Book Business EXTRA! Q&A -- Cofounder of iAmplify Speaks About Helping HarperCollins Provide Audio and Video Content Online That Go ‘Beyond the Book.’
EXTRA! -- Is this something you see other publishers taking notice of?
Hidary -- Going beyond the book takes book publishing to a whole other level. Things are not just going digital in the sense of [things like] audio going from tape to download. That’s a small part of it. The big picture is the book publishing model--HarperCollins is realizing--is fundamentally changing. What they realized was that they were in the position to get ahead of the curve on this, to be the first publisher out of the box to initiate this new model. We now have the ability with the iAmplify platform to give Harper and authors the ability to, on a regular basis, publish fresh content, fresh material, audio and video, and interact with their audiences.
EXTRA! -- How will this serve the relationship between HarperCollins and its customers?
Hidary -- For the first time, HarperCollins, a major, major publisher in this country, now will have direct access to its audience members. Harper today only has three customers, Barnes and Nobel, Borders and Amazon. The ability to have more than three customers, to know who the actual readers are, is a wonderful opportunity for HarperCollins. They’re certainty not going to do that now by selling books directly. That would undermine their traditional channels. With this new model of ‘beyond the book,’ we will know who is signing up to hear Jack Welch. Harper can have a direct relationship with them. That’s a fundamental difference from the traditional book publishing model.
EXTRA! -- How would the feedback help publishers?
Hidary-- I think this gives us a medium for immediate feedback as to what readers want. In both in nonfiction and fiction, all the major categories in publishing. We put a mixture of content on the Digital Media Cafe. From that range, we get immediate feedback of what users want. Editors can then take that feedback. I think the feedback is critical.