Posts tagged: fixed format

Dandelion Distribution and Other Observations from O’Reilly Tools of Change

Jim Hamilton
 Mar 11, 2013

The idea behind dandelion distribution is simple. Imagine thousands of dandelion seeds being spread by the wind. Of these, only a few may ever grow into dandelions, but that’s enough. As it relates to e-books, dandelion distribution happens when reproduction and distribution are so cheap as to be virtually free. This idea is encapsulated in the book Spreadable Media by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green, and it was also discussed at length during one of the keynote sessions at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference (February 12-14 in New York City).

Panelist Cory Doctorow (more on him at Craphound.com) suggested that book publishers consider replacing their traditional “mammalian intuition” (i.e., the idea that each book is precious and must be protected by any means) with “dandelion intuition” (where it is acknowledged that any individual book has a small chance of success and therefore the strategy should be designed around spreading as many ‘seeds’ as possible). This concept goes against traditional publishing logic, but so did a lot of other ideas at the conference.

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