This morning I listened to the audio of this talk that Seth Godin gave to the Independent Book Publishers Association. In 20 minutes, he laid out a way the publishing industry can adapt to changing landscapes and thrive in the future. It’s a 45 minute talk total, 25 minutes were question. 20 minutes was all he needed to throw a lifeline to publishers. He took an analytical look at what publishers actually do and which of those functions can be done better by other business entities and what value propositions that leaves with publishers.
I find it amazing that the big publishers fail to understand the lessons of The Innovator’s Dilemma including the company that published that book. They have and continue to use the relatively small market share of electronic books and POD editions as a reason why they shouldn’t care about them. That’s exactly the process that happens according to Clayton Christensen – a company defines itself too narrowly and avoids the hard decisions to change direction because the old direction is too lucrative, up until the point that market collapses and they are screwed.
I sometimes give Seth Godin static for his blog posts that seem to come straight from the autopilot, but I highly recommend this talk. This is top shelf Godin from when he brings the A game. If you have any interest in publishing or the future of books, give it a listen.