In this wide-ranging interview with Esther Dyson, (Thanks Jason)she compares Yahoo!'s development approach to intelligent design, and contrasts it to Google's wild evolution. She dismisses the idea of the French government creating its own Google. But what caught my attention was her dire forecast for the book publishing industry:

"I expect that business models will change further and it seems likely that the traditional music and book publishing industry, for example, will have to change radically, or die. They have huge investments in marketing and distribution, but that value is eroding rapidly, leaving them with costs that are increasingly hard to cover. The new digital and networked online environment simply does not support big intermediaries; the revenues, moreover, can flow more directly to the artists rather than to the intermediaries."
As I write, I'm on the second day of a year-long book leave, financed by a publisher. My question is how I would swing this without the help of a "big intermediary." Who could afford to take a year to research something? Will book publishing, like politics, become an activity for the wealthy? Or is there some way to raise the money from the community, or from advertisers, throughout the entire process, and not depend as much on sales of the final product?

By the way, for anyone familiar with Ecko, I have a question. See the way I can't get the left margin back to its starting point after Esther's quote? Any idea how to do that?
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