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peter brantley
internet archive
san francisco ca
concept of
an “organizational field”
(defined)

often complex groups or
sets of actors involved.
stable industry indicates
stable network

for both organizations
and people
Disruption in core aspects: production,
means, distribution of goods/services –
creates conflicts
good example:
digital rights for backlist titles

rights to the latent rents
were never arbitrated
confusing enough issue to be a
major component of GBS proposal
(“Author-Publisher Procedures”)
authors X agents X publishers

roles suddenly become vague,
technology makes apparent
buried conflicts in contracts
outcome:

rosetta, wylie v. random house

well what is interesting ... ?
books enter digital market.
the present condition
of the book industry:

a new threshold, for industry-wide
no dominant paradigm for product
the automotive industry:
imagine planes vs. cars
(what if planes offered personal
 commuting alternative – wow!)

ebook characterization is happening
in shadow of historical print pattern
the efforts to build
a new market stasis-

determine the primary
“axis of competition”:
product | pricing | services
deep technology shifts
usually remove the ability
to focus on a single axis
digital (creation, distribution)
have {many} {new}

implications for ubiquity and
control of products, services
fields that have become disrupted
are naturally subject to the formation
of new emergent biases in conduct.

(there is no existing practice)
any newly introduced stresses
produce unexpected outcomes
evolving by positive feedbacks,
counters are weak.
such as a tendency for
progressive furthering of
emerging monopolies
international rights will force
new emergent practices

uncertainties are easily introduced
for digital books vs. print products
National historical book price fixing laws
subject to stress from international firms
because digital stresses different vectors
tensions exacerbated by complexities
international vs national legal regime –
changes in law difficult to negotiate

something could emerge in
EU or GATT / WTO context
strikingly uncertain right now in an
international context:

who will sell what to whom for what
this does not even touch on
definition of redistribution or
secondary markets national
or international in context!
e.g. consider digital first sale!

an issue common to software
(shrink wrap licensing) less an
issue for music, movies in the
past (although might change)
or
LENDING ...

not as straightforward as buying a
digital copy and putting it on shelf
digital lending requires a new
coordinated technology infrastructure
with access-based accounting systems
quite different than traditional lending
and ...

publisher recalcitrance to
provide lending inventory to libraries
due to perceived loss of a
new revenue opportunity
might force establishment of new
large library consortia acting as their
own platform services providers –

many outcomes might emerge.
“Hold Hands”, wickenden, Flickr
in organizational fields like publishing
that have had a long period of stability
implicit rules formed to govern action
typically bluffs are not called
and brinksmanship is avoided

(consider wylie v random house–
agent and publisher work it out)
one can see this in technology:

patents are usually cross licensed -
not worth divisive shoot_foot_self
lawsuits typically
signal a breakdown
in normative practices
within an organizational field
the core publishing
industry dependencies
established a rich set
of interactions:

author / agent / publisher / selling-agent
as historical patterns erode
the early stage survivors of
market disruption to rebuild
using existing networks

(e.g., R_Nash’s Cursor Books)
author / agent / publisher / selling-agent
increasingly subject not to redefinition
but re-articulation

Not “what is a publisher”
Now “what is publishing”
as industry, publishing is lucky
it has laid claim to an obvious
higher-goal:

disseminating information
this reference point acts to
reduce friction, mitigating
damage from rent seeking
networks alter dramatically when
powerful new entrants impact a
disrupted organizational field –

1)   technologies have changed, and
2)   new domains have entered field
that would be
Silicon Valley:

   Apple
   Google
  Amazon
New entrants are not bound
by any extant dependencies.

Network “damage” occurs when
new org field actors first interact.
Odds of engendering wholly unexpected
consequences is dramatically multiplied.

New actors predominately occupy distinct
organizational networks, in different fields
It is this “asteroid from outer space”
characteristic that makes the industry
raw and exposed for the first time in
decades
out of field (technology) disruption
demands engagement with different
industrial sectors, for radical change.
transmedia and web based delivery
are examples where new entrants
better able to produce, distribute
trying to mold oneself
like plastic sheet wrap
around disrupting agents

(Absorb the Mongols!)

is not a strategy for long term survival
Google's entrance into vending books
(as opposed to mining them for data)

is only part of a larger product portfolio
to convenience its existing partners and
to place pressure on valley competitors.
on the bright side ...

we have stunning new range
of opportunities to build new
services
peter brantley

    co-founder, open books alliance
    director, bookserver project

    internet archive
    the presidio, san francisco, ca

@naypinya (twitter)        peter@archive.org

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Organizational Fields and the Book Industry

