Book publishers, on the other hand, have traditionally either focused on “digital” as a secondary medium, or worse, not even as a distinct medium at all, simply a fascimile or marketing channel for their print products. In doing so, they’ve effectively positioned themselves for easier disintermediation, being seen as container manufacturers instead of content curators and community organizers.
In backing down, I suspect Jobs saw the HTML5 on the wall and realized he was fighting a rare losing battle, playing hardball with major content producers whose early, enthusiastic and unabated promotion of the iPad — as inherently a consumption device as has ever been conceived — helped demonstrate its value to consumers. It was, theoretically, a mutually beneficial relationship until his reach finally exceeded his grasp.
Of course, last week’s much hyped and completely vague announcement of Bookish, a new joint venture between three of the “Big 6? – Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group — caught my attention, not for its unusual (but not unprecedented) collaborative angle, but for its disappointingly unimaginative and shortsighted value proposition.
Right now, the relative ease of digital publishing — not yet the equivalent of blogging, but getting closer every week — and the exceptional successes of a relative handful of authors masks the larger challenges ahead for authors and publishers alike, regardless of their business model: discoverability.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an aspiring writer, traditionally published or going the DIY route, marketing is every writer’s responsibility, and it takes the same level of commitment, dedication and self-discipline as sitting down and actually writing does.