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Patronage the New Business Model?

A LinkedIn blogger asked: Is the book publishing business model so broken that we need patrons to subsidize our work? ( see http://is.gd/BNkV )

Patronage is one way to do it, but, as with advertising in books, if you follow the money, you may well find that the lucre influences the content, and compromises objectivity. Democracy depends on a strong free press. So while successful new business models will need to depart from the traditional reader-paid model, perhaps a winning strategy will involve codification of the idea interchange around content, resulting in a system involving floating value, where readers either pay or get paid, depending on metrics such as the value of their contribution to the content through comments or other additions, access to selected reader’s bibliometrics (their recorded thoughtpath through content clusters or libraries), their endorsement of any given author or content, or, conversely, their insistence on avoiding all of the above “reading out loud” features and remaining anonymous (and thus paying rather than getting paid for accessing content). IMHO, what we strive for here as we build the new publishing system is a meritocracy of mind, not more commercialization of ideas. For this to work, I think we seek a new pedagogical interface, need to look beyond the prevalent interpretation of content value deriving from the dissemination (and attendant protection) of *copies* of things, into a more organic type of difference engine where ideas morph and change, and occasionally and at will manifest themselves in tangible “books.” Our value chain pulls us outside of the world of tangible products now, folks! We are amphibians, flopping on the beach of a great and rich new continent of global idea interchange, which is facilitated by the Internet. And the global Internet, for the moment at least, remains Free and Open. Most of its architects and founders are still verticals, walking among us, dedicated to keeping it Free and Open, from a technological point of view. What are we publishers going to do about it?

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