O’Reilly Tools of Change

I’m at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Publishing, in San Jose.

I did the rounds of electronic publishing conferences a decade ago (can it be?) and there’s a strong sense of déjà vu. The imminent end of print publishing was predicted, again; new e-book readers and formats were discussed; and, while the names have changed, the exhibits all looked the same.

The only difference is, this time I believe it. The solutions are no longer ahead of their time, the scenarios aren’t unrealistic, paper is being given credit where it deserves it, and we’ve got the long tail to reassure us that it’ll all be okay: even if you don’t get everything right, you can still live forever in the long tail. Like the guys who still make vinyl records.

I presented our Pre-Pub and Community Pricing models under the embarrassingly confident title “Business Models that Guarantee Profitability in Publishing.” My favorite part was showing a 1790 “Proposals for Printing by Subscription” that illustrates how un-original our model really is. (You can see it in my PDF handout.)

Lunch with one of our publishing partners and dinner with another capped off a very thought-provoking day.

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