Author Archives: OBS

Trade Duty: Publishing What Ought to be Read

Many decision points contribute to a trade editor’s GO/NO GO final opinion. A bestseller will generate revenue to keep the doors open and the firm able to further its mission. A mid-list winner fills an ongoing content need and will keep selling and selling, slow and steady. In these POD days, when the words “out

The Phone, Mightier than the Sword

As things speed up to such an extent that there remains no time any more to muse, ponder, discuss, cogitate, and write things down, the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword appears to be morphing into “the phone is mightier than the sword.” Witness the recent rise of live streaming as

Foreign Rights: “Sub” Rights No More

Back in the Paleolithic Age of Paper, information moved slowly. Slow like the Glyptodon. Books took nine months to gestate from manuscript to print. For content to reach readers beyond the market of origin, the Sub Rights Director at Publisher #1 (the primary publisher) would sell foreign rights (one of multiple “sub” rights, including serial rights, TV

Selling “Book Futures” Using Blockchain

We are beginning to experiment with two book projects that leverage blockchain technology to track users’ ownership of ebooks. We were attracted to the blockchain because it appears to address issues fundamental to the publishing industry — such as, for example, what it means to “own” a digital object like an ebook — while also moving us

Blockchain in Publishing: The Simultaneity of Becoming

When a publication gets empowered by blockchain technology, one can truly say that a reader never steps into the same book twice. Blockchain enables internet-published content to emulate life itself — both the perceived (the content), and the perceivers (publishers and readers) — in a recorded environment that captures and publishes a constant state of content

Cyberspace Radio Talk from 1996

“The Connection” NPR Host Christopher Lydon, MIT Media Lab Music Professor Tod Machover, and Laura Fillmore, President of the Online BookStore (OBS) explore the future of arts on the net in this radio show — Karaoke books, interactive opera, hyper books and instruments. We began to travel down thought trails leading into the new frontier, a

Bezos Started Amazon Based on Math Error

Before Amazon, there was the Online BookStore (OBS), now Open Book Systems (OBS). We maintained a list of all the publishers who had online presences; it took up about half a computer screen in 1994. Before starting the Online BookStore, our company packaged books for publishers, one of which was John Quarterman’s The Matrix (Digital Press,

Freedom of the Press: The Front Line

OBS applauds Macmillan Publishers for actively defending our First Amendment rights in publishing Michael Woolf’s controversial book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” Rather than bowing to White House demands that Macmillan cease and desist from publishing the book, which offers insights into the current administration’s White House, Macmillan subsidiary Henry Holt and Co. pushed