Seth Godin on the Future of Publishing

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.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

8 thoughts on “Seth Godin on the Future of Publishing”

  1. Ken Kennedy says:

    Great find, Dave! What podcast sub did you get this from…I’m trying to track down some new good subscriptions.

  2. Seth Harwood says:

    Funny. I just listed to this myself the other night. Coincidence. Did you see he announced this week he will no longer publish traditionally?
    Nope. Nada.
    See this:

  3. dave says:

    Ken, I didn’t get it from a podcast feed. I saw someone tweet about it and I added it to my Gigadial from there.

    Seth, it does strengthen the argument here that Godin is willing to do the same thing in his own authorial career. He’s in the JA Konrath boat. He has a name and his own set of committed fans, and a deep bench of books so why not? It only makes good sense.

    The interesting thing is that he followed the same line of thinking I did. When I finish my novel, I’m going to self-publish because I realized the energy I could spend selling to publishers would probably be better spent selling to readers who are then engaged with me without an extra middle man. It’s on a different scale but the exact same reasoning.

  4. Ken Kennedy says:

    Dave…gotcha. I actually suspected that once I started thinking about it. I forget about my gigadial account sometimes, but I should use it more. It’s perfect for that sort of thing! Thanks for the post about it, Dave…great find.

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