Some people buy print-outs in artifact form, because they don’t want to run it through their own printers, or because they like how pretty they are in their hands. (I like how pretty they are, in my hands!) My issue (see yesterday’s post) is still unresolved, but it is a reminder that in the modern publishing world, everything is web publishing, already. Even people who go to the library use computer catalogs to search for their hardbacks, and the metadata better be solid in those web-based databases to aid their search. Access to the web is critical to everyone working and consuming books. Web publishing is what we all have, right now. Magazines are on-line. Reviewers are on-line. Readers are on-line, and sharing what they love with others over on-line communication tools. Books are bought and sold primarily on-line. The growing tide of format that is the eBook has already become a primary format for the book. It’s probably not the last shift in the water of text-delivery-systems.
And Search? Google and Yahoo and whatnot argued effectively, once-upon-a-time, that search was absolutely critical, and worth paying money to get good placement, worth paying money to google and worth hiring SEO experts to get right and maintain as the algorithms and search spiders update.
If the largest bookstore in the world fudges with their search algorithms, hiding titles about transgender, gay, lesbian issues, it becomes a dogpile of bad publicity on the web. If they fudge their search to favor their Kindle Select Program titles, the things exclusive to them, it changes what authors and publishers do a little bit, and some abandon other avenues of sales outright. Because search matters.