Last week’s tome from David Meerman Scott on the transformation of books was apparently a bit of foreshadowing from the best-selling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Real-Time Marketing & PR and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. Today Scott launched Newsjacking: How to inject your ideas into a breaking news story and generate tons of media coverage, but as an e-book only. It’s still published by Wiley, his long-time publisher, but only as a Kindle/electronic book.

Scott’s post from last week seemed to indicate he thinks the transformation of the publishing world is happening right now. Books will no longer be printed, but interactive, electronic versions with updates and dynamic content and the like. As I indicated in my comment on his post, I see this as certainly possible and evolving, but not the only way books will be done now. People of the digital age will still buy carbon-based, non-electronic books 50 years from now.

Newsjacking - David Meerman ScottWhile Scott is right … publishing is evolving and technology makes publishing books both steeped in possibility but also dangerous in how those possibilities might leave many fantastic voices behind … his declaration of the transformation of books, in my opinion, is more hype than reality.

What can you say? The guy knows how to sell books. Heh.

The interesting thing about this project is that it’s not self-published. Wiley is publishing the book, which means the real book in a book store folks are going all e-book on this, too. It will be interesting to see how their experiment goes. Scott can sell books — he’s sold 250,000 copies worldwide of New Rules — and he has a huge network of fans and contacts. So will 5,000-6,000 (or more) e-books sold at $8 each prove to be a new profit model for the publishing companies? Will the public pay $8 for a short book rather than $25 for a standard one?

Perhaps the better question is, “Will an e-only book actually reach enough customers to make a difference for the publisher?” My book is selling at a 300-350 per week clip in stores, but only 50 or so per week as an electronic version. I can assure you my publisher wouldn’t be happy with just 50 ebooks a week.

If I had to bet on this project, I think I’d take the under. Scott has a huge network, but only a percentage of them are going to buy an e-version of a book. Without retail distribution and carbon-based paper and binding, it’s already limiting its audience. While Scott is well connected online and there are a number of e-readers out there for the targeting, I think Scott’s PR-centric audience is less inclined to Kindle and more inclined to take a book on flight.

But then again, Scott was out in front of the marketing-pr angle of social media long before most of us were. I’m sure I could be guessing wrong.

It will be interesting to see if he and Wiley share metrics from the experiment. Guessing again, but I’m betting they won’t.

I haven’t read Newsjacking, but I know David and have read his other books. He told me this book is priced right (currently $7.99 on Amazon) and that it’s a short read. My friend Joe Pulizzi apparently scored a copy and said it was a two-hour read at most in his Amazon review. The topic is probably not deep enough for a full-blown, 300-pager, so that doesn’t surprise me.

But Scott knows PR well. And his knowledge of the subject matter at hand here makes me think this is probably a book worth buying, especially for that small business looking to get a leg up on PR without having to spend a bunch of money on a firm or consultant.

I’m not much of an e-book reader myself, but I’m going to give this one a whirl. Knowing David, I won’t regret dropping $7 on it.

NOTE: All links above are affiliate links. I like cheeseburgers.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • David Meerman Scott

    Hey Jason, thanks so much for this thoughtful analysis. You’re right that is an experiment for both me and for Wiley. We’ll see…

    I’d like to go on record saying that I do not predict the death of print. Heck, I subscribe to the daily print Boston Globe, and print magazines including the Week, Surfer, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and a few others. TV didn’t kill radio. It is a both / and not an either / or. 

    I do think that the interactive nature of the current generation of ereader provides some great things (like linking to content I talk about in the book) but it does not mean the end of paper.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair enough, sir. I’m excited to see how the project turns out. Hope you guys will share for those of us interested. Get on a flight tomorrow and will have my copy to read! Thanks for pushing the envelope for us.

      • David Meerman Scott

        Jason – I’m very pleased with the launch so far. I did not talk about the book prior to launch which I think was a good move. People were surprised today when it came out and I think that lends to more buzz. 

    • John Cass

      David, If things go well, would you envisage publishing a print version of the book? Is this experiment in part an effort to see what works and doesn’t? You are becoming a book author in the vein of Seth Godin, and as such it makes sense to me to figure out what works and doesn’t.

