On publishing

When imagining the future of publishing, I see two distinct emotions cross most people’s brows: first, excitement that we are in uncharted territory; then, fear—a concern that in gaining this new territory we must also relinquish things which we have loved for as long as anyone can remember. It’s a little like losing a parent upon the birth of a child: we relinquish the comforting and familiar for the curious and unpredictable.

Within the publishing business, I hear talk of “preparing for the future,” but I think the phrase is misguided; the future of publishing is not a storm for which we must seal the windows and stock up on canned food. It’s not just going to come upon us; we have to create the future we want to unfold.

To that end, I have three announcements to make:

First, I will be joining Jeffrey Zeldman, Erin Kissane, Paul Ford, and Lisa Holton at SXSW for the New Publishing and Web Content panel, where we’ll talk about the challenges facing publishers today and explore the intersection of publishing and content strategy. If you’ll be in Austin, please stop by and say hello.

Second, this month marked the 300th issue of A List Apart, and my first issue as Contributing Editor. A List Apart has been a successful online magazine for over a decade, and I am exceedingly proud to be on the masthead.

Last but not least, I have also joined forces with Jeffrey Zeldman and Jason Santa Maria as an editor for the forthcoming A Book Apart, a new series of brief books for people who make websites. Look for an announcement about our first book very soon.