The publishing system of production

In this episode we cover conferences, production systems, W.E. Deming, David Pye, and more

  • We start off by criticising the idea that conferences are educational. Baldur refers to a two year old blog post he wrote about conferences on his old (now defunct) blog.
  • Baldur goes off on one talking about David Pye, workmanship of risk and certainty, and, his current fav, W.E. Deming.
  • The ebook has been designed to match a pre-existing production system, which prevents innovation. Everything gets compared to muffins and/or beef.
  • Books as furniture versus books as media. Some thoughts on how new forms interact with the old (partial displacement). The value of print.
  • Will print and digital diverge? Two different use cases.
  • Is the Kindle’s lack of book design features intentional? Baldur thinks so. His theory is that Amazon wants a more modular publishing industry.
  • Can ebooks withstand competition from other digital media?
  • Baldur airs the idea of audience aggregators.
  • Writing as a (very bad) career choice versus writing as a vocation.
  • Value-based pricing and services. Practical versus emotional value. Why Baldur thinks subscription is the future of digital media consumption. The value of an individual digital artefact is much harder to demonstrate to a regular consumer. (He expanded on this point in a blog post as well.) Tom compares to The Friends of the Royal Academy.
  • Recurring revenue for products with a zero or low marginal cost is gold.
  • Why the web-based Pelican Books is both a huge missed opportunity and not. Grasping an opportunity is a mistake when you don’t have a system in place to capitalise on it.
  • Copying Dickens is a bad idea.
  • Belgravia. How publishers look like mad, adrenaline-fuelled risk seekers to Baldur.
  • The entire point of making anything within a complex system is that you know very little about what is actually happening.