August 23, 2010
News & Opinion: Where to?
The business book world lit up when author Seth Godin announced recently that he would no longer be publishing through a "traditional way." After twelve bestselling books, it might be said that he doesn't need to publish another one. But as readers of his blog know, he's not short on ideas, so what will he do with them? This is where the mystery lies, as Godin is not revealing what his plans are, and in many ways, this is the mystery that many people in the publishing world have been considering for quite some time. What's the answer? Maybe Godin has it, maybe not, but followers of his know that he's not afraid to take chances, and those kinds of surprises (when they work out) are usually the best. In some ways, Godin seems to be following the path of giants in the music industry. As Radiohead and Trent Reznor experimented with releasing their work outside major labels, the data showed that it worked. It will be interesting to see if something similar can happen with business thought. A big point to consider in this though, is that like Radiohead and Reznor, these kinds of experiments might be most successful with people who have the platforms to launch them. In other words, it doesn't imply traditional publishing is dead, but it does reveal another hint that it needs some reinvention. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch the story unfold, and we wish nothing but the best for Seth and his ideas.