menu

Seth Godin: What I Learned In My Year Of Revolutionizing Publishing

Seth Godin: What I Learned In My Year Of Revolutionizing Publishing
Advertising

The online innovator shares key insights about how the Ebook platform is undoubtedly the biggest gamechanger for the print industry.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 30 november 2011

Just over a year ago, Seth Godin put his thinking into practice by launching a click-to-print publishing company. The Domino Project tapped into the Amazon publishing platform to allow the swift creation of books on demand and Godin connected with key authors with strong followings to source content. This led to twelve books, twelve bestsellers, published in many languages around the world. The business guru says that the goal was to explore what could be done in a fast-changing environment rather than “whine about the loss of the status quo.” In a recent post on his blog he provided some key takeaways from his time working as a new world publisher:

  • Permission is still the most important and valuable asset of the web (and of publishing). The core group of 50,000 subscribers to the Domino blog made all the difference in getting the word out and turning each of our books into a bestseller. It still amazes me how few online merchants and traditional publishers (and even authors) have done the hard work necessary to create this asset. If you’re an author in search of success and you don’t pursue this with single-minded passion, you’re making a serious error. (See #2 on my advice for authors post from five years ago, or the last part of my other advice for authors post from six years ago.)
  • The ebook is a change agent like none the book business has ever seen. It cuts the publishing time cycle by 90%, lowers costs, lowers revenue and creates both a long tail and an impulse-buying opportunity. This is the most disruptive thing to happen to books in four hundred years. It’s hard for me to see significant ways traditional book publishers can add the value they’re used to adding when it comes to marketing ebooks, unless they get busy with #1.
  • Booksellers have a starfish problem. Without permission (see #1) it’s almost impossible for a publisher to be heard above the noise, largely because long tail merchants haven’t built the promotional tools traditional retailers have long used to highlight one title over another. You used to be able to buy useful and efficient shelf space at a retailer. Hard to do that now.
  • There is still (and probably will be for a while) a market for collectible editions, signed books and other special souvenirs that bring the emotional component of a book to the fore. While most books merely deliver an idea or a pasttime, for some books and some readers, there’s more than just words on paper. Just as vinyl records persist, so will books. Not because a reader can’t get the information faster or cheaper, but because there’s something special about molecules and scarcity.
  • When you combine #1, #3 and #4, you get to Kickstarter, which it seems to me, is going to be ever more important, particularly to new authors, authors that don’t write genre Ebooks and anyone with a tribe who wants to produce something like a book.
  • Sponsored Ebooks are economically irresistible to readers, to sponsors and to authors. I’m proud to have pioneered this, and I think it’s a trend worth pursuing. The value transfer to the reader is fabulous (hey, a great book, for free), and the sponsor gets to share in some of that appreciation. The author gets a guaranteed payday as well as the privilege of reaching ten or a hundred times as many readers.
  • The Ebook marketing platform is in its technical infancy. There are so many components that need to be built, that will. Ebooks are way too hard to give as gifts and to share. Too hard to integrate into social media. And the ebook reader is a lousy platform for discovery and promotion of new titles (what a missed chance). All that will happen, the road map is there, but it’s going to take commitment from Apple, B&N and Amazon.
  • If you’re an author, pick yourself. Don’t wait for a publisher to pick you. And if you work for a big publishing house, think really hard about the economics of starting your own permission-based Ebook publisher. Now’s the time.
  • Most of all, the character of people in the world of books hasn’t changed since I started in this business 27 years ago. Every author I dealt with was a delight. Smart, passionate, honest, humble (and yes, good looking). Readers sense this, I think, and treat books and the people who make them very differently than someone hawking a vitamin or a penny stock. Publishing is about passion and writing is a lifestyle, not a shortcut to a mansion and a Porsche. Bestselling authors are like golfers who hit holes in one. It’s a nice thing, but there are plenty of people who will keep playing even without one.
Godin has also documented a history of the publishing project too.
Advertising
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Work Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Transformed Into Dynamic System Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Food Today

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Today

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Joshua Green

Digital Strategist

Mobile Today

Messenger Service Only Delivers You Updates Three Times A Day

Formal is a new app designed to help people ignore the constant stream of texts from their phone and focus on what's in front of them

Design Today

Movable Vacation House Constructed Using Concrete Boxes

The 4,000 square foot building is made up of modular frames so it can be relocated if needed due to coastline erosion

Design Today

Redesigned Electric Fan Collapses For Easy Storage

Conbox can be kept in pieces and packed away when not in use

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Ai Today

LawyerBot Is Now Helping Homeless People Qualify For Government Housing

This robot helps people get out of parking tickets and provides free legal advice to those in need

Travel Today

This Head Hammock Promises The Best Sleep You’ll Ever Get While Traveling

NodPod holds your neck and back perpendicular, hopefully putting an end to sleepless and uncomfortable journeys

Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

No search results found.