Will the Innovation Dominoes Fall and Disrupt the Book Publishing Industry?
by Braden Kelley
“The enemy is not piracy, the enemy is obscurity.” – Tim O’Reilly
I came across a TechCrunch TV interview with Seth Godin today about his future publishing plans.
I’ve been wondering what Seth meant when he told me last year at the World Innovation Forum that he would never publish another traditional book. Here is the video:
Now, he has made it clear what he meant, and just what his future plans are in the below video from Tech Crunch. His plans have a name, The Domino Project, and it is a publishing house venture he is undertaking with Amazon and it starts with a simple question:
How do you make a book spreadable?
Right now books work very hard against being spreadable, and in Amazon’s continuing quest to evolve the book business beyond just selling ebooks and blogs on Kindle, they apparently approached Seth Godin, gave him a blank sheet of paper to envision a new way of approaching book publishing. He described this collaboration with Amazon – The Domino Project – through a series of questions:
What happens if we allowed you to buy a 5-pack for only slightly more than one book? Wouldn’t you then give four of them away to people who would be interested in reading them?
What happens if we allowed people to share a Kindle book for free for a certain period of time and then try to figure out how to make money from it?
Can you dream big enough?
Can you do something that is worth doing, or will you hold back and play it safe?
Amazon will be working directly with authors – including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Godin’s new book will of course be included (and will be on initiative). He also mentioned that the trend of these new books will be towards the spectrum of manifestos. Traditional book publishers can’t do 96 page books, but The Domino Project can. Godin says that the success of the effort will be measured on whether or not the first 10,000 people who get the book, actually share it.
So, what was the most depressing part of the interview?
“The average American buys one book a year.”
Will The Domino Project successfully disintermediate the traditional publishing houses and transform how authors go about publishing book? Is there anything here that is actually new? What do you think?
Here’s the video interview if you would like to watch it for yourself:
Seth Godin’s new book Poke the Box will be The Domino Project’s first title and it will come as a limited edition, a hardcover, a Kindle ebook, an audiobook, a 5-pack, and a 52-pack.
Braden Kelley is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden is also the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy.