OBS News

A Look Back on OBS

We saw the e-wave coming over thirty years ago and are working today to help publishers adapt to and profit from new internet-based publishing opportunities. Read the below excerpt from a “What’s New” OBS posted over ten years ago; you will see that OBS has a strong working knowledge not only of the traditional publishing industry, but also a hands-on understanding of the technology that is changing our industry so profoundly. We are committed to helping publishers thrive and grow stronger during the sea changes that continue to roil around us.

Excerpt from “What’s New” printed out and distributed at Book Expo America,

April 19, 2001

Thanks to the Internet, the act of publishing is evolving rapidly from a product-based business, operating in an economy of scarcity, to a business where authors and publishers offer readers personalized and customized access to real-time ideas and information. Ideas that are intangible, yet infinitely traceable as they cluster into memes, are copied, aggregated, learned from, repurposed, and reread. Ideas that are immediate and ephemeral, yet also persistent. The Internet endures, eradicating the boundaries between news flash and archives, between front list and out-of-print, yet tantalizing us every moment with “what’s new.”

What to make of it all? Publishers are what they do, not necessarily only what they manage to sell. Effective publishers give value and authenticity to authors’ ideas—independent from the media in which those ideas are conveyed. Our business models need to change to reflect a new exchange of values, among author, publisher, and reader, yet must continue to evolve in response to the internet working of all things digital. As we experiment with new business models to supplement outdated per-copy models, and begin to map the distributive architecture of the Internet to our own publishing processes, one thing becomes clear: the key word is “control.” For publishers today, that means control of online content.

-Laura Fillmore
President, OBS

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