Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Matt Bell

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Dzanc Books is an amazing collaboration of a number of relatively young writers, editors and literary activists.  Founded only a few years ago (2006), it has now brought under its very broad umbrella, a large number of really interesting literary groups and activities, taking advantage of its nonprofit status to raise money for its work.  Here’s a brief description of all the projects they are involved with now (taken from the Dzanc website):

•    Publishes innovative and award-winning literary fiction, including short story collections and novels.
•    Supports several editorially-independent imprints and literary journals, including Black Lawrence Press, OV Books, Keyhole Press, Starcherone, Monkeybicycle, and Absinthe: New European Writing
•    Publishes The Collagist, a monthly online literary journal launched in August 2009
•    Recognizes the best stories, poems, and non-fiction published online each year through the Best of the Web anthology series, now in its third year
•    Provides low-cost writing instruction to beginning and emerging writers by connecting them with accomplished writers through the innovative Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions
•    Funds the Dzanc Writers-in-Residence Program, which places published authors in public schools to teach creative writing to elementary and secondary students
•    Conducts the yearly Dzanc Prize, which recognizes a single writer for both literary excellence and community service, as well as an annual short story collection competition
•    Offers the Disquiet International Literary Program, a writing conference held in Lisbon, Portugal
•    Creates internship opportunities for students looking to gain valuable experience in independent publishing

Dzanc has been on my radar for a while, and I subscribed to their really interesting e-book club, which is not only a cool idea for an independent press to undertake, but is also a great way for readers to easily find some new writers to read and enjoy.  This particular project represents some great new thinking about ways that digital technology can create new opportunities for publishers to interact with readers.  But Dzanc’s nonprofit model, and ability to foster new projects across a broad range of literary activities, and to almost amoeba-like, absorb new energy and ideas into its structure is a powerful organizational model that may offer hopeful lessons for literary writing across the country.  Another corollary may be McSweeney’s, which has a similar umbrella approach to innovative and energetic literary projects.

I talked to Matt Bell, who is not only Editor for Dzanc Books, The Collagist and of Dzanc’s Best of the Web anthology series, but is himself a very interesting writer, author of How They Were Found, and three chapbooks and a number of magazines and anthologies. His book reviews and critical essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, American Book Review, and The Quarterly Conversation.  We discussed the plethora of Dzanc activities, their overall business model, and in particular their digital publishing program, all of which I think is valuable for anyone thinking about how publishing and writing are evolving into a new and vibrant future.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Michael Jacobs

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Michael Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer at Abrams Books.  He started out in publishing as a page in the main branch of the Oakland (CA) Public Library and was the first sales rep hired by Bookpeople, the innovative and much missed employee-owned Berkeley wholesaler of independent press books (which is when I first met him – late 1970s).

From there Michael moved to Penguin USA, starting as a sales representative based in the Pacific Northwest and quickly rising to become President of the Viking Penguin division and a member of the board of directors. He then served as Executive Vice President of Simon and Schuster’s Trade division, Publisher of the Free Press, and Senior Vice President in Scholastic’s trade book group.

At Scholastic, Michael was responsible for the publishing, marketing, sales and distribution of the most successful books in publishing history—the first five Harry Potter books, which sold over 80 million copies in the US.  He joined Abrams in 2004, and has directed the company successfully through virtually a complete business makeover.  During his time at Abrams, the company has launched the best-selling Wimpy Kid series – which has sold 42 million copies in North America and has been published in over 36 countries, as well as a number of other highly successful books and series.

Founded by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, Abrams was the first company in the United States to specialize in the creation and distribution of art and illustrated books. It is now a subsidiary of La Martinière Groupe.   Abrams is best  known as a publisher of high quality illustrated books, especially art, photography, cooking , gardening, crafts, sports and children’s books.  In recent years, under Michael’s direction Abrams has successfully broadened its reach, especially in pop culture and comic arts.  I wanted to talk to Michael about his work at Abrams – not the least because illustrated books have faced so many different kinds of challenges in the past few years and he and his team at Abrams have been so successful throughout.  But I also think his experience across a variety of trade publishing genres and company sizes (independent press, adult, childrens and illustrated books, large companies as well as smaller ones) gives him a unique perspective on the past, present, and future of publishing, in both print and digital formats that is valuable for others in the book industry to hear.

