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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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BookShout! at the Boulder Library – November 14th

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As a part of Startup Phenomenon, I’m going to spend a half hour with Jason Illian, the CEO of BookShout!, on Thursday, November 14th at 4:30pm. It’ll be at the Boulder Public Library, which is right across Boulder Creek from the St. Julien and downtown Boulder.

We’ll be talking about the Startup Revolution book series (which include Startup Communities and Startup Life), as well as the wonderful platform that Jason and his team have built.

I’ve been a fan of BookShout! for a couple of years now.

As an author, I’m always looking for ways to connect with my audience. I spend time with the people from the local startup scene all the time but connecting with aspiring entrepreneurs from around the country, and around the global, is an entirely different beast. Comments on Amazon are one-directional, and definitely do not encourage reader-to-reader interaction. Buying a book in a bookstore is an individualistic experience. Getting a book at a conference means reading it after the conference is over, which doesn’t leave any time for in-person discussion or engagement.

Enter BookShout!. First glance, it’s nothing special. Simple but effective distribution of books. All the goods when it comes to commenting and rating. Where BookShout! really shines is how it brings an audience and an author together, on the same page – both literally and figuratively – and allows them to have an unfiltered conversation around the content of the book.

It’s a powerful tool for authors and an interesting site for readers. If you’re either, check it out.

And if you’re in Boulder tomorrow afternoon, for Startup Phenomenon or not, come on by the Boulder Library and hang out with me and Jason.

See you there!

RSVPs are requested. Please do so here. While you’re there, check out some of the Master Classes that Startup Phenomenon is offering.

Linking First and Second Editions of a Book in Amazon

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When the Second Edition of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist came out, I was baffled that the books were listed as two separate Amazon items. The biggest impact was that all the reviews for the first edition did not sync with the second edition, so anyone coming across the second edition wouldn’t see all the first edition reviews. There was also a bunch of other content missing from the Second Edition page. In frustration, I wrote a post titled The Mess of a Second Edition Book.

For several weeks I dug into this with Wiley (my publisher) to no avail. I kept hearing back that the Second Edition is considered an entirely new book. I accepted that (it has a separate ISDN number), but I still wanted the two pages to be linked. The First Edition pointed to the Second Edition, but the Second Edition didn’t point to the first edition. And – none of the content on the pages was synchronized. I kept thinking some version of “c’mon guys – this is just meta-data – how hard could this really be?”

Dane McDonald, who works for me, eventually just took it on himself to figure this out. He went to the Amazon Author Central site, found, and followed the instructions.

  1. Login to your Amazon Author Page.
  2. Click on the “Help” button in the navigation Bar.
  3. Click on the “Contact Us” button in left hand sidebar of your screen.
  4. Under “Select an issue,” select My Books.
  5. Under “Select details,” select Update information about a book.
  6. In the field that appears, select Update something else.
  7. In the next field that appears, select I want to link one edition of my book to another edition.
  8. Make sure to include your email address as well as both ISBN #’s for the two editions of the book you would like to link.
  9. It takes 1-3 business days for the link to take effect.

Voila. Several days later what Wiley had said was impossible now worked. The two editions were linked and all was good in the world. Until the other day, when the books magically unlinked. Boo.

Yesterday, I followed the instructions again to relink the editions. This time I got a disappointing email from Amazon.

I understand you would like us to link ISBNs 978-1118443613 and 978-0470929827.

The books requested for linking, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist ISBN 978-1118443613 and 978-0470929827 don’t meet the qualifications to be linked. Please accept my sincere apologies for this disappointment.

In order to be linked, books must have the same content. Linking books such as the hardcover and paperback edition is meant to allow customers to choose between different formats, but customers should be able to expect to read the same content. Newer editions of nonfiction books generally have additional primary content, and therefore aren’t considered materially the same.

Books that are different parts of a set, or derivations of one another can’t be linked, even though they may be similar.

Thank you for contacting Author Central. We hope to see you again soon.

Double boo. I guess I should be frustrated, but pretty much everything about the old school publishing process baffles and perplexes me. Almost none of it is from a reader or author’s perspective. The publishers and distributors have their own magic language, special rules, and byzantine processes. Everything is harder than it needs to be, doesn’t work quite as expected, and has a bunch of extra words around each step.

I’ve let go of my frustration. Now I’m just amused. And I’m glad stuff like Bookshout exists – hopefully it’ll stimulate another wave of reader-centric disruption.

Read Startup Communities With Me On BookShout!

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I don’t think I’m breaking new ground by saying that book publishing is going through a rapid transformation. I’ve learned a lot about traditional publishing after working with Wiley for the past few years on Do More Faster, Venture Deals, Startup Communities, and Startup Life. I’ve also experimented with self-publishing with HyperInk for the book Burning Entrepreneur. And, as I continue to publish books in the Startup Revolution series, you’ll see a lot more experimentation from me, both around the writing and publishing process, as well as with regard to engaging with everyone reading these books.

Recently, I starting pondering what would happen if a book wasn’t simply static content, but an actively-engaging, community-building platform?  What if a class could read and share notes, an executive team could collaborate around a book, or a community of readers could interact within the text itself?

I recently found a social reading technology called BookShout!, and, after spending some time with them, think they are addressing a lot of things I want in my current book reading experience. As a result, I’ve launched Startup Communities: Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City on BookShout!

If you download the book and join the community, you not only get the book, but you can also connect with me, see my notes, invite others to join you, and create robust communities and in-line conversations inside the book.

To help entrepreneurs worldwide, Startup America is also using its full resources to reach out to millions of entrepreneurs so that we can all read the book together.  Leaders of Startup America, including Steve Case (the founder of AOL) and Scott Case (the CEO of Startup America) are going to read and share their notes as well.

We listen to music together and go to movies together – now we can read books together.  I hope you’ll join me, participate, and give me feedback on what you think.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Thanks to BookShout! and Startup America, I’m giving away 250 free digital copies of Startup Communities on BookShout!  The first 250 people to create an account at Bookshout.com and send an email to promos@bookshout.com will get a copy.  All I ask in return is that you make notes on areas that help you, invite others, and engage with me, give me feedback on what you think.

Build something great with me