The Next Great Media Form | Fast Company

Many have written about the changing news business, how the economics of inefficiency that characterized newspapers ad sales, which still are the lion’s share of revenues, don’t apply in a world of plenty; how anyone with a smartphone and camera can act as a reporter and draw eyeballs away from so-called mainstream sites; how publishers are hoping the iPad and the teeming apps ecosystem will somehow toss them a lifeline. Fewer, however, have addressed how the actual content is changing.

But we are in the midst of a transformative shift in the craft of journalism. Text-only stories, the kind your parents found in their morning newspapers and characterized by the classic inverted pyramid (most important stuff at the top, least important stuff at the bottom) could eventually go the way of 45-rpm records. The MP3 of journalism may be the “live blog,” which relies on the merging of platforms and weaving of text with video, audio, external links to other articles (including those of rival news organizations), blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and whatever other useful information is available. It doesn’t matter if information originates from a New York Times article, a tweet from an eyewitness on the scene, or someone offering astute commentary and curating links, a video shot by a protester or produced by a team at CNN. Because in the live-blog format disparate platforms become irrelevant, and the walls between these separate silos of content simply dissolve…


Now, consider live-blogging for fiction. Could be something akin to (National Novel Writing Month) but published in real time. Add the notion of collaboration and an exquisite corpse ( might emerge like a digital Frankenfiction.

How to Gift an eBook | BookBaby Blog

How to Gift an eBook

by on November 29, 2011 in eBook Distribution, eBook News


Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports are in; Kindles, iPads, and Nooks are flying off the shelf! I was in a Barnes & Noble on Friday and the line at the Nook station almost went out the door. What does that mean? eReaders will be under millions of Christmas trees this year. But it’s a little more difficult to imagine gifting something as virtual as an eBook, right? Wrong!

Now you can easily gift an eBook with a few clicks of the mouse. Amazon and Kobo allow you to purchase specific eBooks as gifts. All you have to do is type in the email of the recipient, along with the date you’d like the eBook “delivered.” Or you can print out a gift receipt to put in a Christmas Card.

For iPad, Nook, and SonyReader, you can purchase gift cards. (Amazon and Kobo also have gift cards.)

Digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media made the above series of videos for anyone wanting to gift an eBook this season. The video can be a little bit glitchy, so give it a second to warm up. Also, click the “See More” button to select the appropriate video for the appropriate eReader.


This could be quite useful to ebook publishers/authors doing select press outreach. The ebook format provides a better reader experience than a pdf and also serves to remind that the work has inherent value — it’s not a freebie, it’s a gift. Or a bribe, depending on your marketing strategy.

Publish Your Goddamn Book Already

Publishing is dead. Long live publishing. Or at least, self-publishing, which, thanks to a plethora of services and a general de-stigmatization of the so-called vanity press could be entering something of a golden era. So where are the literary breakouts?

The through-line from Gutenberg’s invention of movable type to the desktop publishing revolution of the mid-’80s to our present social-media megaphones, which permit instantaneous publishing of any thought to traverse from one’s temporal lobe to one’s fingertips, can be graphed with a zigzag darting between the authors and publishers and whoever thinks who is in charge at any moment.

Turns out, the author has always been in charge. Moreover, the social acceptance of blogging and other forms of essentially self-published writing has fomented a sea change in the minds of authors who once fretted whether their work was legitimate or not if it hadn’t passed through the hands of a third party. Remarkably, until the 20th century, most literary works were author-published, an MO that seems to be returning thanks to a myriad of new publishing solutions that have emerged in the past decade.

Besides the ubiquity of print-on-demand services like CreateSpace and Xlibris that provide an a la carte menu of services to escort one’s work from a manuscript file to a printed paperback, the burgeoning eBook phenomenon is rapidly becoming where one is most likely to find the next Jonathan Franzen or Sarah Vowell.

Electronic readers are approaching market ubiquity. At present writing, at a cafe, three of the four people reading on the patio are doing so on electronic devices?two Kindles and one iPad; the lone analog holdout is reading a yellowed, dog-eared paperback that looks as if it were rescued from a recycle bin. Apple’s online iBook store, Amazon’s Kindle Store and Barnes & Nobles’ Nook store are among the throng of new venues for the written word now available to authors. Pushing written content to readers online has been here since day one of the internet. But the ability of readers to push real dollars back up the pipe to the author, conveniently, safely and instantly is something else entirely.

New companies are springing up to facilitate these transactions and deliver “creator-owned” content (as they say in the indie comics trade) into your digital devices. Among them is independent music stalwart CD Baby, which took its music marketing model (they aid direct-to-consumer music sales for bands via downloads and on-demand CD delivery) and retooled it for authors. Book Baby is among the latest ventures serving this emerging market, helping authors place their creations on iPads and alike for a nominal fee.

It’s high time the would-be literati exhume their treatises and tracts, tell-alls and tomes from the virtual drawers of their laptops and begin the next renaissance in letters. The sound the next literary lion makes won’t be a roar so much as a click.

Twitter the “Mayor” of the Middle East?

I’m just sophomoric enough to still enjoy a typo or two when it comes from in such a venerable a news organization as the New York Times. In a article exploring the 5th anniversary of the launch of Twitter, the Times substituted the word “mayor” for “major” when describing its role in the recent uprisings in Middle East. “Mayor,” of course, is the distinction earned by players of Foursquare to recognize their provenance as a patron of a local business. Given that millions in the Middle East have “checked in” to Twitter in recent weeks, one might say that Twitter is indeed its Mayor, in the social networking meaning of the word. Maybe it will be rewarded a coupon for a free falafel or maybe a slice of fresh baked democracy…