January 06, 2010

Tim O'Reilly on Safari Books Online: a Cloud Library as an alternate model for ebooks (and other key learnings for online content) Image via Wikipedia Back in October 09, Tim O'Reilly ( someone that I really admire for his cutting-edge and very wise thinking on the future of content and technology) published a very important piece on ebook publishing, on the occasion of the Safari eBook portal relaunch. I think that most of us working in the content industries can learn a lot from this post, no matter if it's about books, magazines, news, music, film or software. I will therefore summarize his most important bottom lines, below, and provide some comments and context where needed. "Recent releases of O'Reilly ebooks as iPhone applications have even outsold the same books in print" Comment: in my view, this trend will happen with most business books, and text books, in the next 2-3 years (beyond the iPhone, of course, i.e. for all kinds of mobile devices) "Most people thinking about ebooks are focused on creating an electronic recreation of print books, complete with downloadable files and devices that look and feel like books. This is a bit like pointing a camera at a stage play and concluding that was the essence of filmmaking" Comment: this is a crucial point - publishers and distributors urgently need to let go of the idea of merely recreating offline sales models online. "Everything is always in sync because your library is in the cloud; an ebook cloud works the same way the web itself works. It provides ubiquitous access and shared experience" Comment: amen. indeed. "One of our mottos at O’Reilly is to "create more value than you capture." And from Tim's 1995 (!) piece Publishing Models for Internet Commerce, here are some more morsels: "Some of the characteristics of the print publishing market: Barriers to entry are low. Especially with the advent of desktop publishing, almost anyone...

Gerd Leonhard

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