A small revolution in the big book publishing

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future services. Date:07.04.2010, 17:28.

Just for Christmas, December 25, 2009, sales of electronic books on Amazon for the first time exceeded sales of paper books. And this year seems to mark the beginning of the global boom in electronic literature and media – bookreaders and tablets. Professionals discuss the inevitable changes in publishing. As a professional reader, I want to call them for overdue changes in the usual format of the books and the creation of new services.

The world has digitized millions of books – and this process goes on continuously. However, the reader, opening the file in the electronic bookreader sees essentially the same book that is on his shelf. Only some details are different: there are no the smell of the paper, one can not rustle wit the pages (that, however, is compensated with instant search in the text.)

The books that we read today were written for the old, paper medium. But with the change of the medium, whether it was clay tablets, papyrus, parchment or paper, handwritten or printed text – books’ format always updated (the structure, content, design). It is logical to assume that in the coming years, writers begin to write in new ways, and readers – to read. But how?

Let us for example consider a sufficiently large segment of the market associated with the issuance of business books and books on psychology, personal development. Their creators are not simply engaged in popularizing ideas of others, but summarize their experiences and offer their own copyrights of use, claiming to be a special place on the “map of knowledge”. Let’s call this numerous category of books “new development”.

What do the readers want?

Readers want to have time. Time to make a career, to develop their talents, to keep love in the family, to overcome the financial disorder, etc. “Instructions” and inspiration can be found in the books – but books are more and more, and time – less and less. No wonder the experts in time management advise to read only the chapters that contain answers to your questions. And if there is no time at all – at least to look through the lists of content of good books, where it is also sometimes possible to find a useful hint.

Each reader, opening a new book on category “new development”, are interested in, by and large, a question: “How this book to be compared to the hundreds of books on the same topic will expand my knowledge base? No neighbor, friend, boss or all of humanity knowledge but my personal baggage?” Previews, reviews, prefaces do not always respond to such a specific issue – in fact the authors write about what’s new for them, that made ​​an impression on them. And the writers themselves are so fond of hiding “Cheese” throughout the “test”: just to make sure that the answer is contained or not in the book, one often has to read at least some of its chapters.

What do the writers want?

Writers are also experiencing a shortage of time and also want to fulfill their potential. As a general rule, most of them do not have any illusions about the chances of becoming a professional writer and live off the royalties. Many fees are generally considered the matter of third – and the authors are even ready to be published at their own expense. They expect that their own book of “new development” will help them improve their professional status to become a recognized expert in a particular area, to acquire new customers, to position themselves among their colleagues, etc. So the effort is paid back.

The problem is that many professionals having original ideas and unique know-how, but not being able to create on that basis their original concept, write mediocre books in which there are a lot of water, and they have little chance to win the reader’s attention. Much more value for the career and business of professionals will bring to participate in the popular collective project. And readers will benefit by getting instead of some rather mediocre books one but full of ideas, conceptual product (for the whole team of a writer’s it is enough one writer-conceptual).

Future Publishing Network

I ask a little patience: all that is unique, the first time presents difficult. However, as set out below – will work simply!

1. Let’s start with the “atomic” level. Thus, the author – for example, an expert in marketing – designed and implemented in practice an idea or technology that creates a kind of “intellectual value added” to existing knowledge in the field of marketing. The author writes a short text (from one to several paragraphs), which describes in a concentrated form his idea. I propose to call such text-blocks eidos. Of course, it is a matter of taste – but also a tribute to Plato’s space of eidos-ideas. Believe me – you’ll quickly get used to!

2. The main quality of the book eidos of new age is self-sufficiency. Eidos should be presented in a practical manner (as theorems and axioms are set out), so that the reader, if he want and need, could immediately apply the eidos in practice to the extent of his experience and understanding. So many engineers use the Pythagorean theorem, without trying to pre-recall at least one of its 367 proof.

In short, the eidos becomes a kind of unity of knowledge. The reader who is acquainted with the eidos, can immediately conclude if there is meaning for him to read a book that contains the rationale of the eidos, explanations, practical examples, instructions for use, warnings, etc.? Perhaps this book will prove useful tomorrow, when the reader accumulates basic knowledge?

3. It is as a supplement to his eidos, to his “intellectual value” the author creates the manuscript of his book. The book may be preceded by several eidos, each of which is attached by hyperlinks to the relevant chapters.

