Thursday, October 6, 2011

The future of the book

Meanwhile, everyone is not as happy with economic developments as Apple stockholders. Sam Harris discusses the future of the book in the Daily Beast. He admires an article Christopher Hitchens has just written in Vanity Fair:

Vanity Fair has a print circulation of around 1 million copies; the current issue has a fresh photo of Angelina Jolie on its cover; and Hitch is one of the best writers to ever draw breath. However, I’m reasonably sure that this blog post, or the next one, will reach more readers than his latest gem. For bloggers like Ferriss and Godin, the future arrived long ago: Publishing in Vanity Fair would be tantamount to burying their work. This is astounding.

A blog can get more hits than a major traditional magazine. The economics of short e-books make them difficult to sustain, but fewer people have the appetite for a full book.

Maybe this is also an example of the power-law winner-take all model which is growing in many industries - a few massive size concerns, and then a long long tail of smaller and smaller sites or blogs or organizations. A few category killers, and then an infinity of smaller niches, with open access and unpredictable success.

How people discover new things and direct their attention is at the core of the new economy.

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