Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seth Godin on the Coming Book Publishing Crisis

Below is an excerpt from a blog post Seth Godin wrote over at The Domino Project:

Seth Godin on MediaI did a show at the NBC headquarters in NY a few weeks ago. I’m guessing that it costs them about $6,000 a minute to make a news show in the studio. That counts the painters, set guys, three camera operators and their assistants, lighting guys, producer, executive producer, on-air talent, makeup people - all working from some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

Cable shows cost less. And now online shows are being made by people like Demand Media for the cost of about $2000 a minute. Video podcasts and professional YouTube stuff is down to, I’m guessing here, less than $500 a minute.

What happens to the market leaders when there’s no restriction on what gets on the air and when the competitors have a cost basis that’s 10% of yours?

The same thing just happened to books. A New York City publisher probably needs $2000 a page to acquire, edit, typeset, print and distribute a book (making up a number from thin air). A self-published ebook author needs $1 a page.

If the viewer/reader doesn’t treat the two products as fundamentally different, if reading or watching one is a replacement for the other, then a crisis is right around the corner.

John's Comments: But a crisis is only around the corner for the big publishers who spend way too much on publishing books by celebrities and not enough on books with real substance.

That's the real crisis: The total lack of true book curation by the larger publishers. Where are the great book editors of the 1930's?


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