Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Innovation

Should an E-Book Merely Copy a Print Book in Style and Function?


It seems certain folks in this day-and-age love innovation for the sake of innovation.

That kind of motivation usually indicates that deep and effective change is beyond the efforts of those who are “innovating”…

It could also mean that the “innovators” are bored silly…

Take e-books.

I do a lot of scanning of news and other sites looking for material I can report on here; and, one of the trendy fads for the last few years is to encourage changes in how e-books function and how they’re constructed (there have also been actual “new and improved” versions of ebooks produced).

Most of the articles didn’t make the cut for what I consider “worthwhile”; yet, the senior editor at Digital Book World, Daniel Berkowitz, gave me a reason to introduce the idea of e-book “innovation” in his article, Do We Really Need to Innovate the Reading Experience?

As usual, I’ll excerpt enough of the article to give a hint of what you’ll experience if you take the link :-)

Daniel introduces the topic:

“I hear a lot of talk about how ebooks didn’t innovate enough, or how ebooks are unsatisfactory—that they’re stuck in this ‘print-under-glass’ model that offers nothing new to the reading experience.”

Daniel challenges that:

“…for those of us who grew up on print books and for whom ebooks and audiobooks are viable alternatives, what is it in our reading experiences that we are so sorely lacking?”

He elaborates:

“…what is so wrong with the print-under-glass model of ebooks? What else were we expecting? To my eyes, an ebook on my Kindle looks a lot like a print book in my hands. And that’s exactly how I want it to be.”

Are you pretty much like Daniel?

Are you, rather, a person who wants all the innovation possible?

I encourage you to not only take the link to Daniel’s article and read the complete version; I encourage you to read the fascinating comments folks have left after that article………
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Writers Finding the Best Advice, Wherever It Might Be…


I’ve done 6 posts that involved Nilofer Merchant in some capacity. Nilofer Merchant

For those new to blogging—since I’m going to tag this post with her name, you’ll also find this article at that last link :-)

Nilofer has been called the Jane Bond of Innovation and it’s usually folks in business that follow her advice.

So, since I’m an advocate for Self-Publishing and since that route demands a number of activities that have the fragrance of business about them (especially, book promotion), it could benefit writers if they sought out what Nilofer thinks…

So, if you’ve never heard of this woman and you’re a writer (or, if you’re not a writer and you engage in any kind of business), I’ll share a bit from an article on the Strategy + Business Site called, Nilofer Merchant’s Required Reading:

Nilofer Merchant knows something about value creation. By her reckoning, she has had a hand in launching more than 100 products that have netted a combined US$18 billion in sales — first in stints at Apple and Autodesk, and later as an advisor to technology companies such as Logitech, Symantec, and HP.”

Substitute “writerly” for “corporate” in this quote:

“…Merchant sees the humanist values of diversity, inclusivity, and collaboration as the keys to creating corporate value. ‘It’s not that everyone will but that anyone can contribute’, she says.”

I should add that the inclusivity and collaboration will probably occur some time after the first draft :-)

This next excerpt is meant to be pondered (and, hopefully, remarked on in the Comments…):

“She argues for a more inclusive approach to strategy-making that enlists the people responsible for executing it….Merchant contends that social technologies and tools have given rise to a new era in which the basis for value creation is collaboration and co-creation by communities of people who are united by an aspirational purpose.”

Then, for those intensely interested in exploring “value creation” as a tool to include in their kit, there are three books and one article that Nilofer recommends.

And, here’s a video of her—meant to be “interpreted” from “corporate” to “writerly” advice (she starts by talking about her time working for Steve Jobs…):


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Revisiting The #SocialEra


Doing Social Media or being present on a Social Network can be part of the #SocialEra.

Or, not

#SocialEra is the digital way to refer to some core ideas from Nilofer Merchant—“the Jane Bond of Innovation”.

I first wrote about Nilofer in my post, #SocialEra ~ The New Model for Book Promotion.

Two other posts about her ideas are:

The #SocialEra Is Much More Than Just “Social Media” . . .

How Do Writers Find Their “Voice”?

And, in an interview with Nilofer on Forbes, about her book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, the interviewer introduces herself with:

“I’ll admit it: I hate business books…There’s only so much ‘seamless leveraging of synergistic core competencies while maintaining brand integrity and mindshare in the value system of the new economy’ that I can take before the urge to set the book on fire becomes too great, and I risk violating deeply-held principles I have about book-burning.”

Then, before the interview-proper, she goes on to rave about Nilfoer’s book

Yes, Nilofer Merchant’s book can be called a “business book” and she is an Innovator who’s almost always talking about businesses.

So, some of you who are writers might wonder at my giving her so much space here (including videos in those past posts).

Well, I’m a writer and I can’t count the times I’ve learned something about how to write by paying attention to singers, painters, salespeople, religious figures, drunks in bars, and certain business people

Getting back to #SocialEra as it relates to Social Media (and “most” writers find “some” need to engage with Social Media), Nilofer has an article on her site called, IN A FRAGMENTED WORLD, GO DEEP, where she begins talking about using Twitter, then says:

“For an introvert like me, actually, it’s draining. It is the opposite of grounded connection. Online, I am never alone with my thoughts for a decent stretch of time. Even when I have an empty calendar, I can have activity going on because I allow Twitter to be in the background. At first, it was like music — nicely humming away but not distracting — but now I’m realizing it’s like a dinner party with each person getting louder and louder as the wine flows.”

A bit later in the article, she says:

“…you could do the opposite. You could go deep. You could be that voice that everyone listens to because when it speaks, it is so deep and rich that it’s worth slowing down to listen to. Sort of a Morgan Freeman voice, in the times of Justin Bieber bop. Maybe it will allow the light of an idea to be seen more clearly.”

Think that relates to writers and writing?

Sure, going deep with writing probably won’t help a writer become an overnight 50-Shades-of-Excitement success; but, it might help a writer’s work remain valuable far beyond their lifetime

And, in an article where she talks about the sacrifices necessary to accomplish something you’ve never done before, HOW TO TACKLE THE NEW THING, she says:

“…the gap between strategy and execution is a persistent one. It happens in organizations, it happens in our lives. In my 1st book (do you know about it? Published in 2010, it’s called The New How), I describe this gap as an ‘Air Sandwich’ – the persistent void between the big idea and the execution. I called it the Air Sandwich because all the stuff that matters — the thing that makes it complete — is missing. To fill it is about making the necessary tradeoffs, making tough decisions, and aligning resources. This is what I’m doing — though more slowly than I wish.”

Finally, I’ll share another video of Nilofer:

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