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The end of the independent bookstore (and a new golden age for books)

ACT 1: The Book of the Month Club. After World War II, a wealthier, better educated country started engaging in more culture, more often, in a more widespread way. We were more likely to watch the same movies, more likely to listen to more music, and much more likely to want to read the books [...]

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Does Kickstarter work as a platform for books?

Those that have been following along have seen the Kickstarter posts I did here, here and here. Feel free to go catch up, I’ll wait… THE THEORY: The hardest part of book publishing is getting the first 10,000 copies of a book read. After that, the book either resonates or it doesn’t. It’s talked about, [...]

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Voting for a winner

The single most fascinating Kickstarter stat is this: The odds of succeeding with your campaign are ten times higher once you reach about half of your goal. While this is somewhat self-fulfilling (only popular campaigns get that far anyway), it actually points to an irrational part of human nature: we don’t want to back a [...]

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When you focus on what’s being removed, it’s easier to understand the revolution

We remove shelf space as a limiting factor in books. We remove the cost of polycarbonate as a cost factor in CDs. We remove paper as an expense in magazines. We remove the number of channels as a limiter in the broadcast of TV. These are not small changes. These are revolutionary shifts in what’s [...]

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Confusing media with messages

Yesterday’s post about the halfway mark got a few responses from people who thought I was selling books short. “There has not ever been, nor will there ever be, a “halfway point” for cultural achievements,” one wrote. Let me try again, with more detail. We can probably all agree that more than half of the [...]

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And then what happens?

What happens when we reach the halfway point, when most of the great books have already been published?  Just as most of the great TV shows have probably already been made, and most of the great classical music recordings have already been recorded. Golden ages don’t last forever, and it’s entirely possible that we’ve reached [...]

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The power of simultaneous action

In 1776, the USA was more than 40 days across. It took over a month to ride on a horse from one end to the other. Today, it takes less than a second. And yet just about all of our systems are built around the slow build, the slow transfer of information and the slow [...]

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Kindle data progress four years later…

I’ve written a few posts about how I’d maximize the value of e-readers. Here’s the first and the second. Four years later, one of the things I’ve been agitating for–using the knowledge of how much time people spend reading a book and how many finish it–is starting to become real. Phil found this article in [...]

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Watching the price of media fall

I did a show at the NBC headquarters in NY a few weeks ago. I’m guessing that it costs them about $6,000 a minute to make a news show in the studio. That counts the painters, the set guys, the three camera operators and their assistants, the lighting guys, the producer, the executive producer, the [...]

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Author’s wishlist for Kickstarter

Having had a ball using Kickstarter, I couldn’t help but notice ways I’d like to improve it. Here are my top tweaks: Allow backers to get more than one reward. Right now, you need to open two accounts to fund two rewards. This is silly and helps no one. Allow organizers to load balance after [...]

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