When Google acquired Blogger in 2003, it was a smart move that tied directly to their core ad business, with the visionary bonus of foreseeing the value of user-generated content when it was still scoffed at. Yahoo acquiring Tumblr 10 years later (after badly fumbling GeoCities, del.icio.us, and Flickr, among others) is like the drunk uncle showing up late to a baby shower with a stripper and a trained monkey. Even the "announcement" via GIF feels forced and desperate.
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.
Most magazines, print and digital, are little more than advertising platforms whose readers are defined as “targets”, valued in quantity over quality, and when the advertising revenue stream dries up, the magazines usually fold, readers be damned.
The reality is, once the eBook market shakes out in the next year or two and becomes more efficient, the publishing industry will still be the dominant supplier of books people actually pay for. Will the players change? Maybe, maybe not. Will the business model have to change? (drink!) Sure, for some publishers. Same for agents and authors, too.
The Art of Immersion is a much-needed bridge to/from Henry Jenkins' seminal Convergence Culture, as Frank Rose crafts an engaging, insightful overview of how storytelling has evolved in the digital age that's accessible to all, whether enthusiast or skeptic.