New Year, New Job, New Blog

by Ami Greko

Two announcements to kick off 2010.

First, check out the new blog. I’m launching The New Sleekness with other smart, bookish types to fill a hole in publishing punditry: voices from the boots-on-the-ground folks actually working directly in that sweet spot of publishing and technology. I hope you’ll add us to your RSS Reader.

And second, YES! I have a shiny new job. I’ll be starting as director of business development at AdaptiveBlue on January 18th, working with a product you may already be using: Glue.

Glue provides an entirely new of way of connecting authors and books directly to readers (aka, one of the smartest things we publishing geeks can be doing). You know all that discussion about the need for curation and how authors and publishers must build direct-to-consumer relationships? Glue has enormous implications for both.

Before taking this new gig, I thought a lot about what it meant to leave big-house publishing (or ‘legacy publishing,’ as we’ve taken to calling it around here). Since it’s the only field I’ve ever worked in, it was a particularly hard decision to make. True, the challenges facing the industry now are serious, but it’s clear to me that publishing is chock-full of smart people who are all doing their best to keep things afloat. I love this business, and I have no doubt that it will find its way.

But I’ve realized that at least for the next few years, changes that affect the issues most important to me and to readers—DRM, rights, pricing—are going to be coming from the top down, not the bottom up. As much as I’d like to be able to say I’ve been in a position to impact decisions in these areas, a lot of them, by necessity, are made way outside of my pay grade and without any input from this peanut gallery.

As someone looking to fool around with the way that publishing works, this has been hard for me. One of the things I admire about tech companies is their willingness to try experiments quickly, evaluate the data, and then decide what’s worth pursuing and what should be ditched. Legacy publishers are learning to do this, but for the time being, it can be slow going. AdaptiveBlue offers me an opportunity to find a new way to connect readers and books. And man, does that make me excited.

So, I hope all of you will keep visiting this space to talk about ideas and experiments that are making you excited about the next few years in publishing, or feel free to contact me about them directly. I’ll certainly be putting mine up here. And maybe together we can try some of them out.