A few months before I took my position at Technology Review, I started work on a digital publishing company. It’s strictly DIY, which means it’s self-funded for now. Everyone working on the project is doing so out of the kindness of their hearts – and my writers are toiling away on their books.
The methodology behind the company: all digital, all the time. We’re going to deliver books targeted at specific groups (i.e., the kinds of books I find interesting), and we’re going to offer them in a variety of ways: .txt, .doc, .pdf, e-books, and hardback/softback. It’s not difficult to do – and it’s not pricey either. I can put out a book for under $5,000, and have it available (and book quality format) in a multitude of places.
It’s unclear to me why there isn’t more of this going on (although truth be told, I’m not an insider in the book publishing industry – so maybe it is and they just haven’t called me).
But the concept of digital publishing continues to take up most of my spare time in the evenings.
Our own David Talbot even addressed digital publishing (through the lens of the U.S. national archives) in last month’s Technology Review.
And today, this BBC article caught my attention.
500,000 visitors use the British Library’s reading rooms every year The vast majority of UK research material will be available in electronic form by 2020. According to a study commissioned by the British Library, 90 percent of newly published work will be available digitally by this time.