I learnt a new word for the new year: Disintermediation. It means cutting out the middle man through the use of new digital technology and business models.
Here is John Naughton’s explanation:
But disintermediation is now the mot de jour. It means wiping out the intermediary and that is what the internet does. Remember travel agents? Record shops? Bookshops? Book publishers?
For a long time, publishers maintained that, while the internet was certainly destroying the business models of other industries, book publishing was such a special business that it wouldn’t happen to them. After all, in the end, every author needs a publisher – doesn’t s/he? Only sad people go in for self-publication.
Er, not necessarily. The arrival and widespread acceptance of ebooks, together with on-demand printing and Amazon’s ebook publishing engine have transformed self-publishing from a dream to a reality. If you’ve written something and it’s in Microsoft Word format, then upload it to Amazon’s publishing engine, upload an image for the cover, choose a price and in about four hours it’ll be for sale on the web.
So it’s an important idea, which we have all bought into, even if we haven’t reflected on it very much.
But surely, on a dictionary aside, there is a better word for this? You can see the root: they have taken the word ‘intermediary’ and ‘dissed’ it to create the negative. But the word ‘immediate’ already means ‘with nothing in between, with nothing in the middle’. So I propose the word immediation instead. Let’s see if this takes off and gets me into the Best of 2013 lists at the end of the year.