Comments -“War and Peace” on the subway: How your iPhone is saving literature. Salon

Interesting article on how e-book market is changing. Posted comments discussing some entrepreneurship and strategy insights here

check out Salon article at

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/14/war_and_peace_on_the_

subway_how_your_iphone_is_saving_literature/

Here is a copy of my posted comments…

Interesting article. From an entrepreneurial perspective, maybe we are seeing a new opportunity emerging here. Authors and publishers think “chapters”. Why? Because we always did it that way. Write a book, say 40,000 words. Maybe 2,000 words for front and back copy so we have about 38,000 words book content. Assume you plan to have 15 chapters, each chapter will have 2,533 words. Assuming about 250 words/page, each chapter will be about 10 pages and total page count will be about 160 pages- a reasonable book structure.

But the market may be sending us a message. Forget “chapters” which are ” product driven” and arbitrary based on the above calculation.

Maybe we should consider a “market driven” strategy to address the growing market for “snippet of information readers” who are using Smartphones. Suppose we define a new book structure whereby books are divided into ” bite size” information packets- maybe call each of these “brevis”, Latin for tiny. And we set the length of each brevis at what a reader can read in say 4 minutes, maybe 1,000 words, and that is standardized. We create a new class of books structured in brevis, not chapters, which meets market needs.

I am not sure I will see a “brevis” book soon, but I shared the above to make several points. First, recognize the difference between product or technology driven strategy vs. market driven. When markets send messages on issue and opportunities, smart players listen and respond quickly. E-books changed the book industry- Barnes and Noble responded; Borders became a business school case study.

Secondly, thinking “counterintuitively” is an important skill to develop. Thinking Intuitively, you would expect readers would use e-readers not smartphones- larger, easier to read screens, and other features provide advantages. So what we are seeing here is counterintuitive, not what we would expect. Identifying and analyzing the “How’s and Whys” here is a powerful skill worth honing. Finally, be prepared to fail. I am not sure the “brevis” book will be a success but going through the planning process, understanding the market nuances, understanding what are user needs today and how are they changing- these are the real benefits. At the time of the D-Day invasion, a turning point in World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower commented that ” The Planning Process is Everything; The Plan is Nothing”. I use this philosophy often and firmly agree- great things can be accomplished through detailed planning, exploring “what-ifs”, and postulating market driven business strategies that oftentimes can shake up markets or create new ones. There will be failures but many benefits will also be realized.

So I will continue to think about the Brevis book, get feedback and criticism ( probably lots of it) from colleagues and friends, which will reshape my thinking I am sure. That is how we make progress.

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

 

 

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