Publication of New Book Chapters Goes on Hold for a While
Dear End of Control Readers,
Over the past eight weeks I have received a ton of supportive emails and very helpful comments about my decision to publish my new book online (i.e., dispensed in weekly chapters, and via RSS and PDFs, for free).
I have also had many face-to-face exchanges and conversations about the pros and cons of doing it this way. I have now come to the conclusion that publishing The End of Control in this way is not the best way forward. This change is not financially motivated (and yes, I will continue to give away PDFs for free). Rather, it's about finding the best possible way to get The End of Control out to anyone who is interested in this subject, and finding the best-fitting medium for it.
The bottom line is that I think this book needs to be read as a "real," printed book, and here is why:
- Many people seem to get confused about when they will be able to read specific parts of the book. In other words, if you are waiting for me to address a certain subject in more depth, you won't know when (or even if) I will cover it until I make it available online. Unlike a printed book, you cannot poke around a bit and then decide to skip a few pages or start reading the last chapter first. For many of my readers this seems to have been quite a frustrating experience and a reason to drop off the feed. Serving up the chapters one at a time won't work, and this strikes me as a huge difference between blogging and book-writing, too. You could say that the reader should have more "control" over his or her reading experience ;-)
- My efforts in writing the book have been greatly stretched by the huge amount of input from my readers. This has been very helpful, and I want to thank all of you for your feedback. However, as a result, I find myself changing far too many things that I once considered already "done," which has led to a constant rewriting process that I cannot possibly sustain. At some point I will need to wrap up this book "as is" and stop making amendments to it, and that will be impossible to do if I continue to publish it this way. At the same time, I have already changed so much of my original version that now I will need a bit of time to publish the final and complete version, too.
- I have also come to realize that with web-centric reading interfaces (e.g., email, feeds, web pages, or even PDFs) it is very hard to get most readers to spend serious time and attention reading the whole thing — and that goes for me, too. After all, tons of other interesting stuff is just a click away! At the same time, I don't really want to change my style of writing to better suit "easy reading," so this also means I need to revert back to the printed book format.
So, I want to thank you for your interest in my book and ask for your patience while I finish it (well...again). I hope to have the complete book out within a few months, and I would be delighted if you would return to reading the whole thing at that time — hopefully the first six chapters have kindled your interest to stay involved. To make sure you don't miss the new developments, please sign up for my mailing list.
—Gerd Leonhard, November 19, 2007
P.S.: In the meantime, check out my Future Talks Videos with fellow futurist Glen Hiemstra. (Click on the GUIDE button to view all episodes, and select any of them; downloads are available via the link above.)