Reinventing publishing

We live in a small house, and with our middle child home from college during the holiday break, we realized that the influx of college textbooks (shiny and new) would force us to find homes for some of our vintage purchases.

In sorting through the books that might make it to the library, I came across a hardcover version (746 pages!) of the 1994 Information Please Business Almanac. It is chock full of information that, 15 years later, none of us would ever think of looking up in a book. We have the Internet, something the book dedicates a slim six paragraphs to on page 634 (a compendium of emoticons on the preceding page gets more space). My favorite piece of advice: “Get a very fast fax modem”.

But that’s not really news. Lots of things in print look old, quaint or just plain bizarre years on down the road. What’s interesting about this book, among the last of the big almanacs, is its editor, author of the self-described “most popular marketing blog in the world”: Seth Godin.

If you check out Godin’s book credits, they start after the Business Almanac. That’s a shame, because his transition from a classic print to an evolving community model is both breathtaking and instructive. Hype and speakers’ fees put aside, there’s hope that we won’t all be buying fax modems in 2025.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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