bookshop with the word 'BOOKS' electrically written on the windowWhile authors collaborating on writing is not new and has been going on at least as far back as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the ways in which this can be done are changing. Author M J Rose recently collaborated with other well established authors using Google Docs. And she’s not the only one.

Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take much digging to find books that have been co-authored, but far from online.  It is not one thing replacing the other. It’s about adapting to change and flipping the way we see and do things.

Flipping the way we work – whether that is writing, selling, marketing, or, whatever – is all part of adapting to changing digital times.  It is about who we can access – both in terms of the audience and our collaborators.   Collaborating online is another tool to add to the kit, and it’s an important one.

The key though is that the work we do is just as important.  The words still need to stand up and he book still needs to be written.

Other bookish models that respond to the digital age are of course the booksellers themselves. It is not that we need to stop selling books the way we have
in the past, but to begin to think about new ways that the book-selling business can be done.

Local Adelaide bookshop, Imprints, is a fine example of just that. In-store, their bookshop is just what a bookshop should be – rammed full of lovely books. There is not even a hint of the online world.

However, customers who subscribe to their email newsletter will also find a
link to their online bookshop. On a rainy day when in need of a good read, but no energy for the trip to town, the local store is still there. Wherever ‘there’ is.

Online means having the best of both experiences. It’s all about choice.

We can also make use of a mix of face-to-face and online tools for our personal bookish needs:

  • Google docs to share writing works-in-progress online.
  • LibraryThing to keep a digital storehouse of books bought, read
  • and, of course, desired
  • E-readers stored full of free books from websites like Project Gutenberg or purchased ebooks from the many, many online stores
  • iPods and players with audiobooks that we can ‘read’ as we walk and commute
  • Every-day, ordinary email to stay in touch with fellow readers and writers.

Now and forever, we will use our own homes to house our books and the local cafe to meet our friends in person to talk about books.  Regardless of how many ways we can access a book, what matters is what’s inside.

There is much to say on the way forward from here – whether that’s about books or the digital business model itself. But perhaps that’s a tale for another day.


To help individuals and businesses ‘flip the way we work’, Vanguard Visions Consulting is
running four free half-day digital business capability building workshops on 11-12 October in Brisbane. To find out more information or to register for these event go to:
http://nbn-ready-half-day-workshops.eventbrite.com.au/

Flipping the page – or flipping the way we work
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