Cybernetics System: How to create a cohesive printed book and ebook through a Conversation model

Picture yourself curled up on the couch with one of the Lord of the Rings hardcover books. You open the book to a double page illustrated spread of the map of Middle-Earth and as you delve into the reading, you are introduced to Tolkien’s many fictional languages that uses characters with elaborate accent marks. Now imagine reading that same book on your tablet and the map has been shrunken down and pushed to the end of the epub file and those umlas, circumflexes and tildas are now missing and replaced by question marks or missing font squares. This is a bad reading experience for the reader, don't you agree? And looks bad on the publishing house for releasing unprofessional looking ebooks.

There is a major disconnect between the experience of a printed book and its ebook. And the root of the problem is how the printed book and the ebook is produced, in silos within a publishing house. Therefore I propose a conversation model between the art and the digital production departments, in order to create a cohesive printed book and ebook. Concentrating on three specific departments within a publishing house: managing editorial department who "sense" the publication date of a certain book and has the goal of meeting the book's publishing deadline date, the art department who designs the book and finally the digital production department that codes the ebook version.

In the current system, managing editorial acts as the outer loop, or the second-order feedback loop for both the art and the digital production departments. The goal of the managing editorial staff is get the book and the ebook published on time, which affects the "goal" of the art and digital production staff. There is communication between managing editorial and art in one second order loop as well as communication between managing editorial and the digital production in a separate second order loop, but there is no communication between art and digital production, which is exactly where the disconnect lies.

In the proposed system, with one second-order feedback loop and a conversation model, each department retains their department goals, but now there is a common "outer" goal of creating a cohesive printed book and ebook package. Through conversation, art informs digital production and vice versa. This in turn benefits managing editorial and achieves its goal of getting the book and its ebook made on time. This reduces the "bio-cost" or what is known as time and value spent of the managing editorial department and simultaneously causes a trickle up effect of benefits to the rest of the publishing house. In conclusion the publishing house benefits in production value, profit, readership and readers benefit from a better reading experience whether with the printed book or its ebook.