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Photo by Lori Greig

Seth Godin, who has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages, laid a bombshell on the book world Monday. He announced in his blog that Linchpin would be his last book published in the traditional fashion – by a publisher.

“The thing is–now I know who my readers are. Adding layers or faux scarcity doesn’t help me or you. As the medium changes, publishers are on the defensive…. I honestly can’t think of a single traditional book publisher who has led the development of a successful marketplace/marketing innovation in the last decade. The question asked by the corporate suits always seems to be, “how is this change in the marketplace going to hurt our core business?” To be succinct: I’m not sure that I serve my audience (you) by worrying about how a new approach is going to help or hurt Barnes & Noble.”

Alerted to this news by my husband, who reads many marketing books and blogs, I was curious to see what other authors had to say as I begin this arduous task of getting my book into your hands – or computers? I don’t want to waste time with 20th century methods if new ones suit people better. Yet I yearn to hold my own book in my hands and to see it in yours on the metro.

I see that Tim Ferris and Jim Farley still find a place for physical books and the publishing world.
Tim Ferris on How Authors Really Make Money: The Rebirth of Seth Godin and Death of Traditional Publishing
“I find that it helps refine your thinking, just as having the content in a fixed form (print) forces you to consider your writing and editing more seriously than if you could change it willy-nilly like a blog post. There are certainly benefits to the multimedia books on the horizon, but I wouldn’t call them “books”, and I think the bells and whistles of video, hyperlinks, etc. will be used to mask sloppy thinking as often, if not more often, than they will be used to create a more compelling argument or presentation. The wordsmithing and precision of the language will suffer with the crutches of embeddable video, etc. Will they make perfect sense for some books? Absolutely. Will they distract and detract from the flow of the prose, story, or argument in most cases? Absolutely.

The compelling case for the printed book that resonated with my heart was made by Jim Farley, owner of a bookshop in New Hope, PA. I highly recommend reading Farley’s whole story! It gave me hope and spoke to the heart of how I want to touch people with my book. This process is about much more than “success” or “profit.”

Kindles Aren’t Books
I was twenty, newly tattooed and sobering up. I was running late. The Greyhound bus I boarded in Pittsburgh smelled like old sweat and food. A red-eye, I was going to move through the night, across the open fields of middle-Pennsylvania for a crack of dawn arrival in Philadelphia. There didn’t seem to be an available seat on the bus and the driver was watching me through the rear-view to sit down before he backed out into the steel city night. I scanned the bus, tired, in and out of it, and saw a seat on the aisle three rows from the back. A large black man was in the window seat, more piled there than sitting, a muscular pylon rising out of the fabric. Our eyes met. I didn’t have to look down into his to do it.

“Mind if I sit here?” I asked.

“Only if you’ll talk about Nietzsche,” he said.

I looked at my hands. I was carrying the Viking Portable Nietzsche in my left hand, the cover facing out to the world. Red-eye reading.

We spent the next seven hours talking about the nature of god, will, the meaning of religion. He was a studying with the Jesuits in New York, on his way home from visiting friends.

That never would have happened if I was a Kindle user.



  1. I’ve never resd a “book” in any other format then a book and doing it any other way would take something from the pleasure i get out of reading. Even audio books while convenient are not the same. You’ve heard the saying “curl up with a good book” I doubt you will hear someone say the same about their laptop.

    • Love this reply. I so agree! Laptops are not cuddly!

      Peace, Joann Malone

      “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

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