Note: Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors/bloggers and has given me permission to post his articles on my blog. I believe he is very forward thinking and can help you grow your business by upstanding how technology is changing and suggesting ways for you to adapt. I recommend that you follow his blogs or read one of his books and find out if you are a fan as well.
Andrew R. Spriegel
The Domino Project
by Seth Godin
Book publishing is changing. It’s changing faster than it has in a hundred years. I’ve been persistent enough to be part of that change, provoking and poking and wondering about what comes next.
Today, I’m thrilled to report on what’s next for me.
- To reinvent the way books are created when the middleman is made less important.
- To reinvent the way books are purchased when the tribe is known and embraced.
- To reinvent the way books are read when the alternatives are so much easier to find.
- To find and leverage great ideas and great authors, bringing them to readers who need them.
The notion of the paper book as merely a package for information is slowly becoming obsolete. There must be other reasons on offer, or smart people will go digital, or read something free. The book is still an ideal tool for the hand-to-hand spreading of important ideas, though. The point of the book is to be spread, to act as a manifesto, to get in sync with others, to give and to get and to hand around.
Our goal is to offer ideas that people need and want to spread, to enjoy and to hold and to own, and to change conversations.
Working with a great team at Amazon, I’m launching a new publishing venture called The Domino Project. I think it fundamentally changes many of the rules of publishing trade non-fiction.
Trade publishing (as opposed to textbooks or other non-consumer ventures) has always been about getting masses of people to know about, understand and read your books. The business has been driven by several foundational principles:
1. The middleman (the bookstore) has a great deal of power. There’s only a limited amount of shelf space, and there are more books (far more books) than we have room for. No display, no sale. That’s one reason books are published with the economically ridiculous model of 100% returns from bookstores. Huge stores can carry thousands of books and return them if they don’t sell. Large chains get a say about what’s on the cover, what the title is, and they even get paid for shelf displays.
2. The audience (the reader) is largely unknown to the publisher, and thus to the author. Authors with large followings still have to start over with each book, because they don’t have permission (or the data) to contact loyal readers directly.