Creation and Evolution


Today marks the conclusion of the second annual O’Reilly TOC (Tools of Change) Conference for Publishing. As you might expect, virtually every discussion that took place at that conference revolved in some way, shape, or form around how technology is evolving the book industry. Here are the titles of some of the sessions on Day One of the three-day conference:

  • 10 Bestsellers: Using New Media, New Marketing and New Thinking to Create 10 Bestselling Books
  • The Supply Chain Evolution
  • Audience as Authors: Creating, Managing, and Sustaining a Community of Contributors
  • The Iceberg: Content & Creators Under the Market’s Surface
  • E-Textbooks: Driving the Future of Education
  • Next Generation Web Publishing
  • Digital Strategy and Action
  • Blogs as Books, Books as Blogs
  • Making the Digital Leap: Protecting the Value of Your Business in the Migration from Print to Electronic
  • Information 3.0: Will Publishers Matter?

You think maybe it’s time for even the most traditional publishers to go ahead and accept that they have no choice but to figure out a way to conduct their business digitally? Stephen Abram, Vice President of Innovation for SirsiDynix and keynote speaker for the Information 3.0: Will Publishers Matter? session, summed it up nicely when he posed the following question:

Do you want to help create the world, or let it happen to you?

Looks like Random House is in creation mode. They’ve decided to experiment with selling individual chapters of the popular business book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die online for $2.99 per chapter. Matt Shatz, VP of Digital at Bertelsmann AG’s Random House Inc., says the decision was made because, “We want to get our content out there in new and different ways.”

The same article goes on to inform that HarperCollins is releasing free online copies of some of its titles in an attempt to increase sales. It wasn’t two weeks ago I blogged about an author who was using this very approach in my Eat More Custard post.

Another concept introduced at the Tools of Change Conference was Smashwords, a new ebook publishing platform that enables authors and publishers to publish in a matter of minutes. Smashwords authors receive 85% of their net sales while maintaining control over pricing, marketing, and sampling; publishers have the opportunity to digitize their entire portfolios; and readers get affordable content in an increasingly preferred manner. According to founder Mark Coker, everybody wins:

I think ebooks will become increasingly important to the book publishing industry, and will make books more affordable to a worldwide audience. By digitizing a book, authors and publishers can immortalize their works, making them permanently discoverable to new audiences. For authors and publishers of out of print books, ebooks offer a great way to bring these works back to life.

Everywhere you look, it seems there’s no getting around it: The secret to creating the circle of life in publishing requires a digital evolution.

Questions about marketing platforms, plans and promotions may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book : 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at

Categories: Publishing

Author: Michael Drew