Friday, June 22, 2007

Tools of Change for Publishing

This is the 800th post to this blog.

I'm amazed to be writing those words. A friend asked me how on earth I wrote 800 posts. I responded, "One post at a time."

I wasn't being flip. It was the absolute truth. When I first began blogging, every day was a struggle to find something to write about. But, somewhere around the sixth month, that changed. I began to find lots of things to talk about and really began to enjoy the process. Now it's as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth or feeding the cats.

In November, 2005--three months after I started this blog--I wrote a post about a man I admire. His name is Tim O'Reilly, and you can read that post here.

O'Reilly is one of the few people for whom I readily use the word "visionary" as a descriptor. His O'Reilly Media has consistently proven itself to be on the cutting edge of publishing. This week O'Reilly's blog reported:

One of the compelling lessons of the digital music revolution was that people wanted to acquire and share songs, not albums. The analogies to books are imperfect, because books tend to be more of an essential organic whole than albums, but even with books, especially reference or tutorial books, it's certainly possible that someone wants only part of a book. Based on this idea, we've had a goal for quite some time to enable "by the chapter" purchase and download. We've finally got this working, just in time for rollout at our Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, which starts on Monday with tutorials, and with the full conference program on Tuesday.

Go to virtually any O'Reilly catalog page (well, actually, 350 books are live as of Saturday night), and in addition to the existing options (buy this book, buy a downloadable pdf, buy reprint rights, read online with Safari), you can now buy individual chapters for $3.99 each.

You'll find O'Reilly's blog here.

The "Tools of Change for Publishing" conference O'Reilly is referring to was a first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss the future of the industry. It was held from Monday to Wednesday of this week in San Jose, California.

I've been looking for any tidbits I can find coming out of that meeting. O'Reilly is a big open source advocate, and I was hoping he'd have video of the presentations available on the conference website. As of Thursday afternoon, they were not yet there. My other hope is that Michael Cader of Publishers Marketplace videotaped the meetings and will post them on his website the way he did the meetings from BEA.

There was a nugget that drifted out of the conference courtesy of Publishers Weekly. Here it is:

Manolis Kelaidis, a designer, engineer and lecturer at Britain's Royal College of Art, and his extraordinary project bLink, an idiosyncratic effort to create a book that combined the qualities of the physical book with the digital functionality of a computer—the next generation book. Constructed with embedded electronics and conductive inks, it's the prototype of a bound and printed book that, believe it or not, includes hyperlinks like a Web page. A reader can use a finger on the book's paper pages like a computer's cursor on the screen. Touch the paper hyperlink and a Bluetooth signal opens a Web page on a nearby screenthat serves up information, music, translations or video that correspond to that link, as if the book were a paper and ink computer.

Kelaidis has turned his love of the book into a book-device that thrilled an audience brought together to plan the end of the print book. The audience responded with a long and resoundingly enthusiastic standing ovation—the only one given these past three days. Yes, it's basically a quirky (though rigorously conceived) art project, but Kelaidis made the old-fashioned book new again, using digital know-how. His book clearly touched some kind of emotional hyperlink in an audience that wasn't as cynical about its attachment to the traditional book as the previous three days may have suggested.

I'll report more details from the conference as they come available.


Sherry Davis said...

Thanks! For 800 great posts :)

Maya Reynolds said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sherry.

It's always good to hear from you.



David Roth said...


Congratulations. When you hit 1,000 we should have a party. Or at least raise a pint in honor of the occasion. My blog the last two days has been sort of on writing. Yesterday, I mentioned yours as one I read daily, and offered it as a good resource on the pulse of the industry.

Again, congratulations.

Maya Reynolds said...

Thank you, David. I appreciate you more than I can say.

Warm regards,


Maya Reynolds said...

Hey, David: How did I miss that you had a blog? I see you've been blogging since January. Sorry I wasn't paying attention.