Can we put Michael Tamblyn in charge of US publishing? All of it? Like, right now?
Some highlights from his presentation, 6 Projects That Could Change Publishing for the Better:
DRM is the biggest problem with ebook readers. Not digital rights management, but date repulsion mode. The physical objects are not attractive! On Tamblyn’s scale of things that will make you more or less likely to get asked for your phone number in public, they fall somewhere between homemade Star Trek jewelry and a Speak & Spell, whereas books make you look smarter and more attractive than you really are.
(Of course, there’s the Plastic Logic Reader, but “it’s like Jesus in that it’s perfect, and it’s going to save the world, but only twelve people have seen it working and nobody knows when it’s going to arrive.”)
There’s a ton of data available about books, but it’s too hard to get. Covers, descriptions, author bios, sales data, availability… all of this should be easier to obtain and mess with, whether you’re an online bookseller or the creator of a new mashup.
Lots of this data is available in printed catalogues already, but for the bookstore buyer, they could be more effective if they could be delivered in a more flexible digital form that offered information specific to the buyer and perhaps enabled a conversation between buyer and publisher.
(You know, looking at that catalogue page, I realize: online booksellers ought to design their book pages a lot more like buyers’ catalogues. Take a look at that spread on Lisa Moore’s book. Wouldn’t it be great if Amazon or IndieBound looked more like that? Another one for the IndieBound suggestion list…)
Tamblyn’s presentation is only half an hour long. If you’re at all interested in the publishing industry, it’s well worth your time to go through the whole thing.
(via Boing Boing)