T9okatol

www.tikatok.net

At BEA recently, I was facilitating a panel on the Gen-Z reader, (as in Gen x, gen y, gen z), and one of the threads the conversation turned to was whether the publishing industry can use the music industry as an example for the future. In particular whether artists/authors will take control of the medium as they have in music, thereby cutting out the middle man. The panelists were not convinced that the model went that far, given all the complicated things that have to happen to make a book a book. I myself am pretty sure that we will see increasing examples of this, given that consumer control over pretty much everything is the wave of the future. I definitely think that the readers and authors of the future will be much more empowered and DIY about things.

It’s already happening.

I give you Tikatok, an online publishing service for the young authors of the moment. Started by a mom, this is basically a site where, for less than $20, children can self-publish their own paperback or hardcover book. Using “story sparks” or completely from scratch, they do it all using the template based system. They can upload art directly to the site or mail it in. The whole thing is very well designed, clean, and easy to navigate. They even offer packages to schools and libraries for group orders. (This might be a very cool project for a children’s bookstore too!) The site is very family centered, and has an awesome and well-thought-out privacy policy.

And, the above handmade example aside, there are several examples on their site of books with fantastic art and photographic treatments. It’s possible to come up with a very credible product. Especially if you’re a second grader.

Yes, there have been self-publishing projects for kids in the past, but never have they been so kid-centered, user-friendly, or so interactive. Seriously, this is something an elementary kid could do pretty much on their own. Certainly, not every tikatok author will run their own publishing house in the future, but it’s not a far leap from here to web publishing, blogging, and all other manner of communication. I do think the youngsters of today will have a VERY different idea about communication when they hit adulthood.

As a mom, I think this is pretty cool.

What do you think?

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