In February, I will be one of the keynote speakers at O’Reilly TOC/Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York, along with my friend Alan Jacobs, an author and professor at Wheaton College in Illinois. I can’t tell you yet exactly what Alan and I are going to be presenting, except that it’s going to be very smart and a lot of fun, mostly because I plan on getting out of Alan’s way as much as I can.
Back in September, as part of the preparation for TOC 2012, I sat down for an interview with O’Reilly’s Mac Slocum to talk about big trends in digital publishing and how they intersect with emerging issues across media and technology. The big story at that moment was Netflix’s now-abandoned plan to spin off DVD rentals into a separate company called Qwikster. (Good times.) The book world was also looking hard at Amazon’s then-rumored library for Prime subscribers, which eventually came to fruition as the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
The Kindle lending library is still a big deal, as Amazon’s opening up royalties from the Lending Library to self-published authors — if they agree to go exclusive with Kindle Direct Publishing for at least 90 days. Not many people think this is a very good deal for authors.
All of these stories come up over the course of the interview, and thankfully I don’t say anything about them that’s hopelessly dated. I also argue that Kickstarter is the most innovative recent publishing startup (but not for the reasons you might think) and that our experience with multiple reading screens is leading to a whole new set of expectations that readers bring to the table.
On Thursday, Jenn Webb wrote up a great summary of the interview for O’Reilly Radar. I still believe in everything I say there. I do wish I’d remembered to bring my razor to New York. I would love to hear what Epicenter readers think of it, and I hope to see a few of you at TOC in February.