The invention of movable type around 1439 and the development of the world wide web around 1990 combine to provide an unbelievably powerful publishing platform, even for the smallest business, such as my own Frontera House.
Via print publishing — the most modern iteration of Gutenberg’s concept, print on demand — I can put a book into your hands with virtually no up-front cost. I can upload it one day and the next you can order it and hope to have it in your hands in two days (thanks to other evolving technologies related to transportation.)
But what happens when you read my book and discover an error or that an important fact has been left out? In “the old days,” or just a few years back, we’d have to wait for a second edition to make changes. And that wouldn’t help you or anyone else who acquired the present edition.
Now, however, it’s very easy to set up a website, or a portion of one, that can keep track of these changes and make them known to anyone who signs up for an RSS feed or a newsletter or even a Facebook feed from my website.
Almost as soon as I know there is a problem, I can post it in a way that anyone who has purchased the book can find out that it still needs editing. In some ways, I don’t even have to do anything. The reader who discovers the problem can post a comment himself and most of those who follow the blog or some other part of my feed will know right away.
Then, after a few months, perhaps, I can take all of those discoveries (I hope there will be few errors, but many additions), or at least ones that follow the purpose of the book, and create a second edition which will be more valuable.
With this type of intercommunications, errors can’t be easily covered up and can be fully discussed with others who have an interest in the topic.
Each book will have its own page under this heading and also can be discussed under various blog posts that relate.
It’s really a win-win for the publishing industry and its customers. And it’s within reach of just about everyone.