This quote from the Social Media Examiner interview of Seth Godin got my brain working:
The Domino Project is trying to make ideas easier to spread. I think books are important and book publishers are basically trying to kill books. They’re making them too expensive, too long, too slow, too hard to spread and too hard to find. So the public is just ignoring them and moving on to the next thing. (Emphasis mine.)
To be fair, The Domino Project is Mr. Godin’s foray into publishing by experimenting with a new system of connecting authors to readers. The first book from the project, Poke the Box (written by Mr. Godin himself), is a self described manifesto on self-starting. He has taken a new approach to spreading ideas by creating packages for people to buy and share books with others. I have not read more than the preview chapter of the book on Amazon; it certainly looks like the kick in the ass that I could use. But my mind keeps coming back to that highlighted sentence and a question.
Is the publishing system itself broken?
Perhaps broken is too harsh a term. Antiquated is maybe a better term. What has changed in the publishing process leading up to the point of sale (or in this case, license)? The new licensing arrangement is mentioned as a revenue stream, but is it supporting an old and inferior system? Could the HarperCollins’ 26 eBook checkout limit idea be akin putting giant chrome rims on a jalopy?
In applying Mr. Godin’s objections to publishers to the HarperCollins situation, is complying with the “Pretend Its Print” model (too slow, too hard to spread) and making it harder for people to borrow books (too long a wait) just a waste of the library’s money (too expensive)?
If so, then why are we doing it?
If not, then what are the limits of external control over your collection? How many conditions should material be subject to that originate from outside the policies and practices of the library?
Last year, Mr. Godin challenged us on the future of the library.
This year, HarperCollins is challenging the future of the library through its new licensing idea.
Perhaps we can challenge the librarian profession to work towards a whole new concept as to what a collection really means now.
This could be our self starter.
(h/t: Library Link of the Day)