The Domino Project: Changing The Face Of Publishing

Seth Godin, author of twelve books including Small is the New Big, The Dip, Linchpin and Tribes, has developed a new project in conjunction with Amazon that will redefine the way that we think of book publishing.

Seth Godin, author of twelve books including Small is the New BigThe Dip, Linchpin and Tribes, has developed a new project in conjunction with Amazon that could redefine the way that we think of book publishing. On his blog he states that Linchpin, his latest volume, “will be the last book I publish in a traditional way.” Confident that the business of publishing is in the process of changing in drastic and significant ways, Godin has decided to get out ahead of the pack. Launching early next year, The Domino Project is a venture that sets out to right some of the fundamental “wrongs” of the current trade publishing industry.

The specific details of the project are still rather vague, but the general goals are to change the foundations of the industry: remove the middleman figure of the bookstore, reconnect the publisher and author directly with their audience, create a more fluid pricing structure that can react to demand and popularity, and to help books and the ideas they contain, spread more like viral internet memes.

Godin elaborates how this project will come to fruition:

The Domino Project is designed to (at least by way of example) remap many of these foundations.

1. There is no middleman. Because there is infinite shelf space, the publisher has more control over what the reader sees and how. In addition, the Amazon platform allows a tiny organization to have huge reach without taking significant inventory risk. “Powered by Amazon” is part of our name—it describes the unique nature of the venture… I get to figure out the next neat idea, and Amazon can handle printing, logistics and the platform for connection.

2. The reader is tightly connected with the publisher and the author. If you like the sort of things I write or recommend, you can sign up here (for free, using your email) and we can alert you to new works, send you free samples and otherwise make it easy for you to be smart about the new ideas that are generated. (RSS works too).

3. Pricing can vary based on volume, on timing, on format. With this project, I’ve made the decision to ignore the rules that publishers follow to get on the New York Times bestseller list. There’s no point in compromising the consumer experience or the product merely to get a nice ego boost and a small shot of promotion. More on this in a future post, but I’ll let you use your imagination.

4. Digital goods and manifestos in book form make it easier to spread complex ideas. It’s long frustrated me that a blog post can reach 100 times as many people as a book, but can’t deliver the nuance a book can. The Domino Project is organized around a fundamentally different model of virality, one that allows authors to directly reach people who can use the ideas we’re writing about.

The Domino Project is named for the domino effect—ideas can quickly spread, moving through a previously static set up.

Godin and Amazon are firm in their statement that none of these plans may achieve any kind of concrete success, but it is clear that this is an innovative project that is sure to have some lasting effect on the current publishing industry.

The Domino Project

Seth Godin

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