toolsofchangeThis week, leading-edge technologists, social media gurus and publishers discussed the future of publishing at the O’Reilly Tools for Change for Publishing conference.

I just read a wrap-up from Publishing Trends that blew my mind. Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, suggested that publishers put their slush piles online, as a way to determine if the public would want to read it before it gets published (or rejected)!

Brogan also said that “Twitter is THE social media tool publishers should learn how to use…it’s a better marketing tool than MySpace or Facebook.” Why? It encourages discussion and allows users to develop genuine relationships.

The publishing industry has to be very careful that books don’t go the way of music before they’re ready for it. Can you imagine a Napster for literature? The Kindle 2 was just released–and its sleeker, magazine-slim design is appealing (there’s a waiting list). Publishers must embrace technology now, before clever programmers enable the public to make their own decisions about how they’ll purchase books.

I’m eager for your thoughts. What do you think about social media and publishing? How will it change the game?