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Seth Godin has several books published by Portfolio, but he recently announced his plans to make a huge change. He is going to forgo a publisher and offer his work directly to readers.

Twelve Books

When Godin began his career as an author, he needed a traditional publisher because authors are several degrees removed from readers.

Publishers, printers, media, distributors, and stores are all layers between an author and the real reason he is writing.  He has published twelve books through traditional means. But his thirteenth is going to be different.

New Publishing Strategy

Godin needed the traditional publishing route to get his work into the hands of his readers, but now he doesn’t think that it is necessary. Because he has a connection with his readers, he is planning to escape the layers that separate him from his audience. He no longer believes in the publishing industry.

Author Seth GodinSeth – Direct to You Digitally

His next book will published digitally and offered directly to his fans for download. He will offer his future projects through eBooks, videos, blog posts, and other digital means, but not in print. He did not mention whether audiobooks will be available.

While print publishers may consider this a defection, is it really so unreasonable? Sure, Godin used traditional publishing when he needed it, but now he believes he has moved beyond that need. Digital reading devices are big sellers and eBooks are outselling hardcovers at Amazon. It isn’t too difficult to see which way the wind is blowing.

Is This a Sign of Things to come?

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come. As people become more and more compelled to purge their bookshelves in favor of holding thousands of books in one hand, will the appeal of traditional publishing be lessened? I worry about self-publishing. From what I have seen, a lot of self-published works are ones that simply were declined from publishers for a reason: they aren’t good enough. How will readers be able to figure out what books are of good quality? Which have had talented editors guiding them? Which are simply junk?

but I do know that money is the motivator.

Perhaps traditional publishing needs to take a look at the revenue sharing with authors and figure out how to streamline things so that authors aren’t tempted to jump ship. I don’t claim to know tons about it, but I do know that money is the motivator.

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