Management consulting

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

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,

What’s Old is New: Excerpts from Meme Machinery 101

Meme Machinery 101: The Evolution of a University Press Marketplace” by Laura Fillmore President, Open Book Systems (OBS) Presented to AAUP Annual Meeting at Snowbird May 24, 1996 Excerpted from http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/papers/mememach.htm Copyright © 1996 by Laura Fillmore; written permission required to reprint. Coming back to the Wasatch mountains at Snowbird is a welcome pilgrimage for

Agile Hands in the Machine

As we trek along in the Human Machine Interface (HMI) – driving, texting, reading, recording – we inform our electronic environment, enabling it to grow smarter as it records our thought paths and virtual lives. We allow this thinking machine to sort, separate, sequence, map, aggregate, and otherwise contextualize our digital footprints with billions of others’

Standing up for Net Neutrality

Since we saw the first posts on USENET in Spring 1989, describing the protests in Tiananmen Square, and the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, OBS has built a publishing services business based on a free and open internet. Censorship (in the form of suppression and distortion of free speech) is raising its ugly head once

LOL RE: Kids, Cursive, and the Future of Communication

Public elementary schools appear to be eliminating the teaching of cursive writing. Early introduction to block letters today apparently only readies youngsters to recognize letters on a keyboard and begin typing ASAP, thumbing in texts and tweets on screens, rather than serving as a precursor to learning cursive writing as a primary means of documentation