Instead of publishing these essays in a traditional form (i.e., as a print product), I have decided to try something new and offer The End of Control online, for free, with a new chapter released every week. I may ultimately still offer a “real” printed version, but for now, this is my next book — just subscribe to the RSS feed and get my latest “chapter” as soon as I publish it. Or listen to the podcasts or watch the videos (coming soon).
Some smart people have already coined the term for this: “blook,” an amalgamation of blog and book. Wikipedia has formalized this term; the UK Guardian has a good read on it, too: “Blooks are the new books — a hybrid literary form at the cutting edge of both literature and technology.” That is exactly how I feel, so now I am a Blooker, I guess?
So why am I doing this? Although my first book, The Future of Music (co-written with Berklee College’s Dave Kusek), was quite successful and is still selling well (with translations into German, Italian, and Japanese), I have come to realize that the benefits of publishing a book in the traditional way are not as important to me as the benefits of publishing my work in a much faster, interactive, non-linear, and multimedia form. While I have to admit that I still love “real” books (and actually buy lots of them), I also love RSS feeds, email, Google Reader, iGoogle, and Netvibes. And I love my iPhone and my Motion Tablet PC. And still, there is nothing better than staying in bed and reading a nice book, so maybe one of these days you’ll be able to get a printed copy of The End of Control as well.
The kind of information I can get from an RSS feed (and believe me, my Google Reader is stuffed to the brim with 500-plus feeds) is totally different from what I get from reading “real” books, and I believe that both have their own merits. It’s just that with The End of Control I think am much better off to instantly reach the RSS/email/iGoogle audience right here, right now, through any means they want to employ. And this will soon include video as well.
I guess I prefer ubiquity over scarcity, and I certainly prefer the results of viral reach and having a crack at thought-leading versus shooting for the relatively modest financial benefits that may be achieved through a printed product. In other words, generating a few bucks by selling a printed copy of this book will very likely pale in comparison to the downstream monetary benefits of immediately publishing stuff that has real impact. But who knows — eventually this logic could flip!
So here is my pledge to you, my future readers (or shall I say, RSS subscribers):
- I will publish only the best, the finalized, the truly “ready” stuff. Unlike the usual off-the-cuff style of blog publishing that you can find exemplified on my very own MediaFuturist blog, these postings will not be quickies; they will have real meat and will be carefully edited. In other words, they will be book chapters.
- I will publish at least once a week (with very few exceptions), probably every Monday.
- I will respond quickly to your comments and contributions.
All my content will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, so feel free to use, re-use, edit, and morph! (Simply credit me, Gerd Leonhard, and include a link to www.endofcontrol.com.)
October 1, 2007
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.