Everything is going global these days and outsourcing is de rigueur. Manufacturing and software development, once residing in safe havens of the developed world, now go to emerging tigers in Asia, who in turn, getting a taste for what is possible, are trying to climb up the food chain into the more lucrative niches of design, creation and invention. The jury is still out as to whether grunt workers can grow up to be knowledge workers.
In the publishing world, with shrinking margins, diminished budgets and uncertain futures, opportunities exist for outsourcing the nuts and bolts of the industry – copy editing and proof•reading, for instance – to the only people these tasks could be offload to: the writers themselves. But unlike in the earlier scenario, the creators and inventors, (aka the writers) would be asked to scale down to the minutia. We might invert the jury decision here and ask whether knowledge workers can indeed make good grunt workers?
However, in a world where e•mail lingo is beginning to dominate with phrases like “I luv u”, “I am 2 xlnt 4u” etc., and standards such as “launch, then fix” abound, there is hope that this outsourcing strategy might work. In our present world of abdication awash with signage such as “may contain nuts”, “may also contain trans•fats” and “could be flavoured with listeriosis”, who really gives a damn anymore?
There might even be a time when readers are warned, prior to electronically downloading their books, by disclaimers prior to purchase – “may contain spelling and grammar mistakes. Five cent discount for every spelling or grammar error found.” After all, buyers like discounts, so why not unleash voracious readers on a witch hunt (or word hunt) and add them to the outsourcing chain – it might be good for business. Call that positive customer engagement!

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