The 'Un-Demise' Of Publishing - InformationWeek

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2/20/2009
11:47 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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The 'Un-Demise' Of Publishing

I've been having interesting conversations about content and content management of late with consultant Russ Edelman, an enterprise content management veteran and recent first-time author. I found his thoughts on the recent O'Reilly Tools of Change Publishing conference worth sharing.

I've been having interesting conversations about content and content management of late with consultant Russ Edelman, an enterprise content management veteran and recent first-time author. I found his thoughts on the recent O'Reilly Tools of Change Publishing conference worth sharing.Russ is CEO of Corridor Consulting, and the book is "Nice Guys Can Get The Corner Office." Here are Russ' observations from the conference:

I took three main messages from the show:

First, the publishing industry is not dead. Well, it may be dead or dying for those publishers whose heads are buried in the "we only print books" sand. The message was clear that people are interested in reading; however, now they want to supplement their craving with experiences including video clips, digital imagery, and social collaboration. "The future of content consumption and distribution is digital, mobile, and networked," said Andrew Savikas, VP of digital initiatives for O'Reilly and the program chair. "Publishers need to understand that all publishing is now digital publishing, and all writing is now writing for the Web."

Second, the audience is becoming as important in content contributions as the author. Readers want a voice, so the social communities that wrap themselves around an author's book or topic are equally as relevant as the author's viewpoints. Successful books are now becoming "networked commodities" that are "increasingly social and not a private act," said Peter Brantley, executive director of the Digital Library Foundation. His contention: "reading will become less about the book and more about the people that read them." With tools such as wikis, the IT vendor community is recognizing the importance of blending the traditional mediums together with those of social communities. Slowly, technologies are beginning to emerge in support of this direction.

Third, the rise of e-media doesn't necessarily negate the need for the world of "p-media" -- the printed word. Innovations in print certainly caught the attention of many, most notably the 'Espresso' print-on-demand machine. We watched as the fully integrated printing and binding machine produced fully bound books in 4 to 7 minutes. In one machine, it could repurpose the traditional brick and mortar bookstore by moving away from the burden of inventory management. Also impressive: Ebook, a potential competitor to the Kindle from Plastic Logic, looks amazingly thin, flexible, and promises to be compatible with many different e-formats. Plastic Logic say it's a year away from introduction.

Content is far from dead, though it is different. The adage of "Publish or Perish" must be amended to "Publish and Collaborate Or Perish."

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