Sharing Culture in Books and the Benefits of Openness: Social Networks, P2P & Infinite Digital Space


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Presented at Simon Fraser University, Book Publishing Immersion Workshops on July 21, 2010.

My presentation is called "Sharing Culture in Books and the Benefits of Openness: Social Networks, P2P & Infinite Digital Space."

An investigation into adaptation, digital transition in the book publishing industry.

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Sharing Culture in Books and the Benefits of Openness: Social Networks, P2P & Infinite Digital Space

  1. 1. Sharing Culture in Books and the Benefits of Openness: Social Networks, P2P & Infinite Digital Space Presented at SFU Book Publishing Immersion Workshops 2010 By Sean Cranbury Twitter: @seancranbury | @booksontheradio Email: sean [at] booksontheradio [dot] ca Web:
  2. 2. Some Personal History/Context: 18 years as an independent bookseller ‘89-’07: Chapman Books, Duthie Books, Virgin Books, Sophia Books. Founding Editor at House of Parlance Media, Inc. published Shane Koyczan’s Visiting Hours, packaged Avril Lavigne’s Make 5 Wishes for Del Rey. Deep roots in traditional bookselling with independent publishing experience now exploring digital.
  3. 3. The Web is Opportunity: Limited opportunity to work in bookselling and publishing lead to the creation of Books on the Radio. Radio show designed to engage creators, publishers, editors about their work and the changing industry. Weekly interviews broadcast on-air and archived online. Podcasts, essays & enthusiasms posted to website.
  4. 4. Open Communities Around Books: Bookcamp Vancouver Bookcamp Toronto, Bookcamp Halifax Bookcamps are self-organized ‘un-conferences’ designed to encourage collaboration and idea sharing among writers, publishing professionals, book enthusiasts and the technology communities - specifically open source.
  5. 5. Social Networks in Action: W2 RVWS: Every Wednesday During 2010 Olympics 11 writers a night Physical book sales Standing room only! 100% driven by social media Video & film documentation Live streamed via UStream channel* Edited, uploaded to YouTube Dedicated Website**, Facebook page Twitter from personal accounts Drive awareness via cultivated networks Point followers to specific sites, info Focus on community, personal connection Make it inclusive! * Urgent texts from home viewers when stream went down. **
  6. 6. Some Thoughts Before We Move On: The book is revolutionary, resilient and adaptable. It’s the “O.G.” of media formats. Book publishers should not fear adaptation. Embrace the digital space as a chance to communicate widely, learn lots, build communities. The future of books is physical with a digital sidecar. Literature is based on stories of transformation.
  7. 7. Sharing Culture in Books Enthusiasm for books, writers, stories leads to sharing. It’s a basic human desire, everyone wants to be a part of something that’s exciting. Enthusiasm creates word of mouth, the best advertising. Word of mouth builds and expands the community. What if nobody is talking about your book?
  8. 8. But What About Digital Sharing? Opportunity to engage, build communities of readers. Nobody says that you have to share everything. Strategy, openness and trust are the foundation. Digital locks are not the answer. Everybody produces free content. Don’t forget to listen.
  9. 9. Thoughts on Piracy: 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy. 2: Piracy is progressive taxation. 3: Customers want to do the right thing, if they can. 4: Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy. From the 2002 essay, Piracy is Progressive Taxation, by Tim O’Reilly. To be widely shared is to be widely relevant.
  10. 10. File Sharing or Piracy? Peer to Peer networks (P2P) are file-sharing networks. Digital files are infinitely replicable, not bound to economies of physical scarcity. Online ‘pirate’ archiving and meta-data curation often superior to publisher efforts. Increased online discoverability, community building, immediate feedback opportunities. Test drive new material for free (agile publishing).
  11. 11. Defining Openness: Being in the same digital spaces as readers/creators and having real conversations with them. Flexible ideas about new technologies - social networks, open source, P2P, streaming, what’s next. Listen to, respond to questions, criticism and praise. Ask questions and have opinions - you can do both! Be agile, adaptable, willing to learn.
  12. 12. Benefits of Openness Direct relationships with audience/future authors. Discovery of new/unexplored markets, traditional territorial boundaries disappear, publish globally instantaneously. New relationships with creators, new genres emerge. Collaboration across town, country, world! Test new material, put out fires before they start.
  13. 13. Infinite Digital Space Ever evolving online potential means engagement is not optional - devices, software, social networks are constantly changing. Rule of Abundance: a digital file is essentially infinite. Embrace this idea, turn it to your advantage. The web is an ever expanding series of links, tags, intersections and signifiers. It loves creativity, participation and links.
  14. 14. Publishing is a Collaborative Process and that collaborative process now includes the reader. The reader has lots of friends. They can be your friends too.
  15. 15. A Few Final Thoughts: PIRACY DOESN’T EXIST. Free digital distribution is the present/future measurement of the relevance of your content.
  16. 16. Future of Copyright Will be determined by creators who will appropriate, remix, recontextualize material from various media - and will allow/encourage the same. Attribution not litigation.
  17. 17. Good content is networked content. Networked content points the reader to a place where she can support the creator/publisher. Supported, influenced, propelled by online community.
  18. 18. Recommended Reading Better Than Free by Kevin Kelly Content is a Service Business by Andrew Savikas Impact of P2P and Free Distribution on Book Sales By Brain O’Leary Interview with Eric Garland of Big Champagne Piracy is Progressive Taxation by Tim O’Reilly
  19. 19. Thanks to: Suzanne Norman, Jocelyn Wagner and everyone at SFU Summer Publishing Workshops. To Brian O’Leary, Sarah Wendell, Neelan Choksi, David Pakman, Mark Coker, Michael Tamblyn, Noah Genner, Andrew Savikas, Jesse Finkelstein. To the fearless ones who embrace the future of the book as an exploration into uncharted territory. Onward!