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Notes From Tools Of Change

Good morning everyone. I thought I would share some of what I learned at the first day of Tim O’Reilly’s Tools of Change Conference. I took an enormous amount of notes but to be honest the most important thing I heard all day was that Publisher’s Weekly has partnered with Netgalley to allow publishers to send and track galleys electronically. This is huge. Galley production is not only expensive but it is also wasteful. Many if not all galleys end up in the garbage and it is, therefore, difficult to know if they are actually reaching the desks of reviewers. Hopefully, with Netgalley, publishers will be able to cutback on the amount of paper they waste creating galleys and further encourage the publishing industry to go green.

There is your public service announcement for the day.

I also heard a lot of discussion about communities. Douglass Rushkoff initiated this conversation by talking about social currency. In his presentation Rushkoff talked about how most internet activity isn’t about interacting with a computer, rather it is about using a computer to interact with other people. Therefore, publishers must seek out ways (cough, cough, like this blog) to encourage their audiences to use books as an excuse to interact. (Please feel free to interact with me below and let me know how you think this could be implemented.) One example that pops to mind is LibraryThing.

Kathy Sierra continued this conversation by talking about creating passionate users. She told an interesting anecdote about searching for a high-end camera to purchase. On one company’s website she found detailed tutorials about how to use shutter speeds to take beautiful pictures. She was so impressed by the web content she purchased the camera. Sadly though, the camera arrived with only a standard instruction book, where to put the batteries etc…. But the lesson still resonates. Kathy became a passionate user by appreciating the potential of shutter speeds. The question is how can we translate this to publishing? For starters we can help build communities around our books. That way readers can take their passion and use it to help others understand the material.

Next I heard Seth Godin speak. I am already a huge fan of his blog but it was interesting to hear him explain how he turned his readers into viral marketers by providing free content. He believes that the content is key and that books are souvenirs true fans will be willing to pay for. While I am not sure I am convinced that the book has become a souvenir, I was impressed with the clever ways Godin found to attract fans. For one book release Godin offered a free copy of the book for the cost of shipping and handling through Fast Company. When the book arrived, it came in a Godin themed milk cartoon, perfect for starting conversation with your co-workers, who would then also purchase the book.

More thoughts to come but in the meantime check out some of these cool sites, which all build communities of passionate users:

Wikinotes

Newser

Comment Press 

Pixish 

Fray 

Threadless 

Lulu

Prosper 

8020 Publishing 

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