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Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur are writing a book on innovative business models that’s due out in May. That seems to them to be too far away, so they’re thinking that maybe for $24 you could get a subscription to their book that provides:

* first & exclusive access to raw book content

* influence authors

* x installments of book chunks (in a non-linear order – as we write them)

* 50% discount off the final book (approx.)

* participate in exclusive book chunk webinars

* access to templates

* being part of the business model innovation community

Alex calls this idea a prototype and welcomes comments, as well as suggestions for what other benefits the authors might offer. (He does not require that you pay a subscription to read his blog and comment on this idea itself, however. Recursion is not always a good idea.)

I’m glad they’re floating this idea — because floating ideas rises all tides? — although I am skeptical. This doesn’t sound like a book that’s so urgent that people will pay a 50% premium ($24 + half off the printed version) for some number of out-of-sequence rough drafts. Of course, I could be wrong about that, especially since about a dozen people in the comments to Alex’s post have already said they’d sign up. But, since the authors benefit from comments from early readers, this business model also has a cost to the authors. It limits the community, but maybe it will also gel the community. We won’t know until we know.

These social projects are all in the details. In 2000-1, I wrote Small Pieces Loosely Joinedcompletely in public, posting my current draft every night. I got some excellent commentary and during the dark days of writing that book I received encouragement that was quite important to me. But I inadvertently structured the engagement in way that discouraged readers. The writing process was Penelope-like, so I think I would have done better to have updated the site only when I had finished a complete draft of a chapter. Readers get understandably discouraged by commenting on a draft that is undrafted the next day.

I wrote the next book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, offline for reasons I can’t articulate, except to say that I felt that the book posed a challenge to me as a craftsperson. So, I blogged about the ideas in the book and floated pieces from it in various forms, but I composed the actual text with the door closed. I’m not recommending that. I’m thrilled by the fact that writers now routinely break out of the old “private ’til it’s published” constraint. But there are many ways to do that, as well as times when you shouldn’t do it. There may even be times when you should charge $24 for the service.

All ideas are good until proven otherwise. [Tags: ]

One Response to “Book on innovative business models tries innovative business model”

  1. on 26 Nov 2008 at 10:00 amTom Wilkins

    How did the housing marketing become such an intergal part of the US economy. What this Greenspan thinking?