Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Tech: 'Horse Breeders Did Not Invent the Motorcar'

Shelf Awareness
"Technological change is discontinuous. The monks in their scriptoria did not invent the printing press, horse breeders did not invent the motorcar, and the music industry did not invent the iPod or launch iTunes. Early in the new century book publishers, confined within their history and outflanked by unencumbered digital innovators, missed yet another critical opportunity, seized once again by Amazon, this time to build their own universal digital catalog, serving e-book users directly and on their own terms while collecting the names, e-mail addresses, and preferences of their customers. This strategic error will have large consequences."

--Jason Epstein in his review of Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson (Polity) in the New York Review of Books.

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