In a series of four posts, I am publishing additional material written for OCLC to support what I see as the implications of content abundance.
The third observation claimed that “because publishers are competing with businesses that already use low- and no-cost tools, trying to beat them on the cost of content is a losing proposition. Instead, they need to develop opportunities that encourage broader use of their content.”
For OCLC, I added:
Prices, already under pressure as the popularity of digital content grows, are likely to go lower. Offering content that can be shared and loaned may help sustain a certain level of pricing, but the current practice of editing content for a single use, even a single format, is an expensive and unsustainable approach.
In the future, tagged content will be recombined, reused and in many cases sold as a component or chunk. We already see this in textbook publishing and in some STM markets.
In a different, parallel example, Bloomberg’s media efforts are built around extensive deployment of “write once, read many”. As with the arguments for agile content, not every market is equally attractive, but publishers should be challenging themselves now, as any book created in the old order is one they will likely wind up retooling in the new one.
Tomorrow (to close): “Publishers will distinguish themselves if they can provide readers with tools that draw upon context to help them manage abundance.”