Publishing is changing. The time requirement and expense have always been significant…so a fairly rigid process was established to ensure that authors capable of selling enough books to cover the publisher’s investment were selected. But publishing is more than a numbers game. We assign a particular status to books as repositories or sources of knowledge (perhaps because they have undergone some type of process – more rigid than an article in a newspaper or a spot on the evening news). The perspectives of authors are validated through a peer or blind review process…again, with the intent of creating a book of quality. Wikis and blogs have received much attention as “end user” tools that enable anyone to publish and express their ideas. Ideas are deemed to be of certain quality based on how many individuals link to the source, or how they survive the peer-edit process of a wiki.
Collaborative Book on Management Best Practices is an attempt to use the power of “the many” in line with the value of a formal process.
I think this is a great idea…but one that will likely generate a different outcome than expected. When we first started talking about “communities”, organizations were in a mad rush to set up communities. End result – most communities didn’t last long. Collaborative work is of the same nature. People are more inclined to use and comment on existing content, rather than collaboratively create new content…and it requires a certain mindset among the contributors. For example, you can’t take a group of experts who define value by how they are perceived individually, and expect them to eagerly contrbute to a collective knowledge base. Wikis over-write individuality.
I’m somewhat curious as to how the publishers will share the revenue…
See also We are smarter than me