Tag Archives: publishing

Cory Doctorow book reading at BookPeople

21 May

Thursday evenings are typically reserved for working out with my running group (yes, I have a running addiction), but the workout wasn’t going so well and I decided to quit early.

When I got to my car, I saw that my best friend and partner in crime excellence, Scott Thomas, blew up my phone about going to see Cory Doctorow at BookPeople. For those of you who don’t know, Doctorow is kind of a bad ass. He is co-editor of Boing Boing, my favorite blog about general nerdiness, an author of several books, and contributor to Wired, among many other distinguished publications. He was in town to do a reading of his new book For The Win, which according to Doctorow is a “a young adult book about video-games, labor politics and economics” and is set in China.

I livestreamed his reading from the ol’ iPhone, which you can see below.


While the purpose of his visit was to promote his book, he took a lot of questions about his stance on copyrights and publishing. Doctorow is a major proponent of Creative Commons licensing and has published nearly all his books on the web under Creative Commons, including For The Win. While you can download electronic versions of his books online for free, his books are also published through a publishing company, which provides consumers with a choice to purchase a hard copy if they like. Doctorow said it’s a model that provides him with more money and of course, it sticks to his ethics of sharing content on the web and allowing others to remix it.

To steal copy Scott’s tweet, Doctorow’s attitude on copyrights can be summed up with this:

If you’re making art that’s not intended to be copied you aren’t making contemporary art.

It was a great talk and reaffirms some of my thoughts on sharing content and copyrights.

I’ll leave you with this photo taken by Scott. If you are a Doctorow fan and know about xkcd, you will appreciate this.


How does social media help your business?

8 Apr

This month I was tasked with creating a proposal regarding social media for the company I work for, Park Place Publications.

I provided a rough outline of some things to consider like creating a company blog, consolidating some of the social media accounts so we can focus more on our bigger brands, and using tools like HootSuite to manage our accounts and track analytics. However, my boss wants some hard evidence that social media will (a) drive more people to our sites and (b) increase sales of the products we publish.

Well luckily, social media like Twitter and Facebook have provided me with a wealth of information regarding trends and stats about users and businesses. First, let’s talk about social media users.

The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project released a study in October of last year called “Portrait of a Twitter User.” Granted the study is a few months old, but it provides some interesting details. The majority of social media users are women, more than 40 percent have some college education or a degree, and 39 percent have a four or more Internet connected devices. That’s a lot of connectivity.

Now, Twitter is just one social media site, but I think this study provides an overview of what types of users you can find on the web. Park Place publishes education law materials and tools for education administrators. That’s a pretty niche community; however, that’s the beauty of the web and social media. You can find a niche community for everything. It’s precisely the reason I recommended a company blog. We need to tap into that niche community so we can talk about our products because not many businesses cater to this population.

I recommended Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It! to my coworkers as a great resource for finding ways to capitalize on this niche community and understanding how social media tools can benefit the business. Vaynerchuk focuses on the fact that the greatest thing about social media is that it’s free, but it requires a time investment in order to see results. The more content you create and distribute to your followers, the more consumers you can get interested in your products. However, you also have interact with your followers. You have to build a community, then foster and nurture it to show that you care for their business.

So far, research has found this is true. A study released Chadwick, Martin and Bailey found that consumers on social media were more likely to recommend and buy from a business if they are a Facebook fan or follow the business on Twitter (thanks to Bazaarvoice for the excellent blog post on this study). It shows that the company is engaged and interested in their customer’s views on their products.

More importantly, I think for anyone in the media or publishing industry has to understand how to use social media to succeed in the future. Bob Stein, codirector for the Institute for the Future of the Book, said it best in an interview with Wired about the rise of the tablet.

Simply moving printed texts to tablets (as with the Kindle) will be of limited value. To succeed, publishers will have to embrace multimedia and community-building.

He uses the gaming industry as a prime example of people who have built “thriving communities” and understand multimedia experience.

A book is becoming a “place” where people congregate and converse.

Who more than educators need a place to congregate and converse about the issues they face everyday in the classroom? In many ways, we could provide that platform for discussion and idea generation. It would be an added service of value to our community.

What are your thoughts on using social media for your business? Is there something I could add to make for a more convincing case that you have come across? Let me know! Thoughts and comments are always appreciated.

SXSW 2010 Interactive: New Publishing and Web Content

14 Mar

The New Publishing and Web Content panel was the last I attended Saturday.

Panelists included Erin Kissane of Incisive.nu, Lisa Holton of Fourth Story Media, Mandy Brown of Etsy and Paul Ford of Harper’s Magazine. It was moderated by Jeffery Zeldman of Happy Cog Studios.

The panelists discussed how the web has changed book and magazine publishing and how they adapted.

Ford made an interesting comment about how the web should not be looked at a publishing platform but rather a customer service platform.

“Give them what they need and interact. If you get money from them, how do you make sure they are happy?” he said. “The web is a way to interact with and serve your community.”

This video shows the panelists answering a question regarding big publishing houses versus self-publishing at a at SXSW 2010 Interactive panel.