The Internet has fundamentally changed reader/writer dynamics

Wattpad's Allen Lau on the changing publishing landscape and the influence of the social network.

The disruption in publishing is affecting every aspect of the industry, from the way stories are created to how they’re published to how they’re consumed. And much like many other areas of our lives, the writing and reading processes are becoming more social and more mobile, giving rise to community reader/writer platforms like Wattpad.

At the recent TOC conference in New York, I had the chance to sit down with Allen Lau, co-founder and CEO of Wattpad, to talk about the changing publishing landscape. In our video interview (embedded below), Lau attributes the shifts in the way content is created, discovered, and consumed to the Internet:

“I think the Internet has fundamentally changed the way people connect. In the last few years, the advancement of the social network — both from the social perspective and from the technology perspective — has advanced a lot, and that helps to bring the readers and the writers together. For the first time in human history, writers can reach out to millions of people in other parts of the world that they could never have reached.

“So, that creates a very interesting dynamic among the readers and writers because the scale is very different now. Someone who is sitting in the comfort of their own home can reach, potentially, millions of people. Those people can not only consume the content, but they can also participate in part of the content creation. In some cases on Wattpad, the readers would write Chapter 2 for the writer. People who have never met before may co-write a story together. That completely changes the dynamics, and the readers, in a way, are part of the content creation process, too.” (At the 1:57 mark.)

Lau also talks about mobile ereading, the role self-publishing will play, and he predicts the end of the term “traditional publisher.” You can view Lau’s full interview in the following video:

All keynotes and video interviews from TOC NY 2013 can be found on the TOC 2013 YouTube playlist.

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