Marketing guru Seth Godin is giving up on traditional publishing, according to a teaser to an upcoming interview. We’ll let Godin explain it himself:
“I’ve decided not to publish any more books in the traditional way. 12 for 12 and I’m done. I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch, the nudging to get people to go to a store they don’t usually visit to buy something they don’t usually buy, to get them to pay for an idea in a form that’s hard to spread … I really don’t think the process is worth the effort that it now takes to make it work. I can reach 10 or 50 times as many people electronically. No, it’s not ‘better’, but it’s different. So while I’m not sure what format my writing will take, I’m not planning on it being the 1907 version of hardcover publishing any longer.”
On one hand I think this is kind of funny. Poor Seth Godin, it’s so much work to sell those books. There aren’t that many authors who have an easier time selling books than Seth Godin. He could publish a book of blank pages and it’d top the business best seller list.
On the other hand, I see where he’s coming from. One year from author’s brain to bookstore shelf would be considered lightning fast in the publishing industry. The emphasis on making a big splash can be pretty overwhelming. And if you can spread your ideas in other formats (assuming spreading your ideas is all you’re after), why not go for it?
The reality here is that Godin can do whatever he wants. He can sell hardcover 1907 books if he wants, and he could just as easily sell digital 2010 books. If speed is his concern he could write up a manuscript and have it on Kindle in mere days. He could even have a hardcopy version available on Amazon in about a week. It’s not hard (I’ve done it).