Over on O’Reilly’s Radar blog, Open Technology Exchange General Manager Mike Hendrickson provides some nice context and analysis of year-end computer-book sales data.
While this covers only computer books (across all publishers, not just O’Reilly), from experience we know the techies who buy our books are often the canaries in the coal mine for much broader market segments. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales touched on this at TOC 2007, where he noted that much of the earliest content on Wikipedia skewed heavily geek (video below, and linked here).
I’ve heard some publishers say, "my content won’t migrate online"; in particular those producing things like glossy photography books. While it’s certainly true that, for example, a selection of professional photographs of my hometown Chicago might look great on my coffee table, the top results for a Chicago search on Flickr, combined with my own shots into a custom book is now an affordable option for a truly one-of-a-kind product.
As the graph above shows, the alpha geeks are already doing this with content they previously would have looked for in our books:
Your customers could be next.