Cul-de-sac

May 2, 2011

In a very interesting interview Seth Godin talked about the publishing industry. He shared his ideas on the question where books might be headed. Seth recently launched a new project, trying to change the way books are sold and distributed. The Domino Project has already produced some successes.

One of the intriguing statements Seth made was about adding multimedia to books.

He called this a cul-de-sac.

In his view it will become a crying game. He compared the days publishers produced cd-roms with Vietnam. He mentioned several publishers going nearly broke.

In Seth’s opinion a book is written by one person and at some point the product is finished.

Multi Media projects are produced by lots of people. Being software projects they are never finished.

I found this quite interesting, even a bit alarming. I had the idea that adding multimedia would change the way we read. Maybe it’s not books as such that need a change, maybe it will be magazine like products. Maybe only textbooks will turn into multimedia.

Anyway: the interview is great. Take the time and listen.


Game, Set and Match?

February 4, 2011

The Daily is a bold move in two ways.

First and foremost it’s price and the strategy behind it. Less than a dollar a week. Nobody expected this to happen. A dollar per issue was the general expectation. This price defines the game for tablet publishing and will be hard to ignore, because consumers will come to see it as the de facto standard. Mr. Murdoch just put another wall on his content, one might say.

The Daily is iPad only. My guess is that web access will dry up, at least after the two weeks of free trials. How this will play out, is hard to predict.

One can argue that this move is just one in a series of well planned and executed movements to work towards a model for paid content. Mr. Murdoch spoke many times on the unsustainable position of publishers when they keep giving away their product for free. And, at least in my humble opinion, right so. High Quality Content is difficult to produce and the makers of  creative works should be compensated.

But one can also argue that the web community will  find ways to hack the content anyway or that news is freely available on the web and therefore there is no need at all for paid dailies. And then there is the broad discussion on the nature of the web (open or closed) and even the predictions on the death of the web. Apps rule, so to speak.

We will see. The user will decide.

One very important rule in launching a new product or service, however comes to my mind. A client of mine always used to tell his people that a new thing has to be faster, better, easier and cheaper than the existing offerings. Seen from this perspective I think it will be Game, Set and Match.