IVP - Andy Unedited - The Obvious Solution for Publishers

December 14, 2011

The Obvious Solution for Publishers

Publishing faces unprecedented challenges these days, with the decline of bookstores and the rise of the Internet and ebooks. The ultimate difficulty may, in fact, be the digital dilemma.

Music, videos and news have been digitized, and which has sent those industries into chaos. And all sorts of other information have been digitized and liberated on the Internet for the greater good of the planet--at the ability of content providers to make a living, which ultimately has a negative effect on new content produced and so a negative effect on the planet. But I digress.

What is a publisher to do?

The problem seems to be that publishers produce a product that is all too easily digitized. Oil, however, can't be digitized. Haircuts can't be digitized. Coffee, taxi rides, cigarettes, cough syrup and clearing blocked toilets can't be digitized either. The solution for a publisher, then, is obvious.

Publish goats.

Goats can't be digitized. Sure, you can have a digital picture of a goat, just as you can havegoat.jpg digital picture of an unplugged toilet. But the picture does you little good if your actual toilet is stopped up.

Likewise, a picture of a goat is no substitute for an actual goat, which produces milk, climbs on sheds, eats all manner of weeds and eventually can supply you with a summerful of yummy BBQ.

I mentioned this to a colleague from another publisher (though I am not normally in the habit of divulging such lucrative trade secrets). He replied, "Yes, but what's the market for goats?"

Doh!

Posted by Andy Le Peau at December 14, 2011 8:31 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments

Wow, Andy! I see all kinds of possibilities with this product strategy. For one thing, every goat would be unique, so the publisher's price could be higher. And readers would be able to customize the goat once they have it--based on diet, exercise, training and other factors. We could also sell ancillary products, such as goat-sized sweaters or goat feed (think of those as book jackets and editorial updates). Also, readers who buy more than one goat would soon have a whole library of goats that interact with each other. We could start a subscription program to capitalize on this. One downside to that, though: In theory readers with a library of goats might be able themselves to produce more goats. This could drive the original publishers out of business over the longer term. So perhaps we should consider some kind of DRM--or GRM, as the case may be. I'm looking forward to talking more about this idea at our upcoming planning retreat!

Comment by: Sally Craft at December 14, 2011 10:19 AM

Sally

I like the way you think. Hadn't thought about that reproduction angle, though. It's kind of the pirating thing all over again. Doh!

Andy

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at December 14, 2011 10:27 AM

Apparently, goats have been pirated already, according to this post from the maritime security blog, The Eagle. I don't think that we will need to worry about this kind of activity from our typical readers, though.

Comment by: Sally Craft at December 14, 2011 11:35 AM

Add to it the misery that the Underground History of Education shows that our children are being dumbed down and made visual so they don't want to read. Our grand daughter, a brilliant imp, complained of being bored as in school is boring (4th grade). Soon our audiences will not be able to understand sustained discourses; they must have entertainment, a poor substitute for mental and soul food. The answer: A Great Awakening which sensitizes people to the spiritual and the thirst for sound knowledge...the cause for books...and, o yes, they need jobs to earn money to buy books. But 20 years ago I wrote a paper showing how there woul be no jobs in the future..due to automation, robotics, and computerization. I just didn't figure that they had planned 90 years ago to move the jobs elsewheres in the last decade of the 20th century and said so...in a play.... written by a son of the Archbishop of Canterbury!

Comment by: Dr. James Willingham at December 14, 2011 11:55 AM

Wow! That means that Eisenbrauns has an advantage, after all, our logo is an Ibex (a mountain goat). I didn't realize that a logo from 2000 BC was so cutting edge!

James

Comment by: James at December 14, 2011 4:10 PM

James

Clearly Eisenbrauns is the future of publishing.

Andy

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at December 15, 2011 8:40 AM

Andy: Your colleague is apparently woefully behind in his knowledge of goat markets (which is good for us!). There is a large goat market in China and India, in particular. If we can leverage the competition between the two (what country doesn't want to be known as the goat capital of the world?), your plan could be pretty successful. Though it might, of course, require moving our offices to China. IVP-Shanghai, anyone?

Comment by: Lisa at December 15, 2011 8:41 AM

Lisa

Very astute global thinking! And goats don't need to be translated! What a cost savings!

Andy

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at December 15, 2011 8:45 AM

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Andy Unedited

Blog Favs

Subscribe to Feeds

Got a Book Idea?

Please follow our submissions guidelines. We cannot respond to book proposals or inquiries within the context of this blog.

Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.