Michael’s success at Abrams may provide ideas and inspiration to many in publishing who are looking for ways to help remake their companies as the retail landscape continues to evolve and change.  He is always cogent and incisive in his thoughts, and is someone whom I have always enjoyed talking with about books and ideas.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Mike Shatzkin

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Mike Shatzkin, is the founder and operator of a well known book industry consulting business called The Idea Logical Company.  He’s also a blogger extraordinaire who writes incisively about issues in the book industry at The Shatzkin Files and who is never afraid to make public predictions about the future of books and the book business he knows so well, having essentially grown up in the business from an early age.  He is an organizer of conferences, and a frequent speaker at publishing industry gatherings large and small.

The description of Idea Logical on its website sums up Mike’s role pretty succinctly: “The Idea Logical Company consults to book publishers and their trading partners about the changes engendered by digital transformation to every component of the value chain.”  Mike has spent thirty years addressing all sorts of issues and problems for publishing and retailing clients of all sizes.  In recent years, his work has focused on the changes created for the publishing industry by a variety of new and emerging digital technologies.  He was an early advocate of digital publishing, and also established the concept of “verticality” or subject specific publishing as a way to organize publishing around digital technologies.

Beyond his interest and expertise in publishing, Mike is also a writer and an active entrepreneur.  In this interview, we did not discuss any of his baseball related writing, editing, publishing and website development – if we had, it’s likely we would have used up all our time talking about our mutually shared passion, a subject in which Mike has also had an entire career simultaneously with his consulting work and constant thinking and analysis about books, publishers, readers and the business that serves them.

In my opinion, Mike talks just as clearly and intelligently, if not more so, than he writes, which given his writing talents, is saying alot.  We certainly had a lot of fun in this conversation, which I think will be useful and interesting to anyone interested in the future of books and reading.  As Mike says in his latest blog post: “Sometimes, and it would seem quite often these days, the future comes faster than you expected it.”

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Don Leeper

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I believe these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Don Leeper is the founder of Bookmobile, based outside of Minneapolis, providing outsourced production services to independent and academic publishers all over the world.  The company was founded as Stanton Publication Services in 1982, and has grown significantly over the years, now offering not only pre-press services for print books, as well as growing digital printing business, an expanding range of digital book production services, including ebooks and apps, and even an off-shoot business for book distribution.  OR Books has hired Bookmobile to provide all of its production services, as some other publishers have also done.

What attracted my attention most recently to this company is their announcement of Ampersand, an iPad app created to preserve the layout and pagination of poetry (and of course any other book for which specific line and page layouts are critical).  It’s been one of the raps on ebooks that poetry essentially does not work in the Kindle (mobi) and other popular reading devices or platforms that use ePub as the format for their content.  Ampersand enables publishers (and poets who want to publish their own work) to preserve complex page compositions easily and as an app provides both a reading environment and a sales structure on the iPad (and presumably the iPhone and iPod as well).

Clearly Leeper and his crew are creative and working hard to provide a wide range of needed services for independent and academic publishers, for whom the fast changing digital environment presents significant challenges.  He’s also a great example of someone who has been agile in moving from traditional publishing workflows into new digital realms while retaining a strong commitment to the important values of design and interface that will always be necessary for writers, publishers and readers, whatever the devices or delivery systems they use for reading.

Ampersand shows alot of promise for many independent publishers of poetry and other types of work where the actual page concept still matters, especially because cost of production matters most for small circulation content (there are certainly other PDF based e-book publishing methods available, but most are more costly and not highly automated).  A few poetry publishers are on board with Bookmobile to pilot the Ampersand project, and we’ll be interested to see some finished work in coming months.