4. The author gives an electronic manuscript to the publisher, whose main task, as in our days, will be editing, correction and expert moderation of the texts. Publishers with their authority will confirm the professional correctness of texts and cut off the scribblers who do not have their own thoughts and do not know how to express someone else’s. Not everyone who is able to write text in a volume of 100,000 words is a writer. Another task of publishing would be moderation of hyperlinks and the links between eidos.

5. Thus, the book along with the eidos came to the site of the publisher. If you come up with an idea, building on ideas, technology of another author (and as usually it happens so) – you will be beneficial if to tie your eidos by hyperlink to the ‘parent’ eidos’ s predecessor. This will give you a strong influx of visitors, which is just interested in “the increment of knowledge” in the chosen field. Naturally, the author- predecessor will have the right to question the legality of hyperlinks. Readers and members of social networks can also express their opinion. But the moderators of the publishing house must have the last word, as their main task is the creation of logical, saturated, and so to speak, intuitively understandable space of viable ideas, practical knowledge on the basis of authors’ manuscripts.

6. Thus, eidoses of different books by different authors are added gradually to the knowledge network of publishers. This network can be organized as a directory, as a virtual 3D-space or wiki-like resource. The last option is interesting because many Internet users are already accustomed to using an existing Wikipedia for a quick and superficial acquaintance with the new fields of knowledge. Either way, the success of the project by 70% will depend on how adequate interface for access to the network would be created by knowledge network developers.

Attention. Through a network of knowledge innovation is no longer a subjective response, based on an assessment of the writer, reviewer, or reader. The innovation is objectively determined in relation to the parent eidos and the entire array of knowledge on the subject and is transformed into “intellectual value added”. Now, the reader will be able to obtain the answer to the question: “What new will I learned from this book?”

7. Several leading publishers can combine their knowledge networks and create eydosphere – or, if you want, Eydopedia. Only eidoses will be stored in eydosphere and they will be combined into themed “network” and “trees.” And books related to eidos will remain on the publishers’ site. Thus, eydosphere will facilitate to readers the search across the entire space of knowledge and will generate traffic to the publishing resources.

8. Publishers, in agreement with the authors, will sold for money some part of the books. Some of the books readers will be able to read and download in exchange for viewing advertising. There may be alternative ways to monetize, based on the interaction with registered users of the resource. At the same access to the eidos must remain absolutely free (see the conclusion: “We need test experiments”).

9. Stats will become a guide for readers: eidos views, links from external resources, links to the “child” eidos, transitions to the books (or their separate chapters), the votes of readers, etc. To further facilitate the orientation of the readers, popular and unpopular eidos, “fruitful” and “blind” branches of the ideas will be marked with special colors. “Child” eidoses will stimulate traffic due to their novelty, “parent” – due to many branches linked to them, and citation index.

10. Authors will be able to agree in advance (or during the work) on the joint creation of the book as a “chain” or “tree” of associated eidos (each author will work on his own, sequential or parallel steps in the project). Fundamentally researched, innovative eidos can become the meaning core for a variety of independent projects (just as the different distributions of free operating systems used by the kernel of Linux).

11. For the reader eydosphere is the possibility as soon as possible, just click on the links eidos, find out what’s new in this area has been created over the past month, year, etc. With this information, the reader will be able to choose extremely accurate the technology, the book, which he needs at the moment. For the writer eidos ensure flow of traffic and help get a professional, business, career, reputation and other dividends of the authorship of the popular idea (and, if necessary – it is easy to defend itself authorship). A globally eydosphere accelerate the development, the turnover and generation of new knowledge.

12. The very concept of the book also will change. From the perspective of the reader, the book is that he downloaded to his bookreader as a single hypertextual unit. This block may get eidoses and book chapters by different authors (and from different publishers!), the different branches of meaning and their intersections. Perhaps for this unit will have to come up a new definition – of this grain will grow after a new, revolutionary publishing concept. If only it was convenient to the reader.

We need test experiments

And will not fall the interest in books with free access to their Eidos, you ask? I am convinced 300% – will increase many times! Eydosphere is only a tool. This is a map that helps you accurately navigate in the sea of ​​books and stimulating readers’ travel. Similarly, Google encourages consumption and further production of information, and “Wikipedia” – the development of new knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration of specialists.

But you can not take my word for it, and set up an experiment, creating eidoses for dozens of old books, preparing in the new format of several new books – and offering readers a new navigation interface. By the way, I am ready to participate in the pilot project as a co-author of book on futurology, or to develop creative thinking.

PS By the way, here I propose a concept of book-reader for those who professionally are working with information.

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