Just-in-time publishing is often thought of as a way for big warehouses to satisfy the “long tail” of demand for small numbers of a great variety of items. But while that’s one of its applications, its potential goes far beyond that.
We start by examining the numbers behind just-in-time publishing, then take a fresh look at some business models implied by those numbers.
Using this quantitative data and some projection, we will look at reasons why Kinkos might be in a position to do as much publishing as Barnes & Noble, and do a better job of it. We’ll also examine some of the non-monetary results of such developments: how they can lead to richer and more participatory experience for readers and booksellers, and fundamentally change the way authors and readers relate to each other.
Karl Fogel is an open source software developer, author, and consultant. In 2005 he wrote “Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project” (O’Reilly Media, online at producingoss.com), based partly on his experiences in the Subversion project. He has worked at CollabNet, Google, Canonical, O’Reilly Media, and Code for America / Civic Commons, all as an open source specialist. He is now a partner at Open Tech Strategies, LLC, where he helps organizations launch and engage with open source projects. He is also an Open Internet Tools Project Fellow at the New America Foundation, a member of the board of directors of the Open Source Initative, and a member of the Apache Software Foundation. He is @kfogel on Identi.ca and Twitter, and his home page is red-bean.com/kfogel.
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