A large part of GOOD’s appeal was its unique business model, its compelling mission, and its target audience: “For People Who Give a Damn.” While not replicable in any scalable way, it had a far more noble mission than the mercenary and fickle “connecting advertisers to eyeballs” model of most magazines, and it looks like that mission ultimately forced a complete and radical rethinking of the magazine itself.
That “Local First” angle is what disturbs me the most, latching on to a legitimate movement whose most compelling hook focuses on locally sourced goods and sustainability, to support booksellers whose primary focus is usually selling the products of multi-national corporations who treat them like second-class citizens. The bookstores that are true pillars of their communities don’t need hollow slogans and dreams of going viral on YouTube, because they prove on a daily basis why they matter to their communities.
It’s not a huge stretch to posit Amazon as the reverse-Valve of the ebook world, constantly pushing the envelope in unexpected ways, aggressively experimenting with pricing, developing a core of popular franchises, while staying focused on delivering and optimizing the best consumer experience.
Since publishers are so concerned with the “perpetuity of lending and simultaneity of availability” of their ebooks, I have to wonder if libraries shouldn’t just help them out and hit the STOP button themselves? Stop buying ebooks across the board, at any price, under any terms.
The latest edition of Book^2 Camp, a publishing and technology “unconference,” took place yesterday, and while it lacked the star power of last year’s Margaret Atwood appearance, it was another worthwhile Sunday afternoon full of thoughtful conversations about the future of publishing. Three quick takeaways.