In this interview, Don and I had a wide ranging and lively conversation about digital publishing, poetry, and the future of print and ebooks.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Rick Richter

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I believe these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

I’ve known Rick Richter for a number of years.  He is smart, energetic and incredibly creative.  I am told he plays a mean guitar too.  He’s unusual in publishing for having been a leader in both sales and editorial, and for being at heart, an innovator and entrepreneur.  I have talked to him a number of times over the past couple of years about his thinking and ideas, and have been interested in his new venture, Ruckus Media since it was still a brainstorm generated idea.  Unlike many brainstormed ideas, this one has become real, and very quickly too.

Ruckus represents at least one budding trend in publishing for kids – which is to be born digital and to stay that way.  Print, ink and paper will be someone else’s job.  At a recent Digital Book World presentation, Rick’s signature statement about his new work was this: “books you can play with and games you can read.”

Rick is currently President, CEO, and Chair, Ruckus Media Group.  Previous to founding Ruckus, he was President and Publisher of the Simon & Schuster Children’s Division (1996 – 2008).  In 1990, Rick co-founded Candlewick Press, the prestigious children’s publisher based in Boston.

“The goal of Ruckus is to combine the most creative minds in children’s media with tremendously exciting new mobile devices. We’ll be satisfied when a mom or dad can hand their phone or tablet to their child without one ounce of guilt, knowing that the experience the child is about to have will entertain them, challenge them, perhaps make them giggle, and be utterly satisfying.” Beginning in May, Rick will be an adjunct professor at the NYU Master of Science Program in Publishing.

Rick and I had a great talk, not just about what he is doing at Ruckus to make change and create a new way of publishing for kids, but also about the future of digital publishing and much more.  Ruckus, along with a number of other new digital publishers are in the process of establishing new ways for children to experience books and reading in some very exciting ways.  And it looks like they are having alot of fun doing it.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Liza Daly

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Liza Daly and her partner Keith Fahlgren work together as ThreePress Consulting, providing “expert consulting services and software engineering in digital publishing.”  Liza’s name comes up constantly in discussions about ebooks and the emerging technology of publishing.  Recently I’ve become interested in how HTML5 operates, as this new standard appears to have a great deal of potential use for handling online display and consumption of digital publishing in a web browser environment and elsewhere.  Liza created Bookworm as a free platform for reading ePub format ebooks online and now with Keith, she has developed Ibis Reader, which enables reading ebooks on computers and devices without having to download ebook files or even understand how ebook files and devices work (and Ibis is written in HTML5).

In addition Liza and Keith are active in the open source technology community and are strong advocates for experimentation, agile development, and innovation in publishing. In April of 2010, Liza was elected to the IDPF Board of Directors. Both Keith and Liza are members of various IDPF EPUB Working Groups, including the EPUB 3.0 Working Group. Liza was a member of the advisory board for the Web 2.0 Expo NYC conference in 2008 and 2009, and was also on the board for O’Reilly’s digital publishing conference, Tools of Change 2009-2011.

I wanted to talk to Liza to better understand the emerging landscape of ebooks and e-reading as she sees it from her perspective.  She is so deeply involved in new technologies and also has a terrific understanding of use and useability, which of course are critical for the future of digital publishing.  I’ve used Ibis Reader now and it works really well.  What comes next will be very interesting to see and hopefully this talk with Liza will be useful to listeners who are interested, as I am, in how new technologies will create opportunities for publishers, writers and readers in the near future.  It’s critical that we understand how we interact with new software, how its use affects our comprehension of information and ideas, and how we can in turn influence the emerging future we are about to inhabit.  Since Liza is one of the proverbial “smartest people in the room” I can’t think of anyone better from which to learn.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews John Oakes

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

OR Books was founded in 2009 by two very experienced book publishing veterans, Colin Robinson and John Oakes, who realized that after many years, that the way books have been published and sold in the 20th century no longer applies in the 21st.  John’s description of their new venture (as told to O’Reilly Radar for their “TOC Evolvers” series) goes like this:

OR Books is driven by two concepts. Well, three. One: the current system of distribution and production, returns and discounts, in publishing doesn’t work for stores, authors, or publishers. Two: we will publish politically progressive and culturally adventurous work. Three: the classic rules of publishing still hold true: you need good editing, design, and marketing.

