Every classic story about disruption follows a similar pattern — well-oiled industry built around a "usual suspects" cast of characters building wealth on top of products created by others in a context of scarcity is disintermediated when someone develops the tools for producers to go direct.
That someone for the publishing industry is Amazon.
Ever since the company rolled out the first Kindle reader, it's been moving into the fertile terrain of book publishing by helping connect authors with their audience — part of its secret to online dominance is knowing what we read and comment on, literally sitting on our side of the table by giving us what we want.
Why this content move is sustainable
1.Amazon has deep pockets and an established platform with lots of data to draw from for good business intelligence about what people search, click on — and buy
2. Its writing-to-publishing cycle is much shorter will no doubt attract more creative applications of business models like The Domino Project
3. It's author-friendly compared to traditional publishers — compare a potential 70 percent vs. 10 percent of standard hardcover royalties
4. So much so that it gives authors access to the Nielsen BookScan sales data for printed books — an advantage when available while marketing the book (and not six months later)
5. It provides a platform for direct transactions and interactions between authors and readers — cutting out the middleman and passing on the savings to authors in higher advances and royalties
6. As Chris Anderson wrote in The Long Tail, Amazon is a platform that helps connect users with content — there is value in findability, along with immediacy and accessibility
7. This is not just a cost conversation. Portability and convenience are often the name of the game and people who buy books, customers, end up dictating where the market is going — the more Kindles and iPads in their hands, the more digital convergence
If you're looking for help getting published, publish your bestseller might be a good guide for you to consider.
If you're a business or brand, why should you care beyond the fact that a digital entrant may dirsupt your industry?
Why should your business care?
You can learn a lot about the content people value from the titles they select and how they're purchasing it. Running a successful Website today means you're hosting information that solves problems for people.
On the editorial side of the web strategy of the future, immediacy or publishing content that is hyper relevant means knowing what to solve for and serve up, which is where search engine optimization (SEO) and content need to work together.
On the community side, accessibility also means providing a platform for industry insiders (B2B) and evangelists/advocates (B2C), starting with the experts and enthusiasts in your employ, to develop the hot topics and spread them among peers for discussion and reference.
The marketing part of is continuously building for what people want to do — understanding signal, getting rid of the noise and friction, and making it super easy to say yes to buying.
Digital as a medium offers all kinds of opportunities to re-imagine your business brochure(s) and sales interactions, for example.
There's opportunity to re-invent how you conduct educational events by using follow up exclusive content. You keep the slide deck filled with emotional impact for the live event, craft the super useful guide to pull interest. Is it the first in a series like the Grande guides by Eloqua?
"The 21st Century author is an Internet entrepreneur," says Brian Clark who just unveiled Entreproducer, a project that could spark ideas for non-writers as well. — digital publishing companies, marketing JVs, new platforms, and more.
There are many advantages to businesses and brands that start building the ROI in the digital infrastructure itself.
First among them, the ability to justify an investment on content and inbound marketing, which in turn gives them an edge over competitors.
And one more thing — keep your promises at all times. The cost to not doing that is trying to buy back confidence in you. Look around, where we are today is the result of not delivering.
[hat tip Monday Note]