O'Reilly's Tools of Change for Publishing

Conferences in New York in February always make me weary. Today I was reminded why.

I'm in NYC for the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference. Here we have a chance to meet like-minded publishers, albeit most here are in the book, not magazine business. Regardless the attendees here say words like "XML", "RSS" and "long tail" and we're just giddy to hear our little techie language spoken. Don't laugh at me -- people in publishing typically are just not terribly tech-savvy (it's one of the reasons we often refer to ourselves as a Linux company first and foremost and a publishing company second). O'Reilly is obviously a huge exception to that rule and why we knew this conference would be great for us.

My highlight of the conference thus far was sitting in on Seth Godin's talk. If you haven't read one of his books yet, go do so (he's a business and marketing genius, don't let the marketing word scare you off in this particular case). Godin spoke specifically to book publishers today, his bullet points below -- I'll ad lib what he said about each of them in parenthesis:
* Books are souvenirs. (Anything can be found on Google in 3 seconds. People buy books because they feel a connection to the idea or thought.)
* Permission is the only asset. (Permission to talk to your readers about your book, such as an e-mail list or even your blog.)
* Conversations are marketing. (He referenced the Cluetrain Manifesto co-written by our very own Doc Searls.)
* Words for readers, not readers for words. (You should be asking what your readers want next.)
* Blogs work. (Blogs are petri dishes for ideas that will spread.)
* It's not about selling books. (It's about the idea behind the book. If the idea spreads books will then naturally sell.)

If you want to hear more details about Seth's talk or anything from the conference, drop me a line.

Anyhow, I'll stop rambling. I'm not reporting on Linux today but thought a few of you may be interested in the softer side of Linux Journal. :) Back to the conference I go...


Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.