to certain elements (similar to how dialogue can slightly alter the storyline in video games).

Lastly, eNotated Classics is doing something interesting. They have added information about particular passages in classic works, and you can tap on a paragraph and read about it. My only qualm with the service is that it takes you to a new page, instead of popping up on the tablet.

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