Cinnabar Bridge

August 12, 2008

Think about content

Another of my letters for the BAIPA News [August 2008]

Many think we in the book world are an endangered species. That in the brave new world there will be no books. It reminds me of radio in the 50s when television hit the country. It was going to be the end of radio. Oh my gosh, with pictures on TV who would want to just listen to a radio. And radio did suffer. Their audience declined, the industry moaned and groaned. And today with satellite radio and the Internet and podcasts and rss feeds, radio (audio programs) is thriving. That’s what happening to publishing.

Books aren’t going away. Bookstores won’t disappear completely, but there will be a transformation. We don’t really know what the future will look like, but we do have inklings.

We need to think of ourselves in larger ways – like oil companies need to think of themselves as energy companies, we need to think of ourselves as content delivery companies. Yes it’s still publishing,
but books, printed books, are only one way to deliver the goods. Many of us in BAIPA are already doing this, and that’s great. Keep going.

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, what we want are readers and people who buy our content. Do we really care if they buy a printed book, an ebook, or an audio book? I don’t.

For many of us, the printed book will remain the ideal – it’s a great delivery medium and I love the feel of a book in my hand. I love reading books. There is something intimate, physical, and personal about the whole process. I love having walls of books as my main decorating style.

Talking about content doesn’t sound as romantic as when we talk about printed books, but it’s real and it can make you money. Figure out how your audience, your readers, wants to get your content and then provide it – in some cases it may not even be printed books. Just like some audio media is not radio in the traditional sense.

Some of us may have one book or one idea – so take the opportunity to deliver this idea, this content in as many ways as makes sense to you. Check out Lee Foster’s web site http://www.fostertravel.com/ to see how one member is managing his content.

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