Apropos of a conversation I had with an industry pro on Friday, this nifty little comment from Galleycat:
…with the industry in as much flux as it is right now, it’s better to experiment and risk failure than to sit on the sidelines and then try to learn how to do what works after somebody else figures it out.
GalleyCat was referring to online promotion in the book industry, a panel he was on at BookExpo America (BEA). It’s an important observation in the context of book and author marketing, but I think it can also be applied across the whole digital publishing spectrum. If publishers adopt a “wait and see” attitude, they cede the market advantage. They may be worried about risk, or they may wonder who, among their industry rivals, will be the first to really seize the opportunity. However, are they sufficiently worried about people from outside publishing who are encroaching on their space – Amazon, Google and, before long I’d wager, Apple? Because when one or all of these behemoths turn their eye to a market, they colonise it. Seems like better sense to dive in, even if you’re not sure whether the water’s warm.
By the way, GalleyCat’s notes about online promotion from that BEA panel are fantastic. Go read them here.