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Publetariat Dispatch: The Future Of Books And Publishing

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, publishing consultant and author Joanna Penn looks at what Seth Godin and Mitch Joel are saying about the future of publishing.

In the last week there have been two great audio interviews on the  future of books. I would say it’s not the future but more current,  emerging and becoming more mainstream every day. I recommend you listen  to them both! They will educate and inspire you and that’s what this  blog is all about :)


The Future of Books and Publishing at Six Pixels of Separation

There’s one podcast I listen to avidly and that is Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation.  It’s primarily a marketing blog and podcast but also talks a lot about  new media, publishing and Mitch interviews a lot of authors of business  books. It’s not usually aimed at writers but this episode is a definite  must-listen podcast for those of you who enjoy audio.

Click here for The Future of Books and Publishing with Mitch Joel and Hugh McGuire

Here are some key points I found interesting:

  • Hugh’s new software PressBooks  (currently in beta) is a simple online book production tool. It’s based  on WordPress software and produces a print book as well as an ebook but  it’s also all online so it can be given away for free as well. This  enables all the analytics to be tracked as people join in and share  online.
  • How Amazon is a tech company with an amazing amount of analytics on their customers which enables them to compete aggressively. (For us as authors, this is a great thing as it fuels the Amazon algorithms that help sell our books.)
  • The key thing is the connection between readers and authors. You have to control that connection to the customer and Amazon has this. (This is also why we are building online platforms, so we can connect directly to readers)
  • “You have talent on one side and customers on the other and the  middle is the engine of marketing.” Mitch Joel. Connecting the two is  the key and Amazon has this.
  • Amazon as a publisher has signed Deepak Chopra now, as well as a lot of other authors including Tim Ferriss.
  • A discussion on the value of print books and books in general. The  way of reading on the Kindle with sampling and having no time for books  that don’t immediately grab you.
  • “It’s the context, not the container.” This underlies everything.  What can you do as a writer/publisher to make things better for your  reader? This is the important thing.

You can find Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation and on twitter @mitchjoel

You can find Hugh McGuire at and on twitter @hughmcguire

On the future of books: A discussion with Seth Godin

In an interview with Leo Babauta on Zen Habits, thought leader and marketing guru Seth Godin talks about:

  • How the current changes in publishing are scary for  those people who want someone to pick them and just write but  fantastically exciting for those writers who can embrace the change and  pick themselves
  • There is an abundance of shelf-space online. It’s  not about shelf space, it’s about finding a tribe and developing  relationships and selling to those people. Your job is to connect and  create your own community around your work. Then you have the power to  market to them. It’s not about the table by the cash register at  Borders, it’s your ability to attract a passionate tribe and then fulfil  the needs of those people.
  • Really think about what needs to go into a physical book form  and whether your ideas could be disseminated in other ways. Seth  mentions how books will become 99c or $1.99 ebooks that people devour  like popcorn (the John Locke model) and then a few very specific books  that will be hardback or collector’s items and many more that will need  to be sold to the tribe e.g. idea type books like his own.

There’s much more in this interview and one of my takeaways is that I  feel I’m in the right place for the publishing shift. When I started  this blog, there was a huge stigma against self-publishing but that  lessens everyday and these two interviews on such high profile blogs  prove that this model is not going away.

Click here to download the interview with Seth Godin on the future of books

Read the blog on The Domino Project, Seth’s (very successful) experiment in publishing here

Leo’s blog Zen Habits is also brilliant and focuses on minimalism if that’s something you’re interested in.

What do you think? Are you excited about what’s happening in the publishing industry?



This is a reprint from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

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