“You mean there’s more than business models when it comes to publishing?” Well the last few decades of economics and business education, research and practice has been very much focussed on the “supply side”. That is, what businesses can do to improve business (performance management, downsizing, smarter busines models etc). In my view, this approach hasn’t worked terribly well, because it puts business in its own bubble, out of touch with the rest of the world, and, to be frank, out of touch with what business used to be about (that is, making money by making things work, whether those things are analog or digital). As management expert Henry Mintzberg writes, “Society has become unmanageable as a result of management” (see his book, Mintzberg on Management).
What’s the often forgotten side to this? The demand side. Put simply, user experience, reading, watching, engaging. CraigMod’s Books in the age of the iPad has one very good (and very complete) take on this. Meanwhile Dan Cohen—a digital historian—has a lovely post on this. It’s title The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing but I think it applies to much of publishing. Both are well worth a read.