The Rise of the IJ – Book Publishing Parallels With Music Digital Downloads
Seth Godin is on a mission to change the face of publishing with ‘The Domino Project‘ and I think he’s onto a winner.
For anyone that’s read one of Seth’s books like Linchpin, Tribes or The Purple Cow or subscribed to his fantastic daily blog / newsletter / RSS feed, you’ll know that it’s all about THE IDEA and not the medium on which it is consumed.
Many people, including myself in the past, have poured scorn on the idea of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, but why?
As Seth himself has said in the past, there will always be a place for books – as artefacts, ornaments and mementos of someone’s life and history. There’ll always be people that love the look, smell and feel of the paper in their hands. There’ll also be people that are willing to pay vast sums of money for limited editions, slightly more for hardbacks, or less for paperbacks and on special offers in the latest bestselling book chart.
There’ll also be those that don’t really mind what format the book comes in because all they want/need are the ideas contained within – and I’m hereby dubbing these people the IJs or ‘Information Jockeys‘.
Just like a DJ (which I used to be), these people have a voracious appetite for new ideas and thirst for knowledge. They could be book addicts, academics, journalists and book reviewers or just people that consume more books than the average person. For these people they need the books fast and they want them now, and they’re more than happy to download it to their e-reader if it means that they can get the book for slightly less money or slightly quicker than everyone else.
The IJs see themselves as curators of ideas and pride themselves on being ahead of the curve and more knowledgeable than most about a subject and so for these people it makes perfect sense to download a digital version of a book at a time and place that’s convenient to them, not when the traditional book publisher or shop tells them they can access it.
When I was a DJ I was a self-confessed vinyl junkie (I’ve got a room full of records to prove it) and still love the look, smell and feel of it in my hands. However, when I turned from being a bedroom DJ into being a professional DJ, getting paid to do gigs and to be on the pulse with the latest music – digital downloads became more and more convenient and necessary to my career. Again, there were lots of sceptics around MP3s and the use of CDs used to be frowned upon by ‘serious DJs’ until the Pioneer CDJs came along and changed the game forever. Once the technology arrived to make the use of MP3s and CDs more convenient and user-friendly (not to mention easier to carry from gig to gig) there was no turning back and now it’s hard to find a vinyl turntable in a modern nightclub these days.
So, I say there’s still room for multiple formats but the issue here is about choice. Different formats for different types of user and Seth’s The Domino Project is going to be right there in the thick of it pushing rhe envelope and championing the cause. Watch this space… 😉