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Penguin 2.0 Mashes Up Essays and Short Texts

Penguin’s new project — dubbed “Penguin 2.0” — incorporates elements of customization and remixing found in Web content. Jeff Gomez, Penguin’s senior director of online consumer sales and marketing, discusses the program with the New York Observer:

… in 2009 the company will introduce a program that allows customers to choose from a variety of short stories, essays, and other short standalone texts and combine them into custom-made collections. Mr. Gomez said the program is part of Penguin’s effort to incorporate elements of so called ‘Web 2.0’ into publishing without abandoning print …

… He cautioned, however, that he “would never want to break apart an entire book” and thereby render the full-length volume obsolete the way iTunes has done to the 74-minute LP.

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Comments: 2

  1. um… a press release like this — with no mention of the _price_
    that will be charged for the “mashups” — is quite meaningless…

    checking out their site, i see they’re charging $17 for a p.o.d.
    collection of a potpourri of public-domain materials, which is
    perhaps not all that bad for a 340-page book, since it includes
    a one-page “dedication” that can be personalized by the giver.

    but other than that dedication, that’s not a customized book.

    at the same time, moreover, they are charging $8-$10 _each_
    for a warmed-over bunch of well-worn public-domain titles,
    which is highway robbery.

    if that’s “publishing 2.0”, you can count me and consumers out.


  2. if i wasn’t clear, they’re charging $8-$10 _each_ for _e-books_,
    which are all freely available from umpteen public-domain sites.

    yeah, right, they’ll make a lot of sales on that…