Friday, December 09, 2005

In the footsteps of Tom Payne.

The thing that most interests me about the internet is the way that it creates conversations. The combination of an easy way to publish and good search tools for finding content makes it possible for communities of interest to grow up without geographical constraints. This is a huge deal: Freedom of speech is useless if my speech can't reach your ears.

Digital publishing is great, but I never travel without real books. They're portable, durable and work even in places where there's no broadband or electricity.

I've written elsewhere about search tools for printed matter, like Google Book Search (formerly Google Print -- and the name change is an interesting story all by itself). There are some cheap-and-easy production strategies for people who want to make books, like the ones that Brewster Kahle uses in the Internet Bookmobile. Until recently, though, I didn't know about any simple and accessible do-it-yourself distribution strategy to put self-published material in front of a global audience.

Kevin Kelly's CoolTools site has a great article on how to get your books, CDs and DVDs to buyers by using as your sales channel. The emergence of on-line communities is exciting, but off-line communities are important, too. It's just common sense.


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