Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “publishing”

Deep background on disruption in music and publishing. Up next? Hollywood.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Does the graph remind you of the newspaper and music industry? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Several articles provide an in-depth view of the disruption taking place in several industries due to the IT revolution.

  • Hollywood is ripe for the same creative destruction we’ve seen in music, newspapers, and publishing.
  • New York Times is shrinking their physical space and staff size
  • Prime time TV still having a rough time

The question to ponder in the back of your mind is what are you going to do when this wave of disruption overturns your industry?

January 2017 – Vanity Fair – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Already Over – Looking for a good article on how technology is going to do to Hollywood what IT has already done to music and publishing? If so, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Check out the article to help understand the massive change surrounding us.

Disruption of music industry

First, music and newspapers. The author saw his first indication the music industry would collapse when he started downloading music. Instead of driving to a store somewhere and spending $20 to get one song he wanted, he could spend a buck and get the song immediately.

Author says the music industry has shrunk by half in the last decade. Remember that is after the first round of disruption hit.

Disruption of newspapers

Next were the newspapers. For a long time, the web part of the New York Times was physically separate from the headquarters. “Banished” is the word the author used. At the same time, startups like Instapundit (yeah Professor Reynolds!) and DailyKos were figuring out how to blog. Then WordPress and Tumblr allowed anyone on the planet to start blogging, and doing so for free.

Author says a lot of people didn’t want to wander over to a newsstand and buy a whole newspaper or magazine when instead they could read the single article they wanted, online, for free.

To illustrate the concept, I’ve never bought a copy of Vanity Fair and doubt I ever will. I certainly didn’t drive over to Barnes & Noble to buy the current edition so I could read this article. A blogger I read (see above!) mentioned it and I clicked over.

The end result of the loss in audience?

Read more…

Newspaper revenue continues to fall off the cliff

DIfference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Difference between this guy and the newspaper industry is this guy has a rope. Oh, and he is doing this intentionally. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previously explained Still falling of a cliff, newspaper edition. The post has two graphs from Carpe Diem showing the collapse in newsroom employment levels and industry revenue.

Here are a few more articles describing the cliff that newspapers are falling off of.

(Yeah, I know. Bad grammar.)

10/27 – New York Times – More Wretched News for Newspapers as Advertising Woes Drive Anxiety – At the time the article was written (late October), layoffs had already taken place in the Times and Gannett, with layoffs expected at the WSJ.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 12/12

There are wonderful things going on in the tech world. Also some not so great things in education and publishing. Here’s a few articles on the good and not-so-good stuff.


12/8 – Economist – Free the drones / Drones have immense commercial potential—so long as regulators don’t try to tether them to the ground

Read more…

Amazon and Hachette resolve their contract dispute

11/13 – Wall Street Journal – Amazon, Hachette End Publishing Dispute – After an extended, public dispute, Amazon and the publisher Hachette have a multi-year agreement.

Terms are vaguely hinted at: Hachette will set retail prices of their books with Amazon giving higher payouts for lower prices. Will go into effect in 2015 but that should resolve the spat in advance of the 2014 Christmas shopping season. Both of them are highly motivated to move tons of product in the next six weeks.

Read more…

Paperback books and e-books; more on the dispute between Hachette and Amazon

Guess what? Lowering the price on something means you can sell more of it and make more money.

That applies to paperbacks when they first came out and it applies to e-books today. Well, it actually applies to practically everything.

Know what else? Anyone who wants to publish a book can do so. Anyone. For astoundingly low cost. The publishing frontier is wide open. Thank you Amazon.

In August, Amazon sent an e-mail to people using their Kindle Direct Publishing service. (By the way, if you aren’t already a best seller and want to ever get your book published, you really, really ought to go the e-book route with KDP. It is awesome.)

Back to the e-mail.

Since it went out to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, I will take the liberty to quote it.

Some history: Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 6/25

I read the news and see wide open frontiers in the worlds of publishing, technology, space, and energy. In terms of opportunities and growth, this reminds me of the wild west and homesteading days in the late 1800s.

Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in.

Perpetual Malthusian foolishness

4/25 – Wall Street Journal – The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out – Ecologists worry that the world’s resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again – There are constant shouts of fright that we will run out of some resource in a decade or two. Maybe the day after tomorrow. Such predictions are as foolish as they are wrong. Matt Ridley points out that innovation, human creativity in other words, blasts through those limits over and over and over again.

Here is part of the blindness: Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 6/6

Just like the wild west and homesteading days in the late 1800s, the frontiers of publishing, technology and space are wide open. Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in.


