The Top Ten Blogs on the future of books, media and publishing

Eoin Purcell
    1/ Publishing 2.0
    Scott Karp really does think and it shows. His posts are clear, concise, well written and interesting. If he is driven more perhaps from the revenue perspective his commentary only benefits from this.

    2/ if:book
    The Institute of the Future of the Book’s blog. The Ronseal of Book blogs [It does what it says on the tin], this site is really a hub for changes and possibilities on text and its future. Well thought out, at the forefront of change and tools for change this blog is for theory and application what Scott Karp is for the economics and revenues.

    3/ Buzzmachine
    Jeff Jarvis is the real deal. In a phrase he likes to use himself, he “gets it!” Never afraid to try (witness his own video reports) always encouraging and enthusiastic his blog is one of the most important in point possible directions for the news media (especially the changes necessary for print media).

    4/ Open Access News
    I don’t think you can discuss the changes in media and print without considering Open Access and its potential. If you care about these topics then you need to read Open Access News written by Peter Suber.

    5/ Booktwo
    Though not new, Booktwo is new to me. That aside it is an essential link to the changing technology and media environment. Somehow James manages to get his hands on great links and info before anyone else. And he works at one of my favourite publishers Snowbooks.

    6/ Medialoper
    Medialoper is one of a pair of blogs (booksquare being the other) that I love and read daily. It is not simply the links and nods to others in the area of change that Medialoper provides freely, Medialoper as a blog takes a much more considered perspective and avoids the breathlessness that can at times enter the discussion about the future. I like that.

    7/ Plagiarism today
    Jonathan Bailey has built an impressive body of material regarding copyright/plagiarism and the abuse of content on the web. In so many ways his site allows the reader and the less well informed to not only keep up to date with developments in protecting content from scrapping etc. but also the theory and debate that underpin modern copyright.

    8/ Personanondata
    If you want to know more about the possible tie-ups between the powers in publishing, the potential for data in the digital future or the likely trajectory of digital text in the education market, Michael Cairns’ blog is the spot for it. Relatively new on the scene it is one of the best in terms of analysing and discussing change both real and possible. His knowledge of the US market is hugely useful in making sense of company announcements and strategic decisions.

    9/ PaidContent
    Who doesn’t like PaidContent, a blog that has industry access, runs meet ups and generally functions like an institution much older than it actually is. Not only is PaidContent a blog about the changing nature and economics of Content it is itself a paragon example of that change.

    10/ Invisible Inkling
    Ryan Sholin started this blog as a student of journalism and has developed it since. His posts are insightful and useful for those wondering what the people entering careers in the media are thinking.

Lists are fun
See 11-20 Here

The Digital Tsunami

Eoin Purcell

Thoughts on digital

Watching a fascinating (if worrying) documentary the other night on Tsunamis [Yes it has been said to me that between my obsession with documentaries of all sorts, my extreme non-fiction bookshelf and my actual daily work I come close to being the real life nerd] and the potential for a devastating one in the aftermath of an earthquake in thePacific Northwest and a certain point struck me squarely. That was that the idea that the real cause of damage and change is not the initial wave front which is devastating in itself but the flow of water often at the same of slight lower levels as the initial wave front. The quote below from Wikipedia illustrates what I mean:

Most of the damage is caused by the huge mass of water behind the initial wave front, as the height of the sea keeps rising fast and floods powerfully into the coastal area. The sheer weight of water is enough to pulverise objects in its path, often reducing buildings to their foundations and scouring exposed ground to the bedrock. Large objects such as ships and boulders can be carried several miles inland before the tsunami subsides.

And why is this relevant to Digital Publishing and Digital Content?
Because the real damage to the traditional model is not the initial wave of digital content. That after all has been around now for some time and Publishers (Newspaper, Music, Film and Books) are still robust and profitable. It is the wave after wave after wave blows that have followed that initial front that are doing the damage. The only difference is that this wave is not going to subside or reduce or return to its normal flow, this tsunami is going to continue to flow.

And Realities

So what are the signs of real change?
Well for one Adobe have launched a new e-reader and so have Sony. The Adobe product is software and based on your desktop. It is slick and flashy but I don’t like it. I guess that just me. You can get it here but be warned it is still a BETA product.

The Sony product gave rise to rumours of $500,000 sales of e-books in the first weeks of its Sony Connect Store.

It is a tough world out there. one of the shrewdest sites and certainly the most prolific poster of news had two interesting pieces on the economics/realities of digital publishing for the newspaper industry. One pointed out that a pessimistic view of online revenues would suggest that it would be: 30 Years Till Online Represent 50% of Total Newspaper Revenues while another highlighted how the: FT Editor Mulls ‘High Stakes’ Of The Digital Evolution.

But some people get it. If you think that the Sony Connect story is real then here is the Real GETTING REAL. 37signals, the web applications company behind backpack (A service I use and love) recently published in PDF format their story. Since it was released they have sold 23,000 books at $19.00. Now that is $437,000 in revenue from one title, with little or no production cost and only the cost of downloads and site maintenance. The actual paper copy will cost $29.00 an amazing price for such a slim volume and I imagine they will get it! Good for them. The real kicker here is that they did all this in digital first not print and then digital.

So what to make of it all?

You may make of it what you will but from it all I draw this:

    1) Digital will continue to pound traditional.
    2) It is likely to be profitable (Scott Karp wonders how profitable)
    3) Traditional Media will have to move more rapidly
    4) WOW you can sure sell e-books when there is a demand!
    5) Sounds like what I have been saying for a while.

Enjoying the length of this post.

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 22/09/06

The news doesn’t look too good for print news. If you have read many of my posts on this topic you will know that I don’t fully buy the whole print will die thing. Radio has not gone anywhere. Sure it’s not the force it was at it height but it still makes money and has adapted (Albeit painfully) to the new reality. Still this post from The Editors Weblog [via Buzzmachine] is interesting because it gives a French perspective and one particular Frenchman: Arnaud Lagadère.

Seems like a lot of news to down the spirits of journalists. Though this news, I think, should really cheer them up. has been given a $100,000 financing gift by Reuters. Looks like the project will definitely float now which is exciting.
Here & Here

Jennifer Jackson has an interesting post today about connections, agent vs. author time and some other stuff all riffing off a post she highlights. Both are worth reading.
Here & Here

Find of the Month

Just read two posts by Bloglily which I can only describe as some of the best blog posts ever. One of the great things about WordPress is that it has an exciting and vibrant set of bloggers who are deeply into writing, prose and literature. Ranging from Litlove’s Tales from the Reading Room to Bloglily’s site there is so much on offer. I have decided today that Bloglily is my Find of the Month for September 2006.
Because she is so full of enthusiasm for everyone’s work, because her discussion is free and open and elegant, because she never disappoints with a post and because her encouragement and spirit are inspirational to everyone.
Go visit BL Here.

Catching my breath
Eoin is kicking off

I am very excited about this project if only because I see it as a fantastic model for publishing in general. If it works for news I can see no reason why it will not work for books of all kinds!

There are many opinions on this project and not all of them favourable but I remain sure it will have excellent results and ones favourable for journalism, reporting and the professional side of the industry too.

Read more on the topic, concept and progress by Jay Rosen Here
Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine has some thoughts too Here