Earlier today, I presented “The opportunity in abundance” to members of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC). Those attending asked a range of challenging and hopeful questions, pushing back against my beliefs around the value of DRM and the likelihood that publishing can ever regain ground lost to the new gatekeepers.
In the presentation, I ask the many members of the publishing supply chain to think about how what we do is actually received and used. It’s an argument I’d call “high-minded”, in that commerce to me is the result of value provided, not just the revenue due for having provided a good or service.
Toward the end of the time set aside for questions, a publisher asked if I might extend the outcome to include any social goods obtained: the value of literacy as a vehicle to help reduce the number of children living in poverty, for example. He argued, quietly, for a perspective that placed our publishing conundrum in a greater, more important context.
That we in publishing can help create, maintain and expand a social good is a hopeful reminder. Most of us came to publishing for the chance to work on something other than business models. Now is our time.