April 27, 2006
News & Opinion: What's Next For Books?
Arun asked me in the comments of Books Have To Change to give my opinion on what was going to happen. It is a great question. It was the cover story of U.S. News and World Report on March 13th.
This has had me thinking for the last two weeks. I am not sure I know, but I have gathered a couple of examples of what people are trying.
Bruce Judson and HaperCollins have published Go It Alone online. They have set it up with each web page giving you the text you would find on the page of the book. They are experimenting with Google Ads next to the copy as a revenue stream for this method of publishing. In the U.S. News article, HarperCollins thinks this may be a fourth format after hardcover, paperback, and audio. I think this is interesting, but it is taking one format and forcing it into another.
Robert Frenay and Farrar, Straus and Giroux have also released Pulse online. There are doing it in a more trendy manner. There are posting the whole book through a series of blog posts that started early this month and will run through November. You'll find links in the text to the original sources. You can also see a tag cloud for the entries that have been posted, the most views entries, and an index from the book. I think this is pretty clever, but I am still not sure if the format conversion works. Do you want to wait six months read the whole book? The obvious ploy here is to get people interested in the book and hope that they buy.
I think these examples show other ways to deliver content to audiences and these will surely evolve with time. I'll give you some other thoughts next week.