Rules of the Internet and their Applicability to the Publishing Industry

Anil Dash has posted, with equal parts humor and insight, the 10 Rules of the Internet. I suspect many readers will be most amused by rule #1:

1. Given enough time, any object which can generate musical notes will be used to play the Super Mario Brothers theme on YouTube.

But I linked to it for rule #8:

8. When a company or industry is facing changes to its business due to technology, it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work, rather than trying to understand the social underpinnings.

When I first read “industry is facing changes to its business due to technology,” I immediately thought of the publishing industry (and then higher education). The next part of the rule – “it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work” – reminded me of 1) James Patterson’s ‘Who Will Save Books’ editorial and 2) the sometimes emotional responses of editors and publishers when asked some variation of the question “What do you still have to offer for your huge cut/why should anyone go with traditional publishing?”

Taking a bit longer to consider both, I’m not sure either is directly applicable. I’m not sure Patterson’s concern is valid, and I’m suspect that some of the emotion in the above referenced responses stem from concerns about being able to make a living and to have a feeling of worth about what one does. But I do continue to wonder whether rule #8 can be either descriptive of some what is going on in publishing or perhaps even helpful in thinking about the future of publishing.

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