This morning at Boing Boing (perhaps the most popular blog on the net), Cory Doctorow published a brilliant essay on the backward mindset of traditional book publishers which also succinctly expressed the core value of conversational media.
It’s a thoughtful analysis of the Google Book Search service and the boneheaded way that traditional publishers have been fighting it. Cory’s right: Instead of “letting slip their dogs of law” to nip incessantly at Google’s heels in the hope of securing a slice of Book Search ad revenue, book publishers should embrace the T-Bone steaks that Book Search could regularly toss them in the form of increased sales and expanded markets.
Further down in this essay, Cory explores one of the underlying reasons traditional book publishing is in trouble: the ascent of conversational media. That is, the human mind is more attuned and attracted to conversation or interaction than monologues. Reading a book (even a novel that includes lots of action and dialogue) is fundamentally a passive experience. It can’t compete well with more engaging media.
As the core audience of print books ages and generations weaned on conversational media come to the economic forefront, and as the tools of conversational media get better and easier, traditional book publishers may well find themselves sinking fast. As they slip beneath the quicksand, I bet they’ll regret how they’ve behaved toward Google Book Search and how drastically they misjudged their shifting audiences…
(Read the rest of this article at The Right Conversation…)