The disruptive impact of digital technologies, particularly the way that they change both consumer expectations and the threshold for a "minimum viable product", is a regular theme here (and elsewhere). The impact was once something on the horizon, a thing we should be thinking about. It's not on the horizon anymore…
While we were gathered in Alberta, Random House announced that it was using Flipboard, the digital-magazine platform, to launch two custom publications for books by two of its authors, Margaret Atwood and George R.R. Martin. I added the announcement at the end of my second presentation, using it as an example of how publishers can think about disaggregating supply.
As reported by GigaOm's Laura Hazard Owen, the Atwood magazine expands on the world created for a trilogy that culminates with MaddAddam, released in August. Owen captures Random House's view of the project:
The magazine will enhance the experience of being immersed in the brilliantly imagined world that Margaret Atwood has created in the trilogy.
In contrast, Random House is promoting the George R.R. Martin project, but the magazine was created by a fan site. Its content is based on Song of Ice and Fire, a series written by Martin; the magazine extends the world created by the author into a new medium.
Revamping content to test magazine formats, engaging with fan sites, tapping into a loyal and interested community … all good things. They're here now.