Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Line Survival, by Terena

While on my quasi hiatus over the Summer, I collected several interesting articles about publishing, book marketing, and social networking. Here's one of the more interesting ones:

From Business Week - Book Publishers: Learn From Digg, Yelp—Even Gawker
Book publishing could keep itself vital by taking a page from Web 2.0 technologies, but it has a long way to go. Here are some lessons.

This article intrigued me because I am interested in the way the Internet and other forms of technology are changing business, especially the book business. Look at the Music Industry. For the last fifteen years Music Companies have struggled to retain control over their property, the bands they produce and the music those bands create. Anyone can download music for free with ease and share it with all of their friends, on-line and off. Plus, a band doesn't have to be "signed" anymore to find exposure and listeners. Thanks to I Tunes and My Space, your weekend garage band can be listened to by a world wide audience. However, with so many bands competing on line for your attention, how do they stand out from the white noise of the Internet?

Now it's the book industry's turn to figure out how to survive in a digital age. Some publishers are wondering if books are dead. If so, what's next? Many smaller publishers are only creating e-books because they believe e-book readers and on-line zines are the future. In ten years, paper books will be obsolete. The article implies everyone will be reading on a Kindle.

Rather than be afraid of all these technological changes and the impact they are having in the book industry, I want to learn and strategize so Medusa's Muse will survive into the future. So should every publisher.

Just like the music industry, the book market is flooded with books from small presses and self-publishers, all competing for the attention of a decreasing reading market. How can we find our audience? This article discusses that.

From the article:

Reading a book is an incredibly solitary experience. That's both a blessing and a curse. Like most busy professionals, I don't have a lot of downtime. What little free time I have could easily be filled by other pursuits—chiefly, time with a husband I rarely see. When I do commit to a book I love, I want to talk about it. This impulse explains why book clubs were all the rage in the 1990s.

There has to be a way for Web 2.0—a movement whose raison d'etre is to connect people—to meet the ongoing need for building community around books.

What's your online strategy?

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