Culture Scout Blog
Patricia-Martin.com
Main Menu
Sub Menu

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is Digital Culture Killing Print? Or Just Readers?

I just finished reading a stack of business books. I’m brain dead. Don't get me wrong. The content was strong. Some very powerful minds out there are helping people solve serious business problems.

-Pam Slim blew me away with her treasure trove of advice for upstarts.

-Bill Wasik waxes eloquently about digital culture, as does Clay Shirky.

-Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff's Groundswell captures the key business advantages of tapping into social technologies with clarity and force.

-Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check is a desk reference for entrepreneurs that is beyond handy. It's a life raft.

So what's my beef? Cracking open even the most compelling business book is like stepping into a coffin. Formatted with all the visual appeal of Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, they are densely packed and relentlessly boring to the eye. How many people read like that any more? My grandmother, maybe.

More and more I'm using my Kindle. Devices like it will trigger new reading habits. Kindle or not, if Tom Peters could wrest his ideas from the tyranny of blandness by partnering with the picture-book publisher Dorling Kindersley, why haven't others followed suit? Because most publishers haven’t caught up with the culture, that’s why.

I'd argue that the Web isn't just changing the business model of publishing, as Chris Anderson discusses in Free, it's changing the user experience. Expectations of print are changing. A digital reading aesthetic is born. Business publishing just missed the christening.

Having marched through seven business books, I applied eye drops and emailed my friend the literature professor. I shared my rant about publishing. What do you think? I asked. His new book on 18th century satirists will be out soon. He wants to offer a free powdered wig with every book purchase to drive sales. His publisher probably loves the idea. What do you think? He asked.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this one on your list?
http://www.thechaosscenario.net/blog/chaos_scenario_sample%20text.pdf

Patricia Martin said...

Not yet. Should it be?

Anonymous said...

i haven't read it but it sounds interesting re: the complete democratization of marketing and media, and what's next.

link to ad age article

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=880577403508564732&postID=3201861009611622624

Barry E. Winders said...

Pat,

I would recommend "How the Mighty Fall" by Jim Collins author of Good to Great.

It is an interesting read about his take on how companies decline beginning with hubris.

Barry

Patricia Martin said...

Barry,
Thanks for the recommendation!
Patricia

Sign up for newsletter
Follow PatriciaMartin on TwitterPatricia Martin Linkedin ProfileRSS Feed