Thursday, July 05, 2012

Reinventing The Book World From The Bottom Up

I wrote a chapter for a recently released book ALTERNATIVE FUTURES FOR PUBLISHING entitled "Reinventing the Book World from the Bottom Up."  The book was put together via a very workshop sponsored by the Alberta Book Publisher's Association.  (I blogged about the 2 day workshop I attended back in March)

The book is available in PDF format and downloadable (but be patient, it's 6.3MB) and includes many links to videos, audio and other handy resources related to the articles.

My chapter focuses on experiments within the POD space using an Espresso Book Machine in a bookstore as well as my observations (from a bookseller perspective) regarding eBooks and the digitization of books.

Here's how my article opens....

I honestly can’t remember what bookish tech-style conference I had heard this.
It was either at one of the annual BookNet Canada Tech Forums or perhaps it
was the first BookCampTO event; but somewhere in the tweet-stream, during
a hearty discussion about the state of the book and publishing industry, the
forthcoming digital apocalypse and the advent of the ebook era, an audience
member from one of the sessions pushed out an intriguing tweet.

“The book isn’t dead; it just had babies.”
unattributed Twitter quote

I retweeted it, as did several others. It was a cute sentiment. It was simple, yet
it spoke volumes.

And, when you come to think about it, it’s a pretty accurate assessment for
what the publishing industry has been going through.

Though, unlike a typical labour (quick intense pain, and regardless of medical
or trained professionals or not, regardless of administration of painkilling
medication or not the baby is going to arrive within a limited period of time),
the publishing industry’s birthing experience has been extremely long and
painful. Something in the realm of 10 to 12 years.

Some would even suggest longer.


The article goes on in an extreme continuation of the analogy to illustrate a chaotic birthing room, my attempt to parallel the panicked reactions of various industry players to digitization. Then I discuss the concept of digital delivery and either digital consumption (eReading) or local printing (via POD).

You can read the entire article (and the entire book) for free by downloading it.  (The file is big, so be patient while it downloads)

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