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Forbes Interview: Don Tapscott: Newspapers Are Communities

It has been Don Tapscott, known for his book Wikinomics, to say that opening the traditional newspaper model to specialized bloggers could be an important chance for innovating the newspaper industry.

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Ontario Business Report: Macrowikinomics Made Easy

The Ontario Business Report interviews Don Tapscott on reinventing the automotive, green tech, finance, and media industries.

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Macrowikinomics and rebooting the economy

This article is the first in a series of 12 over the next 3 weeks written by Anthony D. Williams and me based on our newly released book Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. The book is receiving a lot of buzz.  The Economist calls it “a Schumpeterian story of creative Descruction.” The book argues that many of the institutions of the industrial age have finally come to the end of their lifecycle, and now being reinvented around a new set of principles and a networked model. The election is over, but the economic stagnation gripping the country is not. Many economists are warning us to buckle down for a period of prolonged sluggishness, reminiscent of Japan’s lost decade or the Swedish crisis of 1992. Arguably, we’ve been in this slump for a decade. We just didn’t know it. Booming house prices and the massive expansion of cheap credit made a lot of us feel rich as kings. Now that the jig is up it’s clear that the housing bubble was masking a dark economic picture....

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Netflix: premium cable’s worst nightmare

This week’s Bloomberg Businessweek discusses Netflix’s relentless expansion as the DVD-by-mail service makes even better use of the Internet.  Instead of relying on the US Postal Service to deliver its product, Netflix is increasingly streaming content online.  The company is perfectly poised to profit as the Internet continues to suck the television networks and premium cable into its maw....

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Will publishers rise to the challenge?

As an author of many books, I’m thankful for the hard work of my publishers, but I also I’m fascinated by changes in the publishing industry. An author self-publishing his or her book — also known as the “vanity press” —  has traditionally been viewed with a bit of disdain.  It usually meant that the author was unable to find a publisher willing to risk the time and money required to bring a book to market, either because the topic wasn’t interesting and/or the writing quality was poor.  Publishers want to be confident a book will sell well enough to cover the expense of printing and warehousing the book and promoting the author. But the stigma of self-publishing may soon disappear. The book industry is ripe for reform.  It’s incredibly inefficient, with approximately 30 percent of books returned to the publisher because they didn’t sell.  Publishers cite this wastage as one reason they demand high fees, particularly from first-time authors. But the arrival of devices such as Amazon’s Kindle in 2007 and now Apple’s wildly popular iPad, the cost of  printing, storage, shipping and wastage obviously disappears.  And with the Internet and social media, an author can acquire or maintain a high profile at relatively little cost.  So are publishers irrelevant?  Amazon thinks so. It announced earlier this year that it would pay authors 70 percent of an e-book’s selling price if the author bypassed publishers and dealt directly with Amazon.  Since authors typically receive only 15-20 percent royalty, Amazon’s offer will doubtless prove tempting. At the annual convention for the book industry that was just held in New York, one publisher suggested that within five years ebooks will account for half the market. Prior to the Kindle, Amazon promoted the notion of self-publishing through its CreateSpace, a service that prints books one at a time in response to an individual order.  Authors upload their text and cover artwork, and Amazon does the rest.  CreateSpace also produces CDs and DVDs on demand.  The service offers access to more than two million titles, although not all books from the service are self-published. Publishers are also using the service to make available old titles that have gone out of print. Barnes and Noble unveiled its own version of CreateSpace two weeks ago, called Publt. Back in my 1995 book the Digital Economy I talked about “disintermediation” arguing that the web threatened business activities in between producers and consumers.  I also introduced a term “re-intermediation” saying that the opportunities to create value in the new middle exceed the displacement of the old middle.  But I also noted that the leaders of the...

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