Four years ago, a group of us gathered to impact the world together. It hasn't been an easy journey. Not everyone that started with us is still here; not every reader that was supportive remembers that beginning. But that's the adventure, and I'm not sure that the path to a worthwhile happy ending is ever an easy one.
Which brings me to today. It's not an ending, but a tremendous beginning.
Today is not in itself particularly spectacular - a rather overcast Saturday morning, another weekend after a flight home from New York. But the story of the days before and after today are going to get very interesting very quickly. Since 2008, we've been working to build a coalition, to gain content for our system by branching between publishers and connecting them together. It turns out that the world may give us just such a thing. The goal was to recognize the difficulty that mid and back-list authors face in being discovered by today's recommendation systems, and to use the content of a book to help that discovery. If you look around the internet, you occasionally run into bloggers that seem already convinced that the mid-list author is dead; I believe that the emergence of the most powerful technologies to empower the new and mid-list author is just beginning. To use the book's genome, or mechanical engine, or its ingredient make-up - or however you want to refer to it - it is tremendously powerful to be able to connect the right book to the right reader independent of the author's PR or media appeal. It's all about judging a book under its cover.
Sometime in the next few months, BookLamp will be undergoing substantial changes. We'll move from a "technology demonstration" to a site that's usable as an actual service. The number of books in our system will grow dramatically. We'll introduce new functions, and new ways to see inside of a book. We'll begin to roll out in earnest the results of some amazing work on book analysis over the last few years - cutting edge work far beyond the system you've heard us discuss at BookLamp in the past. We'll be able to drop the day-to-day mystery that gets in the way of transparent disclosure, and once again invite the community into workings of the company and really build something together. We're very, very excited about it.
We'll show you what a data genome really looks like, and I hope that you'll be impressed, and compelled, and willing to clap after the show.
Much will have to wait for a later post, but it isn't too early to take a deep breath, and have everyone gather around, pull up their chair close to the table, and say, "It looks like we're going to do it. We're going to impact the world."
Is it life changing? It's certainly changed mine. The amount of reading that I now do, even compared to the reading I did before, has climbed tremendously as discovery becomes an easy thing to do; readers will find a very unique service that will give you insight into books that's not even remotely available at the moment. And I do believe it will change the lives of everyone that's worked on it, which is deeply satisfying to me. It feels as if we're executing on a promise made at the very beginning. This next year will be the fruition of what we've always simply referred to as a "genuinely good idea" - an idea that I believe has the power to change every facet of the publishing world. It is a world that I deeply admire, respect, love, and can now count our team a part of.