Short and to the point as ever with Seth Godin. I’ve been saying for a while that the biggest competition online for publishers is everything else and that we need to respond quickly:
When we juxtapose an ebook with a movie, Instagram or pigs that attack turtles, the ebook often loses.
One of the very real truths of our culture is being hidden in the dramatic shift from paper to ebook–lots of people are moving from paper to ‘no ebook’. For now, this is being concealed by the superreaders, ebook readers who are on a binge and buying more books than ever before.
via The null set – The Domino Project.
Seth’s no fool. This is, for want of a better description, his own business ideas imprint. With his status, connections and publicity generating ability, I’d warrant it’ll come off too.
It’ll be fun to see how this goes:
The Domino Project is named for the domino effect—ideas can quickly spread, moving through a previously static set up. Our mission isn’t to become a promotional machine, focused on interrupting large numbers of people or having significant promotional chops through traditional media. Instead, were grabbing the opportunity to choose and deliver manifestos that are optimized for the tribe, for the small group that wants to grab them, inhale them and spread them. The good ones will spread, first from person to person, then from one circle to another, and eventually into large groups.That’s a lot to absorb for one post. I’ve been working on the ideas behind The Domino Project since I published my very first book in 1986. The first manifestos won’t be out for a few months, but you can learn more as we go by following the Domino Project blog here.
via Seths Blog: The Domino Project.
Paul Carr is wrong-headed in some places here, just plain wrong in others and generally snide and snarky for little reason (nothing new there I suppose). For all that he makes some valid points.
For all of the reasons above, there are really only two types of person for whom it makes a jot of sense to tear up their book deal and abandon the professionalism, billion-dollar print market, and immeasurable cachet of traditional publishing. The first is highly skilled self-promoter likes Godin who have successfully identified their entire (niche) audience and who know they will only ever sell a certain number of copies of their books to that same audience. Marketers like Godin tend to make the bulk of their money with speaking gigs anyway – books are just a throwaway promotional tool, full of ideas that even they admit will be out of date by this time next week. Might as well take the money and keep running.
The second type of person is more tragic: authors who, for whatever reason, fear they’re about to be dumped by their publisher (or at best paid a tiny advance for their next book) and who want to save face by using innovation as an excuse.
via NSFW: A Modest Proposal For Authors Who Abandon Their Publishers — Give Me A Break.
A rather good piece by Mike Shatzkin on Seth’s move.
Publishers should have remembered the axiom that you should be careful what you wish for. This was, perhaps, the beginning of the unbundling of the publisher’s suite of services to the author. It used to be that the publication of a book was the platform and the publishers’ publicity and marketing efforts worked to capitalize on it. This was all part and parcel of the package: paying an advance; editing and shaping the book; putting it into a distributable (printed and bound) form; getting it known; and, of course, getting it into a store where a customer could buy it.
via There’s only one Seth Godin, but there are other authors who might emulate him – The Shatzkin Files.
Mathew Ingram adds some interesting nuance to the Seth Godin reaction:
Not every author or artist has that ability, and not every book is going to find an established audience that way. There are still going to be mass-market blockbusters in publishing, just as there are in movies and music, where the marketing machine goes into high gear to reach as large an audience as possible. But for established authors and artists who specialize in a particular niche, connecting directly with readers or fans can be a far better approach than relying on the traditional infrastructure of the content-distribution industry. At the end of the day, that is a good thing for fans of both books and music.
via Seth Godin Drives Another Nail Into the Book.
I’ve been interested to read Seth’s reasoning since I read his comments first on GalleyCat. I think he puts the radical case for there being no need for publishers pretty well and he highlights to me the danger that exists for publishers with their top rated talent.
On the other hand this piece calls out for a response, one that says the value of collecting, curating and promoting not just the ideas of one man, or one group but all the ideas about or around a niche that matter and building on that a community and services that community values.
The thing is–now I know who my readers are. Adding layers or faux scarcity doesn’t help me or you. As the medium changes, publishers are on the defensive…. I honestly can’t think of a single traditional book publisher who has led the development of a successful marketplace/marketing innovation in the last decade. The question asked by the corporate suits always seems to be, “how is this change in the marketplace going to hurt our core business?” To be succinct: I’m not sure that I serve my audience (you) by worrying about how a new approach is going to help or hurt Barnes & Noble.
My audience does things like buy five or ten copies at a time and distribute them to friends and co-workers. They (you) forward blog posts and PDFs. They join online discussion forums. None of these things are supported by the core of the current corporate publishing model.
Since February, I’ve shared my thoughts about the future of publishing in both public forums and in private brainstorming sessions with various friends in top jobs in the publishing industry. Other than one or two insightful mavericks, most of them looked at me like I was nuts for being an optimist. One CEO worked as hard as she could to restrain herself, but failed and almost threw me out of her office by the end. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken at the fear I saw.
via Seth’s Blog: Moving on.