Change is the vehicle for publishing’s future, not the catalyst of its demise

Intel futurist Brian David Johnson on the future of publishing — and why there will be one.

At the recent TOC conference in New York, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson (@IntelFuturist) gave a keynote address about changing the future. It’s so simple, he said, but changing the future requires us only to “change the story that people tell themselves about the future that they will will live in.” He noted that as writers and publishers, we are not only in control of the narrative, but that we are masters of it, and it’s our job to continue reaching people and changing the narrative, regardless of changing devices or methods of delivery — it’s the story, the narrative, that matters. (You can watch Johnson’s keynote on YouTube.)

I had a chance to sit down with Johnson to talk about the future of publishing and fear of change. He said the beauty of it is that the publishing industry can change and adapt to continue to give readers and consumers what they want. Read more…

Publishers, this is the time to be brave

John Ingram on the importance of taking risks in our environment in transition.

One of the major themes at the recent TOC conference in New York was addressing — and overcoming — the fear of change many in the industry are experiencing in today’s volatile publishing environment. I had an opportunity to sit down with John Ingram, CEO and chairman of Ingram Content Group Inc., to talk about those fears from a publisher’s perspective and how he and his company are approaching the changing landscape. Read more…

Long-form content counterbalances short-form, for consumption as well as creation

Ev Williams on Medium and giving quality content a place.

The Internet gave rise to a plethora of short-attention-span content — one need only look to blog platforms, status updates, and the number of people skilled in writing in 140-characters. In recent months, however, we’re seeing an uptick in the desire for (and production of) deeper, quality content and long-form journalism on the web. Read more…

Self-publishers will be the publishers of the future

Tim O'Reilly on self-publishing and the cycles of democratization via technology.

Tim O’Reilly opened the TOC conference in New York a couple weeks ago with some words of optimism for the publishing industry, noting that copyright common sense is gaining momentum and that our fears of the future are abating. “The fear that everybody had that the new thing was going to be a bad thing is going away,” he said. (You can watch O’Reilly’s keynote on YouTube.)

I had the opportunity to sit down with O’Reilly to talk about the bright future of publishing — a future in which he said self-publishing is going to play a major role:

“There’s no question in my mind that self-publishing is the wave of the future, with one big caveat: self-publishers will become publishers. You know, everybody sees the beginnings of a new democratization via technology. People take advantage of it, they get good at what they do, then they start to extend their services to others.

Read more…

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.

Rich multi-media and a web of devices is driving us to a world of standards

W3C's Jeff Jaffe talks about the Open Web Platform, a harmonious coexistence of HTML5 and EPUB, and the importance of standardization.

At the recent TOC conference in New York, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the World Wide Web Consortium, to talk about the Open Web Platform and standardization issues. In our video interview (embedded below), Jaffe says HTML5 is by no means a replacement for ebook formats like EPUB or Mobi — he says HTML5 is the core markup used on the web and that EPUB can be viewed as a specialization (at the 0:44 mark) and that increased communication between the communities “will allow us to have better standards built into HTML, so that way, publishing specific standards like EPUB would be able to have far greater capabilities.” (At the 1:39 mark.)

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Publishers are entering a “soul-searching moment”

PBS MediaShift executive editor Mark Glaser on the game-changing nature of the self-publishing trend.

In a recent edition of the Mediatwits podcast, Mark Glaser, executive editor at PBS MediaShift, talked with Guy Kawasaki about self-publishing his latest book APE, how he, as an author, makes the decision between self- and traditional publishing, and where publishing is headed. I had an opportunity to sit down with Glaser at the recent TOC conference in New York to find out what he thinks of the self-publishing trend and whether or not he feels it’s an industry game changer.

Read more…