I like Snowbooks, so I’m biased
But the post today announcing that they are making proof copies of some of their books available for download and print via Lulu is really very very smart:
In what I shall call An Interesting Experiment, we are making available some books and samplers waaay before publication via Lulu.
as a publisher, you should be comfortable with enabling the consumer to – in effect – make his or her own product. As an example, a publisher can make content available to consumers during what historically may have been considered the production process: Consumers can comment, add their own notes and links, perhaps add their own content and, at the point the consumer is satisfied they have a product they want, they can ‘publish’ it. That point of publishing may or may not coincide with the publishers’ date and, in fact, the publisher may not ever ‘complete’ their books in a traditional sense but allow them to live and breath and enable any future consumer to decide when they want to ‘publish’.
Snowbooks are starting this process. No there is no feedback mechanism per say (though Emma’s e-mail and phone number are pretty freely available so feedback could flow) but this is surely a step in the direction of the kind of access and openness that Michael describes.
Good luck to Snowbooks on this one, a fine experiment.