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What’s A Printed Book Worth?

9780061709715.jpgAt the O’Reilly Media Tools of Change conference journalist and author Jeff Jarvis caused a stir with this remark: “Content without links is content without value.”

That statement cut to the heart of the traditional publishing business, and opinions were mixed. O’Reilly CEO Tim O’Reilly called it “a key point about how publishing needs to change.” Another observer replied: “By that standard, [Jarvis'] very nice What Would Google Do? book is valueless. Hmm. I paid 29.95.”

What is a printed book worth in this bewildering new media economy? One GalleyCat editor caught up with Jarvis to find out. Read the whole interview, but here’s a choice excerpt:

“As long as the traditional model works, I’ll choose it. In publishing, they add value. A middleman isn’t a middleman if they truly add value. My agent clearly added value in the current marketplace. She gave me great advice on developing the book and formulating the idea. We got to the publishing house, and I learned a lot about the middleman’s value there — my editor improved the book immensely … In some ways, I say hyperbolically that middlemen are dead, but there are some ways that they are alive more than ever. We have so much content, we can’t find the content we want.”

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