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.
While 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.
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