Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Publishers Forgot Their Mission and Missed Their Opportunity

For the last two months I have been working on that management novella everyone has asked me to write. Legacy publishers would have fared better if they had understood one of the concepts I write about in the book. Doing the right things is far more important than doing things right.  The first is effectiveness and the latter is efficiency.  If you do the right things, you have the opportunity to work on the efficiency side.  Miss the right thing opportunity and efficiency won’t matter.

When ebooks came along, the right thing for publishers was to have jumped on the opportunity.  Instead, they overlooked the fact that their success depends on getting the works of authors in the hands of readers.  That is their purpose—and it serves the purpose of their authors.  Instead of leapfrogging from the leading edge position in legacy publishing to the leading edge of the new age in publishing, they tried to protect against transformative technology.  As a result, they lost to the independent movement, and their authors lost added readers.

Some publishers are now trying to catch up, but many may not be able to.

Excellent companies always keep the right thing on which their success depends uppermost in their mind.  For publishers, it is getting the works of authors to readers.  Once they started limiting access and availability, they lost the battle.

It is called creative destruction!  It destroys and it creates.  There are winners and losers.  It creates economic mobility.  It is a good thing.  It is called progress!

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