Publishing faces unprecedented challenges these days, with the decline of bookstores and the rise of the Internet and ebooks. The ultimate difficulty may, in fact, be the digital dilemma.
Music, videos and news have been digitized, and which has sent those industries into chaos. And all sorts of other information have been digitized and liberated on the Internet for the greater good of the planet–at the ability of content providers to make a living, which ultimately has a negative effect on new content produced and so a negative effect on the planet. But I digress.
What is a publisher to do?
The problem seems to be that publishers produce a product that is all too easily digitized. Oil, however, can’t be digitized. Haircuts can’t be digitized. Coffee, taxi rides, cigarettes, cough syrup and clearing blocked toilets can’t be digitized either. The solution for a publisher, then, is obvious.
Goats can’t be digitized. Sure, you can have a digital picture of a goat, just as you can have digital picture of an unplugged toilet. But the picture does you little good if your actual toilet is stopped up.
Likewise, a picture of a goat is no substitute for an actual goat, which produces milk, climbs on sheds, eats all manner of weeds and eventually can supply you with a summerful of yummy BBQ.
I mentioned this to a colleague from another publisher (though I am not normally in the habit of divulging such lucrative trade secrets). He replied, “Yes, but what’s the market for goats?”