Ideas Unbound: Interview with David Bernstein Part II

Digital content (i.e. your patterns, your words, your pics) will find an audience who doesn’t want or need to pay. This is faboo if you are posting on say Instructables, but not so if you are trying to make a buck. So, we’re back with part deux of the David Bernstein interview where in we discuss the desire for digital content to be free, what gets the New Pamphleteer out the door, and the future of print in the digital age. The New Pamphleteer has embraced the ideas which big publishing houses have not and has big plans for navigating the murky waters between print and digital formats.

M: Many publishers, small and large, are worried about giving away any scrap of their merchandise, including allowing access to a book via Google Book Search or Amazon Search Inside the Book. But you send out an ebook version of your pamphlets to everyone who orders. While we may be so sated with the instant readability, who says we're not gonna turn around, print it out and circulate it our damn selves?

DB: Our mantra on this is unoriginal, but true: Digital content wants to be free. Ebooks are to, me, a not particularly attractive product as a reader. What advantage do they have, as currently constituted, over printed books? The bottom line is, if someone really wants the content, they want to own it in physical form. If they only want to read it, but aren't willing to pay ... well, they would just borrow the printed book from a friend or a library, or but a used copy fro a buck from Amazon. For us, ebooks are just an easier way to let people pass around our stuff to their friends, which I don’t see as a bad thing. The more people who see our pamphlets, the better it is for us. Marketing guru Seth Godin proved this a few years ago, when he gave away the ebook version of one of his books and saw sales of the physical copies skyrocket. Most publishers are terrified of this model, but we're pretty certain that it’s what the future will hold – at least until someone comes up with a more interesting (meaning interactive and fun) way of creating ebooks. Which I might add, is one of our goals as well.

M: Your background in big publishing houses suggests to us that you've had lots of lots of in-house resources—designers, copyeditors, publicists, worker bees, knuckle draggers, etc. Are the Pamphlet Guys handling these tasks with freelancers or what?

DB: We have a VERY talented pool of freelancers who do our design, copyediting, and publicity. But we also do quite a bit ourselves.

M: Aside from revolutionize publishing and the digital stream of consciousness on the web, have you got any big plans in the works? Because we think you are onto something. We think the fate of creative industries, and those that support them lie in the hands of the indies.

DB: As I alluded to earlier, we have big plans for the future relating to ebooks. Print and digital are going to continue to converge in ways that are difficult to predict, but we plan to be right at the center of it, creating a whole range of innovative products. Our logo says "The Future of Print in a Digital Age" which I think sums it up perfectly. Print is going to look different. Digital is going to look different, as our ways of accessing content continue to evolve as a result of new products and technologies. And I think the line between the two will just get blurrier.


No comments: