In view of the impact of online bookselling and self-publishing, technology commentator Guy Kawasaki thinks traditional trade publishers are in danger of going the way of the dodo. That’s the flightless bird eaten out of existence because it couldn’t adapt fast enough.
But, he says in a guest column for Publishing Perspectives, publishers who are able to “add value will profit and survive, and companies who don’t [will] wither and die.” He offers 10 strategies publishers can undertake to bring value to the process of developing, discovering, and distributing quality content.
Among those strategies are ditching the fight for digital rights management, a losing battle in Kawasaki’s view, and making it possible for print-book purchasers to receive a free copy of the electronic version every time they buy. The electronic version, of course, should be readable on any platform.
Kawasaki also thinks publishers need to support authors more, specifically by offering grants to help authors pay bills while they write, setting up a web marketplace for author services, and providing more assistance with marketing, especially in the social media realm. These strategies, he says, will not only boost the quality of books but also give publishers a better chance at unearthing standout authors.
The 10 strategies apply mostly to trade titles, not textbooks. However, given the recent hue and cry over open educational resources, the manner in which instructional materials are sourced and published is likely to shift. Cost concerns may force educational content to be published in smaller chunks that are not only cheaper and adaptable, but also produced by more freelance authors outside of academia.