To address the first concept, we decided to scratch the Byzantine rules that surround the distribution and production of books: we sell straight to consumers, do intensive marketing, and then license the book to “traditional publishers.” We generally do not sell to wholesalers or booksellers, be they independent, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. We are “platform agnostic,” offering consumers their books as ebooks or in physical, printed form. They choose.

I originally wanted to interview both John and Colin together, but the timing did not work out.  Colin was someplace exotic like London, so I talked to John in his tiny home office in Manhattan.  We had a great talk, as there is alot to talk about.  Alert to listeners, and while this is the longest Publishing Talks interview I have done, at about 45 minutes long, I think well worth the investment of time and you can always listen to it in more than one sitting.

OR Books was founded by John Oakes and Colin Robinson as a publishing company embracing e-books and other new technologies. They have already published some excellent (and timely) books, their first being Going Rouge (a great book to launch with), Eileen Myles’ riveting novel Inferno, and Doug Rushkoff’s new Program or be Programmed.  Their work is political, cultural, and literary, and so far has been terrifically interesting work.

John Oakes co-founded the publishing company Four Walls Eight Windows. When his company was purchased by the Avalon Publishing Group, he became publisher of Thunder’s Mouth Press, co-publisher of Nation Books, and vice president of Avalon. Among the authors he has published are Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Gordon Lish, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, John Waters and Edmund White. Oakes serves on the board of PEN America. He has written for the Associated Press, the International Herald Tribune, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction.

Colin Robinson was until recently a senior editor at Scribner. Previously he was managing director of Verso Books and publisher of The New Press. Among the authors he has published are Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Mike Davis, Norman Finkelstein, Eduardo Galeano, Eric Hobsbawm, Lewis Lapham, Mike Marqusee, Rigoberta Menchú, Matt Taibbi and Jann Wenner. He has written for a broad range of publications including The New York Times, The Sunday Times (London) and The Guardian (London) and has appeared on a wide range of broadcast media including NPR (“On the Media”), CNN, MSNBC, CBC and CSPN.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Andy Campbell

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

When I recently accidentally discovered the work of UK writer Andy Campbell, I was completely blown away.  First because the work is so good, imaginative, creative that makes full use of the digital environment to tell stories in a thoroughly new way.  But second, simply because I was so surprised that he had been doing this work for so long, and I had never learned of it before now.  It’s just proof that the creative world we inhabit is so vast and full of creative individuals, fragmented and as full of stars as the night sky.  And it is great fun to find new kinds of writers and writing, and learn so much from their own experiences.

Andy Campbell is a digital writer who has been working at the forefront of digital fiction since 1994. He is the author of Dreaming Methods, a website described by the UK’s Times Educational Supplement as “One of the most impressive purveyors of the new art of internet reading… a distinctive voice that couldn’t be replicated in print.” He is also co-director of One to One Productions Ltd, creating and facilitating multimedia projects for charities, arts organizations and others.

Andy is great fun to talk to, has some valuable insights and thoughts about the emergence and future of digital storytelling, and I hope this talk will gain him some new readers for his really exciting story telling.  I think his work represents a profound shift in the way our culture imagines and tells its stories.  (below a small screenshot from Nightingales Playground – “a young man attends a school reunion only to discover none of his old friends remember the same things he does”).  Do visit Dreaming Methods, it is well worth the time to explore (and support this digital innovator by subscribing).

