Thursday, April 23, 2009

The New Role of Publishers

Umair Haque makes a fascinating point in his most recent blog post when he urges the New York Times to acquire Twitter in part to "help the NYT rebuild detailed information about people, products, services, and news." In other words, the NYT becomes not just a source for information published by the NYT, but an aggregator of information provided by everybody.

What if that’s what publishers need to do today? Not just to provide content, but to help their customers share content between each other as well?

While some publishers are beginning to do this in a rudimentary way--OUP has a blog on which readers can converse through comments; HarperCollins has various reading groups--nobody has yet set this as their new business model.

You wouldn't only have to have discussion forums; you'd have to have space for people to upload their own work and the capability for your editorial team to sort it and comment on it somehow, so readers know what their getting (after all, one of the most important functions of the editorial team is as gatekeeper to good information). But a lot of the work would just have to be automated.

Is this the world we're heading to?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Libraries also have this discussion, slightly varied: how far should we shift our resources from being archivists of info to filters of info. Libs have always done both but the dynamics have shifted toward filtering.