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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Futureproofing Publishing

First, a definition (as I think it applies to this post) of futureproofing (or future-proofing):

A slang term used to describe any technology that will not become outdated any time in the near future --- Webopedia


Futureproof is a collection of articles, experiments, and tools that enrich your life by helping you develop a more sophisticated relationship with technology.

We explore the larger personal and interpersonal implications of technology use through research and philosophy. Based on this research and philosophy, we design interactive experiments to help you discover how technology use affects you. We also create tools that help you use technology better–by mitigating the bad effects and nurturing the good. In other words, we think deeply about technology use and well-being, and we create tools to make them complementary.

Our ambition is to create a new understanding of what it means to use technology well. This new understanding evaluates technology by referring to human needs and values, rather than by comparing technology to itself. With this human-centric perspective, our conception of skillful technology use shifts focus from technical proficiency, to using technology in ways that promote health, happiness, and compassion --- I Am Futureproof

Pottermore, JK Rowling’s online ebookstore, has presented a model/platform that has had an immediate impact on the publishing industry and will have, if developed properly, a more intense and substantial impact in the future.

Key to the Pottermore ebookstore's game changing concept is forcing Amazon to send buyers of its books, showcased on Amazon, to its own ebook site for purchase (Amazon gets a finder's fee). This gives Pottermore direct access to end user data and control over the selling price :)

More info provided by Suw Charman-Anderson in Forbes:

Pottermore: Developing A Blueprint For Futureproof Publishing

Matteo Berlucchi has written a great piece on Pottermore and its potential impact on the publishing industry over at FutureBook. In it, Berlucchi suggests that Pottermore, JK Rowling’s online ebookstore, is an “extremely important” precedent which shows publishers that it is possible to rework their relationship with Amazon in a way that forges stronger ties between publisher and reader.

“Pottermore transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window. Pottermore uses Amazon (and all other ebook retailers online) as an affiliate which attracts customers to their ebook store in exchange for a finder’s fee. Thus, Pottermore gains direct access to the end user details (alongside Amazon as both companies know that the user has purchased the ebook).

In this model, says Berlucchi, publishers get control over the cost of ebooks and how much retailers earn in ‘introduction fees’. They also benefit from the creation of a direct relationship between publisher and reader, invaluable for marketing and market research, and unprecedented access to user data.

Berlucchi’s right, but the industry needs to take the Pottermore idea several steps further if they are to reap all the rewards it has to offer. There is a window of opportunity now to expand upon the concept of a publisher-centric ebook hub, to take Pottermore’s partial blueprint and use it to futureproof publishing.

Read and learn more

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