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Ron Martinez

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Ron Martinez, is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Invention Arts. His primary focus is on [aerbook], a web-based publishing and marketing platform that helps books and potential readers find one another on the social web (www.aerbook.com). Ron is a prolific inventor, with close to a hundred and fifty issued patents and patent applications currently in flight. He brings a combination of, technical, creative, intellectual property development and management, design, and strategic and operational business experience to his work at Invention Arts, and finds that his initial interest in computing as an expressive medium continues to define his agenda.

His introduction to the medium was in the mid-80’s, when he was an aspiring novelist in New York, writing YA adventure books, contributing to humor anthologies, writing comics for Heavy Metal and other publications–anything to put food on the table. A book packager asked him to adapt an Arthur C. Clarke novel, Rendezvous with Rama, to graphic adventure format, perhaps the first major author’s works to be so adapted. Taken with the expressive possibilities of the medium, Ron taught himself to program software and built an interactive fiction system, and went on to use that and enhancements to it, as well as entirely new systems, to write interactive fiction, original murder mysteries, political simulations, and other titles for publishers like Simon & Schuster, Spinnaker, Philips Interactive Media, Electronic Arts, and others. By the mid-90’s he was deeply interested in the design of story-rich, massively multiplayer online games. His game 10Six was one of the first of these, a social/tribal million player game published and operated by Sega. (Though built in the late 90’s, it continues to thrive as an indie game at ProjectVisitor.com. 10six introduced ownable, transactable virtual goods for the first time, a technology Ron was awarded a foundational patent for in 2001. Virtual goods models have since emerged as a dominant form of commerce for social networks and social games.

Prior to his current work at Invention Arts, Ron worked for a number of years as Vice President, Intellectual Property Innovation for Yahoo! There he designed and built the IP Innovation function which over a four year period delivered high volume targeted, patentable IP and productizable innovation. He also initiated Yahoo!’s content IP asset management and operations program, implementing a global, real-time rights infrastructure called Rights Engine.

His interests include invention techniques; the evolution of books and the current reimplementation of the publishing industry, intellectual property strategy; content rights; content IP and social distribution; electronic payments; virtual property; online payments; networked games; educational software; social media; social media advertising and marketing; social media monetization; mobile media; media metadata; media sharing and reuse; media remixing; and distributed media production.

It was from Ron’s announcement of Aerbook that I learned of his work.  I was very excited as soon as I began exploring this project, because it launched just as I have been thinking about the implications of publishing as a social endeavor in the digital universe.  Aerbook in fact is created around the notion of book as a multi-channel conversation between writers and readers, and I think it demonstrates concretely how powerfully publishing can be re-imagined.  Ron’s experience as a writer who has mastered the skills and tools of software development and storytelling in a digital environment also brings forward the changes in how writers can work in this new environment.  I hope you will find this discussion as interesting and thought provoking as it was for me talking to Ron Martinez.  I think we are just now seeing the true beginnings of a “modern” form of publishing that will in fact expand the reach of writers and change their relationships with readers for the good of all.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Peter Brantley

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Peter Brantley is the Director of the Bookserver Project at the (totally cool) Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based not for profit library. He contributes regularly to several blogs on libraries and publishing, discussing transformations in media and information access. He serves on the board of the International Digital Publishing Forum, the standards setting body for digital books. Peter has significant experience with academic research libraries and digital library development programs, and was previously the Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation, a not for profit membership organization of research and national libraries.

As Peter pointed out to me recently, the word “rant” is a part of his name.  So we could expect him to have something interesting to say about almost any subject related to books and the digital landscape.  I think that comes across well in our talk.  He brings to bear his experience as a librarian but also has a broad perspective on many subjects simply because he pays attention to so many ideas and developments across a wide spectrum of subject areas and interest groups.  We had a lot of fun talking together, and hope listeners will enjoy our talk as well.

I am happy to say that this is the 100th post on Writerscast, a milestone of sorts, I suppose.

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