Thursday, 27 February 2020 13:16
Conventional publishing processes are more or less linear. The text and images, i.e. the content of a book, are edited, designed, printed and sold by a publisher. Afterwards, the only feedback the publisher is likely to get comes from book reviews and from sales reports. The sequence can be represented diagrammatically,
as in Figure 1.
The arrow lines also represent the exchange of knowledge and its value in the process. A publisher’s expertise adds ‘knowledge value’ to the original text and illustrations; the sales process adds value and knowledge when the book becomes a product and is put for sale. And the publisher gains knowledge from the sales figures, which may be passed on to the content creator. Individual feedback, for instance from a reviewer, adds knowledge value too. Individual feedback will be qualitative knowledge whereas the sales reports are quantitative.
Figure 1: Individual Knowledge Loop
Social media can improve the quality of the knowledge transferred in this process in two ways. They allow people who share interests in a book to communicate with each other and so form a community of shared interests, which can give broader knowledge and richer insights than individual reviews can do. Community feedback, like reviews, is qualitative and because it’s from a group of people it’s also quantitative. Feedback from the community, which can also be called the consumer-group or the niche community, complements and enriches the quantitative feedback from sales reports. So a community knowledge loop provides a better quality of knowledge than the sales figures alone can do. Social media also make it easier for a publisher to respond to feedback, and that is likely to improve its quality even more. Figure 2 shows this diagrammatically.
Figure 2: Community Knowledge Loop