Guest Column: The New Give-to-Get Publishing Economy: Edith D. Wilson, R.I.P.
This disconnect in awareness and valuation comes into full relief when matters of digital content pricing rear their head, a topic where the disconnect inside and outside houses is perhaps largest. Many consumers falsely believe that the majority of cost in book production is the manufacturing or distribution—let’s call this its “format value”—instead of the cost of acquiring and developing the authors’ work. They intuit that digital products should be vastly cheaper if the physical format is eliminated. The physical format, however, is not the majority of a publisher’s cost—the acquisition and development of that content is.
As digital content publishing and consumption grows, and as consumers’ expectations around digital content pricing become clearer, publishers will need not only to create new types of digital content that consumers value—such as textual content that integrates rich media audio and video—but to accelerate and expand their ability to provide more curative and contextual value for consumers for all formats of books. Book publishers will need to help reinvent reading for the 21st century as well as help readers know about the best of the best, whether published by them or by someone else. And consumers will reward those who find ways to engage readers during the content creation process.
There’s lots to do, and luckily many have gotten started. I am enthusiastic about the emerging engagement that I see:
- Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt’s presentation, “Blogging as a Tool for Change,” from a recent conference at MichaelHyatt.com;
- HarperStudio’s blog, which provides the inside track on a whole new publishing model (TheHarperStudio.com);
- Jennifer Hart’s BookClubGirl.com—a publisher-led consumer forum for reading groups.
Yet, I was disappointed to find that if you search online for “book editor blogs,” the No. 1 spot is held by Editorial Anonymous. What? Edith D. Wilson lives?