6/5 – Daily Beast – Amazon is NOT the Vladimir Putin of the Publishing World – Until now, I’ve not tried to sort out the spat between Amazon and Hachette. Who is Hachette, I hear you ask? They are one of the big publishing house. They are not an issue in my life because they would never, ever talk to a little bitty author with sub-microscopic level of sales like me.

The visible part of the dispute is Amazon posting a higher price on Hachette books, allegedly removing the ‘you can order weeks in advance’ button, shipping slower than arrive-first-thing-tomorrow-morning, and suggesting someone else on the ‘net may have a better price.

Article above explains Hachette wants you and me to pay more and Amazon wants you and me to pay less. What Amazon is doing as a negotiating strategy is offering books at the terms, availability, and prices Hachette wants.

The horrible, cruel, cut-throatedness of Amazon is amusingly described: Read more…

More good stuff on the open technology frontiers – 4-24

Have lots of articles on the open frontiers to comment on. Will break into several posts. Today, the amazing wide open frontier of publishing:


3/25 – Amazon – Reaching for His Dream. At 40. – Mr. Barry Davis had a book in him but devoted himself to getting educated, working as an engineer and raising his children. At 40 he wrote his first book. Nobody in the industry would touch the book.

Why? No audience. Nobody will buy it.


Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 3-3-14

More good stuff on the open frontiers: energy, space, education, publishing. Good info but only time to summarize in a paragraph:  


2-9 – Grumpy Economist – Mooconomics – Superb article assessing current state of MOOCs from a professor who actually taught one. Most of the technology looks like it is still very much version 1.0. Read more…

That brand new news organization is up and running – check out First Look Media

Mentioned a while back that Pierre Omidyar, the founder of E-Bay, was starting a news organization from scratch. It will be designed for the digital era.

Well, it is up and running.

Check out The Intercept. It is the first ‘magazine’ of the First Look Media organization.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers — space, education, publishing- 1-20-14

New frontiers are wide open. Here is my latest list of articles on education (articles), publishing (1) and space (3 articles) that help me sort out the massive change around us:


As I turn my near-sighted, feeble gaze across history, I see education as one of several major factors that lift people groups out of the grinding dust of poverty. That is why I see the revolution in education as a wonderful thing.

1-3 – Via Meadia – Winds of Change Still Blowing Through Groves of AcademeRead more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 12-30-13

The change taking place around us is thrilling and confusing. The best way I have to put this in some sort of order for myself is to compare with the open frontier of the US west after our Civil War – The education, energy, space, and publishing worlds are each a new frontier and those frontiers are wide open.

A few articles to give some form to that open frontier:

Cyborg telemarketing

Three articles on the increasing use of computers making the pitch on cold call telemarketing:

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers in energy and publishing – 12-6-13

 Today, three articles on energy and publishing.


12-4 – The Business Rusch – The Fierce Urgency of Now (Discoverability Part 3) – Kristine Kathryn Rusch summarizes what’s been long discussed: the days of get it now or you’ll never get it are gone.

Read more…

The printed book industry looks like the dying honeysuckles in the park. And I’m okay with that. Not the plants dying, but the industry.

Daily I walk past a large group of honeysuckle plants that used to be about 30 feet long and about 12 feet wide. The aroma is wonderful while they are in bloom.

Over the last couple of months, something has happened to the plant bed. There are three big areas where there is now only dirt. The number of honeysuckle plants is about half what it used to be.

The ones left are pretty, growing, and fragrant.

However, that bed of plants is dying.

What is happening to those fragrant plants is happening to the book industry.

Read more…

A view of the top of the publishing world. The whole publishing world is an open frontier.

The wide open frontier of publishing is fascinating because anyone can publish. The biggest barrier to entry (a fancy economic term meaning how difficult it is to enter a business) is the desire to publish.  I have published 4 books and have had a blast doing so. The very bottom of that world is where I operate.  So what does the top of the publishing world look like?

It has also been transformed, as discussed by Jeff Bercovici in a Forbes article, The Hunger Games Economy. I’m about two solar systems removed from the top of the publishing biz, but it’s still fun to look.

Technology has concentrated sales. Look at this:

To understand the scale of the trend, think about this: Of the total number of copies sold in 2012 of the 400 highest-selling titles, two authors, E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), together accounted for a full 25%, according to data tracked by USA Today. Between them, the Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games trilogies claimed all six top slots on the year-end bestseller list. 

Read more…

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