Tim Oreilly Disagrees

Fast links: Tim Oreilly on new publishing models

No, not really. As “self-publishing” companies like those described in the NY Times article take off, they become the new publishers. They are publishers with a new business model, monetizing the long tail of print publishing by selling a few hundred copies each of tens of thousands of books, but they are publishers nonetheless. They, not the authors, have the relationships with retail distribution (even long tail retailers like Amazon want to deal with centralized suppliers, not tens of thousands of one-book wonders); they, not the authors, have the manufacturing and distribution infrastructure. And now that Amazon is getting into the print-on-demand publishing business with its purchase of BookSurge, all this means is that Amazon is becoming a publisher, not that the fundamental rules of publishing have changed.

Tim is basically right, that Amazon is quickly turning into a publisher. The only difference is that ebooks are not physical objects and don’t require a vast supply chain. On the other hand, experienced writers will continue to find it advantageous to offload editorial, design and promotional duties to more qualified third parties. Oreilly deals in technical books, so the ecosystem is slightly different (time-to-publish being almost the important quality to that kind of book). In literary publishing, on the other hand, it’s not clear that quality works will rise to the top (and that commercial interests may still prevail). (Another Tim Oreilly discussion on the same subject here.)

Ren Reynolds on how Japan and China are fighting their battles in the virtual videogaming world.

Henry on how Good Soldier Schweik reveals the Principle of Least Effort applies to economics. And on itconversations.com law professor Dan Solove’s audio lecture uses Kafka’s novel “The Trial” in his discussion of online privacy. Gosh, it almost seems as though literature were… relevant. Wow.

Crazy interview with a comic blogger:

How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would buy an enormous ham.

I found another great link, but for the life of me, I can’t remember which one.

Maud finds a link by a papryologist who says all this hooplah over new ancient texts is much more complicated. Geez, where does she find this stuff?