Do You Care About Where What You Read Comes From?

I’m researching an article on the publishing industry and the impacts that self- and e-publishing have had on traditional publishing, how traditional publishers are responding, the implications for content consumers (us!), etc. It’s been a fascinating process and I’ve connected with a number of experts from every point along the continuum from traditional to e-publishing.

One of the key points that continues to be raised and which, at least in my mind, suggests the ongoing need, for some type of gatekeeping system is the sheer volume of information that is now available to us — and which is likely to only continue to grow exponentially. As an “information addict” myself, I have to admit to being decidedly overwhelmed with the information now at my disposal – the books, the magazines, the whitepapers, the blogs, etc., etc., etc. How can I choose and be selective about what I read. More importantly, how can I *trust* what I read.

Out of curiosity, I posted an item on LinkedIn asking the question: “When you read a book, do you care who the publisher is? Why/why not?” I’ve received a significant number of responses to the question. Surprising, to me, are the number of people who said, “No, they don’t.” A fair number, however, did suggest some role that the publisher may play in terms of lending credibility/value to the content. A very relevant POV I think and one I share.

These initial responses, prompted me to pose a slight variation on the question: “When you find information on the Internet, do you care who the publisher (e.g. website owner) is? Why/why not? Is your response to this question different than your previous response? Why/why not?”

I’ll be curious to see what I find. My guess is that most will say “yes,” the web site owner does matter in terms of the credibility of the content. If I’m correct about this, then my natural next area of contemplation is “what’s the difference?”

What do you think?

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