      • David Meerman Scott

        John, you never say never. I wrote it as an ebook only, but if my publisher sees print demand, who knows? One thing that we are considering is if a publisher wants to do a print version in another language. My New Rules book, for example, is out in 25 languages now. Some of those markets really like my stuff, so maybe a print version could be done of Newsjacking in, say, Turkish. 

    • http://www.theharteofmarketing.com bethharte

      Congrats on the new book David! Looking forward to reading it. I would be lost without my Kindle, so I am all for getting books that much quicker from you! ;-)

      All the best,
      Beth Harte

  • David Meerman Scott

    Hey Jason, thanks so much for this thoughtful analysis. You’re right that is an experiment for both me and for Wiley. We’ll see…

    I’d like to go on record saying that I do not predict the death of print. Heck, I subscribe to the daily print Boston Globe, and print magazines including the Week, Surfer, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and a few others. TV didn’t kill radio. It is a both / and not an either / or. 

    I do think that the interactive nature of the current generation of ereader provides some great things (like linking to content I talk about in the book) but it does not mean the end of paper.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair enough, sir. I’m excited to see how the project turns out. Hope you guys will share for those of us interested. Get on a flight tomorrow and will have my copy to read! Thanks for pushing the envelope for us.

      • David Meerman Scott

        Jason – I’m very pleased with the launch so far. I did not talk about the book prior to launch which I think was a good move. People were surprised today when it came out and I think that lends to more buzz. 

    • John Cass

      David, If things go well, would you envisage publishing a print version of the book? Is this experiment in part an effort to see what works and doesn’t? You are becoming a book author in the vein of Seth Godin, and as such it makes sense to me to figure out what works and doesn’t.

      • David Meerman Scott

        John, you never say never. I wrote it as an ebook only, but if my publisher sees print demand, who knows? One thing that we are considering is if a publisher wants to do a print version in another language. My New Rules book, for example, is out in 25 languages now. Some of those markets really like my stuff, so maybe a print version could be done of Newsjacking in, say, Turkish. 

    • http://www.theharteofmarketing.com bethharte

      Congrats on the new book David! Looking forward to reading it. I would be lost without my Kindle, so I am all for getting books that much quicker from you! ;-)

      All the best,
      Beth Harte

  • http://twitter.com/pigactor Josh Schroeder

    I’m not an expert, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing at least two angles: 1) selecting an audience, and 2) leveraging scarcity.

    I think it’s an interesting move, and like he says, we’ll see how the experiment plays out.

    • David Meerman Scott

      Josh – interesting idea on leveraging scarcity. Wish I had thought of that! 

  • http://twitter.com/pigactor Josh Schroeder

    I’m not an expert, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing at least two angles: 1) selecting an audience, and 2) leveraging scarcity.

    I think it’s an interesting move, and like he says, we’ll see how the experiment plays out.

    • David Meerman Scott

      Josh – interesting idea on leveraging scarcity. Wish I had thought of that! 

  • http://blog.wcgworld.com/author/gmatthewswcgworld-com Greg Matthews

    I just bought the book (affiliate links FTW) and started reading over lunch.  Have to say that I’ve never really read DSM before, but I love the writing style as well as the content.  You might be right about the publishing strategy/experiment, but I am inclined to think that there are a whole bunch of people like me who will:
    1) read a blog post like this one from someone whose opinion they respect
    2) be compelled to download and read the book immediately.
    If it’s a quick read (both in terms of brevity, but more in terms of digestibility) I could see it doing incredibly well.
    Good luck to David, and thanks to Jason for the tip!

    • David Meerman Scott

      Glad you like it Greg! I love that real-time nature. The book comes out. Jason talks it up. You can be reading in moments. 

  • http://blog.wcgworld.com Greg Matthews

    I just bought the book (affiliate links FTW) and started reading over lunch.  Have to say that I’ve never really read DSM before, but I love the writing style as well as the content.  You might be right about the publishing strategy/experiment, but I am inclined to think that there are a whole bunch of people like me who will:
    1) read a blog post like this one from someone whose opinion they respect
    2) be compelled to download and read the book immediately.
    If it’s a quick read (both in terms of brevity, but more in terms of digestibility) I could see it doing incredibly well.
    Good luck to David, and thanks to Jason for the tip!

    • David Meerman Scott

      Glad you like it Greg! I love that real-time nature. The book comes out. Jason talks it up. You can be reading in moments. 

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