There is a big picture and a long arc within which our day-to-day activities are taking place. The 20th century consumer media were horizontal in their subject matter — that is, very broad — and format-specific. In the States, that means entities like CBS or NBC in television, The New York Times, or Random House. All of these companies provide content across the full range of human subject interests, but they pretty much stick to their formats: broadcast, newspapers, and books, respectively
…in the 21st century, the net is flipping this on us. The net tends to self-organize us by subject niche, so the eyeballs and human bandwidth are linked to the niches, which are vertical, not horizontal. And because web interaction is about file exchanges, format specificity is meaningless. The file can hold text, art or photographs or other graphics, animation, moving images, sound, games, or code that helps us combine, sort, or tag things
…even though we’ve seen our business get tougher in many ways, some of the predictions made at the turn of the century for big changes in this decade, such as disruptive ebook takeup, just haven’t come true. The book business has, arguably, been less affected than any of the other major media by digital change. Or maybe I shouldn’t say “arguably.” Maybe I should say “apparently.” And CERTAINLY I should say “so far.”
We’re going to discuss a subject this morning that was on hardly any radar screens a year ago; it would not have been a compelling subject for presentation at last year’s Making Information Pay. But today, Digital Asset Distribution is on a lot of minds. What happened?
After all, book content has been going out on the web for quite a while. My company did a digital marketing program for a book called “Longitude” in late 1995 which centered around offering a free chapter through relevant web sites. For several years, Amazon has had a program showing interior book pages, starting out as “Look Inside” and now “Search Inside the Book”. Lots of publishers participated, but didn’t instantly express a need to manage their own digital distribution