Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Art of Relevance is Now Available For Free on the Web (and Here's Why)

It's finally here! You can now read all the chapters in The Art of Relevance for free online. I hope you'll enjoy this resource and share it widely (with attribution).

You can still buy The Art of Relevance as a paperback, ebook, or audiobook--but you can also read any chapter, any time, online. You can also post comments on any chapter, adding your reactions and questions to the published content.

The chapters are short stories, and most can stand alone. Take five minutes and learn how the Science Museum in London created better experiences for deaf visitors. Or how Food What?! unlocks relevance for disinterested teenagers. Or how Felton Thomas fought the library union to make the Cleveland Public Library matter more.

Why make the book available for free under a Creative Commons license? I do it for three reasons:
  1. It makes it easier for people to share and spread the ideas in the book. Sharing a link is often a lot easier than lending someone a book. I love hearing about staff, board, and student discussions prompted by the book, and I want to make it easy for you to have them. 
  2. It expands access to the book. If you want to buy a book, by all means, do. But if you can't afford it, or you just want one section, I want you to have access to it. 
  3. It helps sell more books. Ever since I started this blog in 2006, I've seen the power of giving away ideas. Over the years, the more I gave away, the more people wanted to pay me to consult, speak, and write. When I wrote my first book, The Participatory Museum, I released it concurrently as a paperback and free online. It went on to sell 5 times as many paperback copies as the top museum publisher predicted in its first year. I didn't have the time to do a concurrent release for The Art of Relevance because of the Abbott Square project, but I'm catching up now. Free previews are powerful. If you start checking out some of the chapters for free, I suspect you'll get even more excited to actually buy the book. And if you choose to read it all online, that's good too. 
At the end of the day, what matters most to me is that you read the book, think about it, share it, and act on it. That's worth more than all the sales in the world.

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