Future of Books

On the Future of Books: A Discussion with Seth Godin

Guest Post written by Leo Babauta.
The industry of publishing ideas has been undergoing a revolution for more than a decade, and where it’s headed is still an open question.
As a writer, I’m excited by the possibilities. But lots of writers (and publishers) find it all a bit scary.
Today I share a conversation I had with best-selling author, blogger and publisher Seth Godin on the future of books, publishing and blogging. It was fascinating.

First, consider some of the major changes in publishing:
  • Amazon has become the world’s top bookseller, without a physical location. That has changed everything.
  • Writers can now publish their work online, on blogs and websites, in forums and social networks.
  • Writers have no editors. They are in direct contact with their readers. Their readers talk back, so that it’s a two-way conversation now.
  • The lines between books, films, magazines, newspapers and websites have disappeared.
  • Ebooks are on the rise — read on computers in PDF formats, on Kindles, on iPads, on smartphones, everywhere.
  • Writers have no rules, no limits, no need to stick to written words, no pricing limitations, can share their ideas live as readers ask questions, and much more.
And that’s just the start.
Where is it all going? I talked to one of the sharpest minds in the industry to find out.
It was an amazing interview! Listen to me and Seth Godin here (about 26 mins long).
Some of the topics discussed:
  • Whether the new world of publishing is scary or not
  • The clear, well-lit path that publishing has been taking for more than a decade
  • How lack of scarcity has changed publishing forever
  • The new role of publishing in the online world
  • How not to wait to be picked
  • How Seth’s Domino Project deals with unsolicited requests from authors
  • How the Domino Project planned to transform everything about publishing
  • How he eliminated cover images, shortened books, eliminated advances, and what he learned
  • Whether collectible editions of books work well
  • Spreading ideas through books, and how paid works vs. free
  • The growing problem of people hating reading
  • Whether you should publish how-to or cookbooks at all
  • What types of books will sell well in the new landscape
  • The problem of getting selected by the masses in the vast sea of millions of published books
  • Why you don’t need that many followers/friends as an author
  • Why the willingness to fail is so important, with so many options available to authors
  • A future where everything that happens is your fault — and whether that’s good or bad
  • The horror stories of Pulitzer Prize winning authors
  • Amazon’s vastly important information about readers
  • Deciding to publish your best ideas on your blog vs. your book
  • Why Seth doesn’t have comments on his blog
  • Giving up the goal of having everyone in the world like your stuff
  • The cycle of productivity, and having nothing next

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