3 thoughts on “Publishing is the new Entrepreneurship

  1. Lulu is an interesting model, but it’s just a streamlined version of iUniverse and XLibris.

    The problem with these hyped up vanity presses is that the reason these books are out of the mainstream publishing industry is that basically no one in the mass market wants to read these books in the first place.

    This is a very inefficient way to reach audiences. Where things like Lulu.com might hit is where an audience has already been aggregated. To put it another way, Lulu won’t be Blogger, but it might be Cafe Press.

    Where self-publishing will hit big is in publishing for defined audiences, like that Wine thing you posted about before. How the book is printed and sold is pretty incidental.

  2. There’s another business here, too: defining audiences and selling them. This work is already done — in an oblique and inefficient way — by agents, who select books on the basis of what they know about their target audiences (editors) and by editors, who select books from agents based on what they know about readers who buy their books. But this model is backwards — the market is the real commodity, not the book. If only these markets could be defined algorithmically and continually tested, refined and updated. Similar business: direct-mail mailing lists. Amazon has the technology already — “If you liked X, you might also like Y…” But their instrument is still pretty blunt — what’s not fully understood is what a preference for one product really tells you about the buyer’s *next* purchase.

  3. Good point Diane. When you put it that way, Amazon may be sitting on a goldmine of information.

    If you had access to Amazon’s data, you could probably statistically define audiences, and then actually write books based on what they want to read.

    This would be a step beyond Amazon’s collaborative filtering–instead of saying what books you might like to read, it would tell authors which books they should write!

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