  • 2. concept of an “organizational field” (defined) often complex groups or sets of actors involved.
  • 3. stable industry indicates stable network for both organizations and people
  • 4. Disruption in core aspects: production, means, distribution of goods/services – creates conflicts
  • 5. good example: digital rights for backlist titles rights to the latent rents were never arbitrated
  • 6. confusing enough issue to be a major component of GBS proposal (“Author-Publisher Procedures”)
  • 7. authors X agents X publishers roles suddenly become vague, technology makes apparent buried conflicts in contracts
  • 8. outcome: rosetta, wylie v. random house well what is interesting ... ? books enter digital market.
  • 9. the present condition of the book industry: a new threshold, for industry-wide no dominant paradigm for product
  • 10. the automotive industry: imagine planes vs. cars (what if planes offered personal commuting alternative – wow!) ebook characterization is happening in shadow of historical print pattern
  • 11. the efforts to build a new market stasis- determine the primary “axis of competition”: product | pricing | services
  • 12. deep technology shifts usually remove the ability to focus on a single axis
  • 13. digital (creation, distribution) have {many} {new} implications for ubiquity and control of products, services
  • 14. fields that have become disrupted are naturally subject to the formation of new emergent biases in conduct. (there is no existing practice)
  • 15. any newly introduced stresses produce unexpected outcomes evolving by positive feedbacks, counters are weak.
  • 16. such as a tendency for progressive furthering of emerging monopolies
  • 17. international rights will force new emergent practices uncertainties are easily introduced for digital books vs. print products
  • 18. National historical book price fixing laws subject to stress from international firms because digital stresses different vectors
  • 19. tensions exacerbated by complexities international vs national legal regime – changes in law difficult to negotiate something could emerge in EU or GATT / WTO context
  • 20. strikingly uncertain right now in an international context: who will sell what to whom for what
  • 21. this does not even touch on definition of redistribution or secondary markets national or international in context!
  • 22. e.g. consider digital first sale! an issue common to software (shrink wrap licensing) less an issue for music, movies in the past (although might change)
  • 23. or LENDING ... not as straightforward as buying a digital copy and putting it on shelf
  • 24. digital lending requires a new coordinated technology infrastructure with access-based accounting systems quite different than traditional lending
  • 25. and ... publisher recalcitrance to provide lending inventory to libraries due to perceived loss of a new revenue opportunity
  • 26. might force establishment of new large library consortia acting as their own platform services providers – many outcomes might emerge.
  • 28. in organizational fields like publishing that have had a long period of stability implicit rules formed to govern action
  • 29. typically bluffs are not called and brinksmanship is avoided (consider wylie v random house– agent and publisher work it out)
  • 30. one can see this in technology: patents are usually cross licensed - not worth divisive shoot_foot_self
  • 31. lawsuits typically signal a breakdown in normative practices within an organizational field
  • 32. the core publishing industry dependencies established a rich set of interactions: author / agent / publisher / selling-agent
  • 33. as historical patterns erode the early stage survivors of market disruption to rebuild using existing networks (e.g., R_Nash’s Cursor Books)
  • 34. author / agent / publisher / selling-agent increasingly subject not to redefinition but re-articulation Not “what is a publisher” Now “what is publishing”
  • 35. as industry, publishing is lucky it has laid claim to an obvious higher-goal: disseminating information
  • 36. this reference point acts to reduce friction, mitigating damage from rent seeking
  • 37. networks alter dramatically when powerful new entrants impact a disrupted organizational field – 1) technologies have changed, and 2) new domains have entered field
  • 38. that would be Silicon Valley:  Apple  Google  Amazon
  • 39. New entrants are not bound by any extant dependencies. Network “damage” occurs when new org field actors first interact.
  • 40. Odds of engendering wholly unexpected consequences is dramatically multiplied. New actors predominately occupy distinct organizational networks, in different fields
  • 41. It is this “asteroid from outer space” characteristic that makes the industry raw and exposed for the first time in decades
  • 42. out of field (technology) disruption demands engagement with different industrial sectors, for radical change.
  • 43. transmedia and web based delivery are examples where new entrants better able to produce, distribute
  • 44. trying to mold oneself like plastic sheet wrap around disrupting agents (Absorb the Mongols!) is not a strategy for long term survival
  • 45. Google's entrance into vending books (as opposed to mining them for data) is only part of a larger product portfolio to convenience its existing partners and to place pressure on valley competitors.
  • 46. on the bright side ... we have stunning new range of opportunities to build new services
  • 47.
  • 48. peter brantley co-founder, open books alliance director, bookserver project internet archive the presidio, san francisco, ca @naypinya (twitter) peter@archive.org