I’ve been reading a great book. It’s called ‘Business Model Generation’, which doesn’t sound like a light bedtime read, but it’s not like most other books. For a start, it’s not written by one person: it’s been generated out of a professional community, which includes everyone from entrepreneurs to graphic designers and finance directors. It’s a kind of global ‘user generated book’, and it’s also not dense text. Someone had the foresight to let the artists, typographers and designers take the lead, so it’s graphically driven and anchored and builds concepts in a very visual way.
But it moves beyond the printed book as well. There’s a website, with an active user forum. The website gives access to some free, high value intellectual property, materials which you can use from day one in a highly practical level. There are also videos, where practitioners explain key concepts, not many, but a good start.
Then there’s an App for the iPad. This is an interactive version of the tools that are discussed in the book. Simple, highly functional, not cheap at £21, but great value at only £21. And, of course, an e-book of the text.
So the learner experience moves well beyond the printed page. I feel that there are a host of related assets available that cross the media. It’s not the experience of reading a book, but neither is it just the experience of a website. There is a depth of research and high value material here, but highly accessible, with attention paid to the user experience.
This is just one of a number of enhanced experiences (books plus assets, or assets plus book?). Whilst it may be unusual at the moment, it will become commonplace. As authors increasingly follow the trend of interacting further with their readers, the process of writing will become more synchronous, more dynamic, more responsive. There is a cost to this, the increased number of channels and time spent on interaction takes time and effort.
Just as we’ve seen the breakdown within music from sales being primarily full albums to just individual songs, so, maybe, we will see the change with books, where we find innovative pricing and distribution models emerging. Indeed, Stephen King has already written a book where people bought it by chapter, with the next one only being written when enough people subscribed.
With ‘one touch publishing’ breaking down the barriers to communication and the barriers to entry for new authors, the field is wide open for new business models. With enhanced experiences only being limited by your imagination (and your time and budget), we are going to see far more of these creative learning and reading experiences.
The website and App (http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/)