Reimagining the publisher (but not too far)
I'm usually pleased with Kassia Krozser's blog. Her posts tend to be thoughtful and sometimes far-sighted, but this reimagining of the publisher just doesn't seem to go very far. I suspect it seems more radical from the perspective of a position in one of today's publishing houses, but if so I'm not sure that would be the best criterion.
Given the likely shake ups to come in the book trade, will we still see the same departments represented? Will editors remain recognizably the same, even down to the various categories of acquisition, copy, marketing, etc.? Yes, a greater awareness of, and experience with, apps and suites is likely, but that will be true in many fields, and that experience is not likely to reinforce the existing structures of publishers as we know them. Nor does it seem likely that young authors, coming to the table with already established web presences, will need the same services from publishers that their predecessors did. Authors seem to be rather traditional in Krozser's vision.
This was interesting: MacMillan apparently hired a 'director of privacy,' and her description suggests the position was unintentionally designed to be a study in frustration. The publisher of the future will have no choice but to adopt a more productive approach than that.
And parking this piece by "leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author" Ross Dawson here. Also about the future of books and publishing, but nothing earth shatteringly new.
And also, this article, called 'Complex Objects, Complex Rights,' that takes on the question of pricing and rights for ebooks from a very marketing/corporate perspective that is useful to examine:
"...[T]he transition to complex objects, particularly those that are web native and embed pointers to resources existing across the network, is one that the publishing industry has yet to get its head around. I know that publishers would ideologically like to have these assets bundled into a single physical file (or small set of linked files) for purposes of both ready technical translation and rights control, but I suspect that we will wind up with “narrative experiences” that are actually not wholly “owned” but increasingly have at least some of their aspects licensed for performance rights (instead of having been either commissioned or licensed for broader rights), or that rely on blanket proffered commercial license terms. UGC that is just-in-time and custom-embeddable into transmedia productions will only hasten the transition to more complex rights packages...."
"From the limited terrain that I can see, traditional publishers are not well positioned in terms of their competencies to compete in this area, and I think we will find a wide range of new entrants, particularly those from gaming, movie and audio recording and production studios, and other more innovative media groups. The consequences for the further attenuation of digital first sale are obvious, and one can expect that the “publisher” and end user relationship will be governed by restrictive licensing covenants."