Monday, April 9, 2012

How do traditional publishers add value? From @gigaom

As he has shown with books like “Here Comes Everybody” and his ideas about how the “cognitive surplus” has created a crowdsourcing explosion, Clay Shirky has a way of putting his finger on trends in media — disruptions that we are all experiencing, but sometimes fail to properly appreciate. In a recent interview, he described one of those trends when it comes to publishing: namely, the fact that publishing itself is no longer a job, “it’s a button.” By that he means that the sheer act of publishing something is so simple now that it doesn’t even qualify as a job or a task that requires an entire industry. So what are publishers supposed to do now?
Shirky’s interview was with Findings — a website and service that aims to make reading more social by allowing users to share passages they have highlighted in books — as part of a series called “How We Will Read,” which has also featured authors like Clive Thompson and Steven Johnson. When Shirky is asked how publishing is changing, he says that it isn’t changing at all, it is “going away”:
[T]he word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done… We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t take professional skills. It doesn’t take any skills. It takes a WordPress install.
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