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Faith in the Future of Publishing – Tim O’Reilly
Categories: Business

Thanks to The Publishing Point meetup the other day for hosting the fascinating Tim O’Reilly (founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and the Tools of Change Conference). I live tweeted the event, but wanted to share my snippets with you.

Advice for the Industry:

  • “The faith that I have in the future of publishing: You will do a job that really matters, because it will sell.”
  • “We’re all going to die. Do something that lights you up, and lights up your customers.””It’s a great time: We have this opportunity to try things and go back to basics – there’s joy in that!”
  • Innovation is being stymied by big players who own points of control. He said he told Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), “Not being evil isn’t good enough, you need to create more value than you capture.” He said, “We need to grow the technology ecosystem, not eat it.”
  • “You don’t know what quality is as a publisher – it’s what matters to your reader….Publishers: Don’t kid yourself that you’re good at manual curation, those days are over…..It’s seductive to think ‘we’re good at that, I know what people want.'”
  • O’Reilly’s reaction to Godin’s self-publishing: “There’s nothing new with that, it’s a lot of work! Publishers are in the ‘pain-in-the-ass industry’ – we do stuff no one else wants to.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to do something so small that it won’t move the needle, most successes start small.”
  • “Watch for the innovators,” you can buy their company and scale it as a publisher.
  • O’Reilly Media tries to “do interesting work for interesting people.” Their mission is to spread the knowledge of innovators. “You just sorta follow your nose – but that’s assuming you have a mission.”

Business Models:

  • Book publishers should look at different business models for e-books. For O’Reilly, Safari Books Online subscriptions is their 2nd biggest source of revenue.
  • The industry missed an opportunity – “We could have had algorithmic pricing for e-books. Google could have helped the publishing industry with this, but we screwed ’em.”
  • “The elephant in the room in publishing is: What’s the right price for an e-book?”
  • “The demand and the economics do not line up” for content.

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