What is a publisher these days?

The last couple of weeks I've reflected some on what defines a publisher in this day and age. Up until a few years ago most would probably argue that printing stuff on paper was the key thing. The digital world has obviously started to change this with the arrival of new types of products, like e-books and audio books. Increasingly, I've come to think about what the core of publishing is. It is hardly the different carriers or vessels, instead it has to be the stories. 

Publishing is about stories. Publishing is about detecting good stories, packaging them, and helping the story tellers tell their stories to as many as possible. 

Isn't this a small but neat paradox? New technology has helped us discover that it is not the technology that is the core of publishing. It is the story. We needed new technology to help us discover that we had been blinded by old technology. Once the blindness is gone one can see that publishing can use many different carriers. Even a live performance is publishing!

//jan

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