Monday, March 30, 2009

Headliner Books -- Nearly Instant Publishing From Headline to Book

After complaining about the need for editing on House of Cards, I find that maybe I am being a little too picky.  Evidently rushing a book to market is a new trend.  Of course it is a trend that serves no purpose if it means that the book reach the market as a poorly organized, poorly edited collections of words and paragraphs. 

The New York Times this morning, has a fascinating article by Motoko Rich entitled You've Read the Headlines.  Now, Quick, Read the Book. 

Rich reports that publishing is starting to pick up it's pace:

But as the metabolism of the culture has sped up in the digital age, pockets of the publishing industry are prodding themselves out of their Paleolithic ways and joining the rush, with more books on current events coming out faster than ever before.

She sites George Soros'  latest book The New Paradigm for Financial Markets which was published as an eBook a mere ten days after it went to the publisher.

Not to be out done, Robert T. Kiyosaki, the best-selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad has taken to posting each chapter on the web as he finishes it.  The entire book, Conspiracy of the Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money is due out in paperback form in September.

Several years ago Steven King was one of the authors who pioneered the idea of posting book chapters online.  Several years later we began to see books complied from blog posts like Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.  This year we are seeing  books that are nothing more than complied Twitter Posts (Tweets).

All of this activity still comes back to the central question; what exactly is a book?  eBooks have obliterated the idea that is something contained between two covers. 

Yet, Publishers still seem to think that a book is just a collection of words bunched together in sentences and paragraphs with an occasional picture thrown in.  They see their job in terms of acting as a gateway to the marketplace.

They fail to recognize that they are more than basic content providers.  The Internet is slowly doing away with gatekeepers.  Unless Publishers find ways to add value to raw information by presenting it in a organized and useful fashion they will go the way of all dinosaurs.

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