Does Digital Level the Geographic Publishing Playing Field?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Yes, the digital world offers equal opportunity for all.

By Edward Nawotka

Panel discussion featuring New Zealand author C. K. Stead, Frankfurt Book Fair 2011. (Photo: Fernando Baptista)

I’ll admit it, we’ve run a lot of stories about New Zealand recently: today’s feature story about the PANZ conference, last week’s “NZ’s Gecko Press: Translating the World’s Top Kid’s Lit, the week before’s “Earthquake Inspires New Zealand Author to Launch Own Press,” and several from recent months, including “Connecting New Zealand to the Rest of the World Through E-books,” among others.

Part of this upsurge in news can possibly be attributed to the fact that New Zealand will be the Guest of Honor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, but it also belies a simple fact: the digital transformation of publishing has leveled the geographic playing field.

That the Kiwi’s are presenting are presenting their work at Frankfurt this year under the curious brand motto “While You Were Sleeping” which hints at something going on of which you might not be aware.

Yes, the digital world is flat, and offers equal opportunity for all. When it doesn’t — it’s often people from the smaller nations that take things into their own hands. One needs only think of sites like MegaUpload (New Zealand) or PirateBay (Sweden) as examples of serious disruption.

Can you think of other examples from small nations punching above their own weight?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.