Issuu: Cool online publishing (if you want to give your content away)
Just began my nightly ritual of scanning more feeds in Google Reader and discovered yet another fabulous tool for delivering content online: Issuu.
Issuu is the place for online publications: Magazines, documents, and stuff you’d normally find on print. It’s the place where YOU become the publisher. Upload a document, it’s fast, easy, and totally FREE. Within seconds you’ll have a super cool online magazine you can post anywhere on the web and share instantly with your friends.
Like Techcrunch said today, “Issuu is a PDF viewer that doesn’t suck.” Read the post and you’ll see that Erick Schonfeld actually, well, liked it.
So do I. A lot.
I have one problem with Issuu though: not everyone wants to give away their content for free. Some content? Yes. But the really valuable stuff people work hard to produce and we would like some value in return for that hard work (and there isn’t enough ad revenue to feed everyone). As it stands now, Issuu is clearly going for the YouTube-like crowd and trying to build a critical mass of users sharing, embedding and uploading (hopefully not other’s copyrights) content and everyone will be happy.
But I’m not happy. I want this tool but primarily to deliver published content, privately (e.g., subscribers only).
What I’ve said before publicly (and privately to heads of startups and established Web companies in content and tools) is that I’m incredibly enthused about public sharing sites and of having a place to deliver content for free. The network effect can clearly bring good content to the attention of potential customers. But Issuu, give those of us who have to monetize SOME or MOST of our content a “pro” version that we can pay for so high value content can be provided only to those willing to exchange value in return for it.
Of course, when I discuss this publicly I get into the inevitable argument with many ‘net-heads that insist that all content should be free, I should just get over it (my wanting to make money on content) and content value is falling to zero like long distance telephony. Curiously, these folks are the same ones I love to confront by asking, “So….you’re a top-flight programmer. Would you build my new web site for free and have it ready in a month?” Usually they’re stunned I’d ask such a question and their answer is, “Well…ahh…no!” I then rest my case.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.