What if the Game of Thrones characters were book publishers?

Similarities between the HBO series and our industry are remarkable

There’s no question that the publishing industry is going through a lot of changes. It’s the last industry to go digital, and as a result going through the fastest disruption. Watching the Game of Thrones is like watching a war between traditional publishing houses, startups, tech giants, indie publishers, and other players in the industry.

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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.

The 7 key features of an online community

They all contribute to the personal experience of the shared space

Here’s something about the user experience of online communities that you’ve probably never considered: everyone in an online community is having a unique, individualized experience, even though they’re all doing it together. Think about that for a second. Your activity feed is not my activity feed, it has different places, people, and pages appearing in it. Some of the posts in your feed may also appear for me, depending on our collective preferences. But most of the time I’ll only see a small portion of the things you see, and then share those with my own subset of friends. It’s like riding the subway. It’s a personal experience in a shared space: a million small interactions that can be meaningful, or totally forgettable.

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Author (R)evolution Day, the Manifesto (Part II)

Collaboration, uncertainty, & rewriting the rules of publishing

I’m Kristen McLean, the founder & CEO of Bookigee, and I’m also the co-chair of TOC’s first conference event designed especially for professional authors and content creators.

This is the second in a two-part essay that lays out the framework for our new conference for authors and creators.

TOC and Publishers Weekly wanted to create this conference because we had a growing awareness that the kinds of conversations and information we were dealing with at TOC—important conversations about the future of publishing—were not making it over the fence to the people who needed it most: the authors and creators.

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