November 13, 2008

Michael Cairns on Publishing in a Digital Age

Thanks to Michael Cairns of Information Media Partners for bringing his recent presentation to my attention. It is one he delivered at the Frankfurt Bookfair Supply Chain Meeting and the full title is Publishing in a Digital Age: How Traditional Publishing is Leveraged.

Slides here and video too.

I like what Michael says in the speaker's notes at the end, for slides 22 and 23:

So I ask the following: Do we want to hang on with our finger tips operating in an increasingly unfamiliar business environment? Or, do we embrace the opportunities that digital publishing offers and endeavour to influence and manipulate the publishing environment of the future to our advantage? The answer is obvious but it connotes significant change.


Lastly, I hope you will not begrudge me for not mentioning supply chain once in this presentation. Frankly, the changes I have discussed will change everything about our supply chain and that much should be obvious.

As Michael points out, he doesn't really mention supply chain anywhere in his presentation and I think that's probably very appropriate from the academic library perspective. What's the supply chain for getting book-like information from the producers/publishers to our patrons? In a world of Google Books, big ebook collections that we can buy directly from publishers, torrent sites and Wikipedia, there are very nearly an infinite number of supply chains out there. And academic libraries do have roles in many of those supply chains, but not all of them.

Or perhaps we can imagine a world with just one (important) digital supply chain -- maybe Google, the 800 pound gorilla of the online (publishing) world, will become that ebooks supply chain in the future. I think with their latest announcement they may be setting itself up as a kind of supply chain by selling to individuals and licensing to libraries. As I said in that post, it's a potential game-changer for the ebook business for academic libraries.

No comments: