Monday, July 21, 2008

“Leverage the Damn Book”

“Leverage the Damn Book,” is the title of the Editor’s Note in the June 2008 issue of Book Business magazine from editor-in-chief, Noelle Skodzinksi. The title of the note is actually a quote from Michael Cader, founder of Publisher’s Marketplace and daily e-newsletter, Publishers Lunch, taken from a presentation at the Book Industry Study Group’s “Making Information Pay” event.

The book, Cader said, “is the [most] meaningful place for you to have meaningful interaction with your readers…When I finish a book, I want to know what to do next… Can I write the author? … Is there a club? … If there’s a Web site, don’t just give me a URL, tell me what’s good there.” [Cader’s] larger message: “Get your mind-set out of the book business and into the reader business.”

Great advice for authors and publishers in the spirit of innovation and making the reader the boss.

At a publishing conference last year I was reminded that the definition of publishing is: "to make public." So often we equate publishing with books, but we all know that paper and ink is just a (shrinking) piece of the publishing pie. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE books. I believe in books. The "technology" of a printed, bound book is genius and has endured for hundreds of years. I am not one to declare that print is dead, or even dying. Heck, as far as publishing goes, humans still use carved stone and the equivalent cave painting to communicate messages, tell stories, express art, etc. It is the way people read that is changing. I read more blogs than books now. I like having links to additional content. I like posting my reactions and questions to things that make me think or change my mind. I like connecting with other readers. I even like funny pictures and chewing on just 500 words at a time. I've probably read twice as much content from my iPhone than any other medium in the last six months.

So, what are some ways we can"leverage the damn book," in light of changing reading habits?

No comments: