Thursday, January 19, 2012

Publishing Under Threat? + Apple's Announcement Today #ioe12

So this was the view from my office a while back, while the library was being modified. There's a lot of empty space!  Now the work has finished that space is once again filled with books but I do wonder if the future will mean lots more empty space in our libraries.
Yesterday I wrote about the publishing industry feeling threatened and Jeroen asked an interesting question in a comment. Are the companies really threatened or do they just feel threatened?
My answers would be yes and yes but of course it is much more complicated than this. Publishing, even more than the music industry, was a very stable business for a great many years.  Changes were incremental and the basic model didn't change much. Certain areas (for example academic publishing and textbooks...) were real money-spinners with a certain market and locked-in buyers.
Suddenly all that started to change and this staid business could see its model becoming less and less valid. 
One part of the threat was Open Educational Resources, and another was the advent of open publishing. In fact these areas didn't make much of an inroad into publishing profits so in the beginning the threat was more felt than real. However, when prestigious universities starting insisting that research paid for by public money had to be openly published the threat became real and the lobbyists were called in to do their stuff.
Of course, some companies have realised that their old model is under threat and therefore they need to create a new model. Today's announcement from Apple "iBooks 2 released - textbooks reinvented" shows the direction we are going in (Think if IBooks does to publishing what iTunes did to music!) It also shows that some companies (who already have their products on iBooks) are moving rapidly towards the new landscape I wrote about yesterday.
How does CC and remixing fit in here? Well, that is the other part of Apple's announcement - a multimedia authoring tool combined with a platform to collect and show off your creations. Will this become the tool/platform of choice/distribution point for future works, both free and commercial? We'll have to wait a while to find the answer to that. 

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Publishing Under Threat? + Apple's Announcement Today #ioe12 by Keith Bryant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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