Warren Ellis sent out a blast on his Bad Signal email list today that was well worth paying attention to:
Createspace.com: Amazon’s Print On Demand operation. Very interesting. For no money at all, you can create a book (or CD or DVD or whatever), get an Amazon Buy It Now badge for your website, and let them take care of everything else. I understand Lulu and other POD operations are very good, but this is the killer app: you get Amazon’s distribution system. This is massive.
* Why is it massive? It’s fucking AMAZON. Self-publishing turns into a one-click deal. In fact, POD on this order transcends self-pub and vanity pub to a large extent. It re-enables the small press for the new generation.
After music there’s no medium that’s going to change more rapidly over the next few years than print. It’s yet another top down business that’s seeing its advantage being eaten away by the digital world. Game magazines have been closing left and right this year as their community has migrated to the web, taking the money with them. As computer literacy continues to spread and displays get cheaper there’s less and less reason to kill trees in order to read a book. And if/when we have cheap static displays that look and work like paper with an interface, well all bets are off.
Until that day, the ability to generate and distribute media still gets easier and easier. At the same time marketing gets more and more direct. It seems like the days of the powerhouse publishers and single point distribution networks are numbered. But they have lots of money, and they won’t go down without a fight. Maybe that will even be good for the consumer, but don’t bet on it.