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Open Source of Book Publishing?

Posted on Friday, May 6th 2005

I want to point my readers to Peter Redford’s experiment in creating a Publishing Empire by using the web as a democratic medium akin to Open Source …

Browse Books, Inc. is a concept that Peter is experimenting with. A hypothetical press release could read … “Merged-media book publisher, BROWSE, announced today that it is unveiling a web portal designed to make book publishing efficient and entertaining. Book authors will be able to submit manuscripts into the portal and work with affiliated editors, content and service providers and even book distribution agents to fully produce the book and secure distribution deals…”

For the writers out there, this may be a project worth getting involved in, and contributing your visions to! Peter writes his business plan ideas openly, in a public Blog format, and you can add your ideas to it via comments.

All coventional instincts of Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs go out of the window in this experiment. It is counter-intuitive to be so open about the ideas, and so callous about protecting IP.

At the same time, one wonders, How and Why did Open Source come about?

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Om Malik’s Broadband Blog » Book Publishing Meets the Net … Browse. Saturday, May 7, 2005 at 11:35 AM PT

“Open Source of Book Publishing” — I like the title that Sramana gave to BROWSE’s experimental business model. The core of the company is a trading community web portal, similar to EBAY.

– The EBAY model is: Input(Sellers) — Processing(On-line Auction) — Output(Bidders).

– The BROWSE model is: Input(Authors) — Processing(On-line Book Production) — Output(Bookstores).

The portal IS the company. For books to practically produce themselves anywhere in the world, the portal will have to be robust and far-reaching. And huge. And, to be profitable, it will have to collect a small cut from each transaction.

Where IS the Open Source in this? It’s in the methodology of development and ownership of the portal and, by definition, in the methodology of development and ownership of the company. We know the Open Source rules for software development and can use them to develop the portal software. But what are the Open Source rules when the software IS the company?

Peter Redford Sunday, May 8, 2005 at 8:10 AM PT

Given the counterpart explosion of independent TV and film scriptwriters during the last ten years to meet the insatiable maw of the video world and knowing a career produce/director/writer who just concluded a nine-month hiatus during which he penned his first movie script ( he is now pitching it to the lead creative agencies and independent producers) I believe there is another “open” avenue to be travelled.

Matt Levine Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 12:04 PM PT

Matt, Yes indeed, it’s an “open” avenue that I am very interested in … Sramana

Sramana Mitra Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 2:26 PM PT

I think it is an awesome way to actually get your ideas out and get some constructive criticism with it as well. The internet as we have all seen has revolutionized the way we can communicate and spread our ideas. Before it was often difficult to express yourselves and actually have an audience. This avenue could allow people to do just that. However, there could be a security issue due to posting ones works online. What would prevent somebody from taking your ideas prior to any adoption of a copywrite? It is quite possible that somebody could take your story as their own based off of what they read through this provider. Just a thought.

diane duerr-levine Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 3:05 PM PT

Diane, I wouldn’t post a whole screenplay on the web before registering it with the Screen Writer’s Guild. The procedure of thus registering a piece of writing is common. I am sure there are equivalent mechanisms of copyright establishment in video, audio, photography. That said, your point is a pertinent one. Copyright issues are big. Peter’s experiment has some major IP protection risks. Sramana

Sramana Mitra Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 7:21 PM PT

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