Book Publishing Meets the Net … Browse.

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Sramana Mitra writes about Peter Redford’s new experiement in book publishing called Browse. Authors submit their manuscripts to this portal, and work with affiliated editors, content and service providers like distribution agents to produce the book. I imagine this is the next evolution of the print-on-demand type services. She calls it open source of book publishing, I don’t see where is open source? Peter’s company, TVi has been locked in a legal battle with Microsoft over the Autoplay features in Windows 95 and all subsequent versions – you know that little hack that which automatically runs applications on inserting a CD. Microsoft said no way but a judge earlier this week threw out their arguments.

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Peter Redford

Open Source of Book Publishing” — I like the title that Sramana Mitra 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 all transactions.

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?

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