The Ereading Blog

First 2016 Blog Post – Our Apologies! – Jonathan Taplin on Platform vs. Content

LOGO-Digital Book WorldThe past few months have been, to put it mildly, a living nightmare for us.  I've been ill frequently and Erin has been working harder than me, by necessity, to help keep us afloat.  We've had no time to spend blogging–although, in retrospect, I think that was a mistake.  So I'm remedying it now, with my apologies.  The topics of e-reading, digital books, and publishing are important to us; probably the most important things in our lives, outside of survival (and writing, of course).  Simply put, even as we continue to develop on a shoestring, we recognize we also need to maintain the blog. 

So, that said…

Today I came across this article by Kristine Hoang about Jonathan Taplin's recent talk at Digital Book World 2016.  During his talk, Taplin expressed the opinion that “Platform–Not Content–is King," which Hoang mentioned in the title of her piece. 

Now, I thought Taplin made some valid points.  But I also think he's somewhat wrong-headed in deciding that the platform rules.  Yes, the platform is necessary to reach consumers.  This is especially true in the case of ebooks.   However, if there is no–or poor–content, then the platform becomes increasingly meaningless as a device for reading new content.  Consumers will buy less of it, either because they can’t find it or because it’s just plain bad—which means poorly written, poorly edited, or poorly designed, as happens all too often.

Burning readers for $0.99 once is one thing; but when they’ve been burned dozens of times, it turns them off self-publishing…and to  buying books by unknown, self-published writers, many of whom may very well deserve an audience for their work.

So, for content to continue to be king in a world of exploding cell phone, tablet, and notebook sales, intelligent and respectful self-curation by authors will need to take place.  Or pretty soon ebooks really will be nothing more than a proverbial footnote in the world of mobile content.