Cloud-publishing, Again

Book Oven pal Mark Bertils writes about Cloud Publishing on indexmb, focusing mostly on the reader-side, with services like Shortcovers and the more forwardlooking expectation of booky-APIs, Kindle’s or big cloud-based catalog initiatives. The stuff that’s happening and going to happen on the finished product/reader side is exciting, but it pales, I think, in comparison to the changes that will come on the creation side. I posted the following comment on Mark’s site: For obvious reasons, I think the cloud looks most promising as a publishing enabler, rather than as a reading enabler. Cloud-publishing for me means: a) a text can be instantaneously published at zero-cost to the world b) a text can be worked on by an editorial team distributed across the globe, yet the text will still be in “one place” in the cloud The implications are huge for the structures of the publishing business (or at least, we at Book Oven are betting they are). The two things that have given shape to the “modern” publishing industry are: a) the cost of distribution of books b) the need for centralization of workers-on-books But a) goes to zero, and, as you suggest, b) has been going towards decentralization for some time now. But b) is going to fragment massively now. So really the two main forces that have shaped the book business have essentially disappeared – or at least, should disappear within the next 5 years. The changes on the production side will, I think, be far more significant than the changes for readers.

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