July 9, 2009
Next Time, Bigger And More Humble
Selected early reviews of New Liberal Arts:
Kevin Kelly, “Innovative Publishing Model”:
It really doesn’t matter what’s in the book. The model is brilliant, if you have an audience. The scarce limited edition of the physical subsidizes the distribution of the unlimited free intangible… As it happens, the PDF reveals that the content is pretty thin. But it did not have to be. Their premise is great (the new literacies), and their biz model innovative. We can hope they try again. I am impressed enough with the experiment to use this model on my next self-published book.
The readers at Book Cover Archive: “This may be the only use of Century Gothic I’ll ever appreciate,” “friggin sold out! love that quarter binding…”
Aside from the PDF’s inherent weaknesses as e-book format, this is a pretty cool idea. The tiny press run gives value to the hardcover, certainly pays for the free PDF giveaway, and gets the interest up for the next book to be thusly released… In any case, given that it took only eight hours for New Liberal Arts to sell out, the Snarkmarketers might want to think of printing more next time.
Mark Allen: “New Liberal Arts is a free PDF ebook about things Jason Kottke often refers to as “Liberal Arts 2.0” and is written by a lot of really smart people about some really interesting topics such as brevity, micropolitics, mapping, reality engineering and a bunch more. It also has an innovative publishing model. It’s only about 35 pages of content, and each page is a discrete, bite size idea that will likely send you off in a completely new direction for the rest of the day.”
And nobody (besides late-rising Californians) has even seen the physical book yet! (Which, just to be clear, is a perfect-bound paperback, not a hardcover.*)
*Except for the special calfskin-and-gilt-vellum illuminated edition I negotiated for myself.