This past Friday saw another of our regular Twitter debates on the state of publishing, in advance of this coming weekend’s Publishing Now conference. The topic this time was how innovation is adding value to publishing. What follows is a selection of highlights; all contributions are available on Twitter through the hashtag #pubnow (which, incidentally, was also the first two words out of my mouth when I finished trawling through all the tweets).
eMCDesignLtd: Innovation – is it just about digital though?
IrishPublisher: I think it is more than digital, it is about understanding your customers needs and wants.
Book_Machine: true – if your customer is online, then that’s what they need. Full stop.
armadillocentrl: digital has made this wider – the understanding of customers needs/wants, & more immediate
eMCDesignLtd: Is anyone worried that the cost of innovation isn’t being re-cooperated by sales?
uclpublishing: A vital point. So often tech development costs get ‘lost’ or ignored and aren’t really put cold hard revenue
mikemurphy1979: monetising digital content, where most format innovation happens, is the elephant in the room. And it’s got a bomb.
armadillocentrl: isn’t anything innovative hard to monetise at first?
mikemurphy1979: maybe so, but is there much innovation in this area? Dynamic pricing, BBC model etc?
armadillocentrl: has to be a degree of free on the net like music industry
mikemurphy1979: sure, but that’s really only a discovery tool for artists, isn’t it?
maryannkernan: it’s a hub, building those direct links – or what are pubrs for?
armadillocentrl: all about communication allied to creativity – much more options now
citypublishing: Is innovation leading people to expect more at a lower cost now though?
SnehhK: Often, ppl are ready to pay more for an advancement in technology. And if innovation brings dat, den y not pay more?
Tahira_R: I think it depends on what “more” includes… Access to educational initiatives like the app on elements? I think it’s fair
ClaireVinent: Innovation drives appetite for innovation. Ppl expect it. High expectations can be good & lead to higher standards
1EmmaSmith: What about the availability of free ebooks..Project Gutenberg etc. Damaging the whole value chain?
sophie_orourke: does innovation cause change for change’s sake?
ClaireVinent: Possibly?:) Wonder if content’s going same way as fast fashion, i.e. ppl who can access ‘new’ more easily keep wanting more
maryannkernan: the definitions of innovation include ‘making stuff happen’/applying ideas/problem-solving – doesn’t just happen…
Tahira_R: Innovation encourages constant improvement, thereby inspiring educationally & creatively. Evolution!
fionagilsenan: Most publishers still making ePub books as digital replicas of printed books, albeit with more typos. Need to up the visual ante.
maryannkernan: I agree – short lines/type probs a big turnoff! Kindle’s software is rubbish, we’re told, ePub3 v soon…
Matteusclement: no doubt!! What do u think bout pricing?! Still find it hard to swallow.
fionagilsenan: Right now prices for poor-quality and better-quality ebooks are about the same. Need to price quality appropriately.
sophie_orourke: Do all readers really want innovation?
fionagilsenan: Not all readers want innovation, but you don’t have to sacrifice exisiting products if they’re working. Baby/bathwater,…
armadillocentrl: good content is key ‘just give me a good book’ whatever the format
maryannkernan: isn’t it great that students still prefer textbooks! Books are such great technology…
Tahira_R: do they have a choice? Ereaders are so prominent it’s almost hard to avoid innovation! But should there be a choice?
sophie_orourke: there will always be a choice & whilst ereaders are great there will always be a place for books
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.