Book store or grocery shop?

Thinking books, and the future of books, a subject as reader and publisher that’s dear to my heart. Something we should all be thinking about. How will we read in future – smartphone, iPad or similar, PC, or even an old-fashioned book?

There’s a big, big debate going on out there, and new platforms and approaches emerging all the time. A snippet from that debate…

Bestselling (so I’m told) author Sean Godin has decided to dispense with his publisher, Penguin in the USA, and go direct to his readers, because he  believes he has through his blog (readership in the several  hundreds of thousands he tells us) identified his readership.  He writes: It’s been years since I woke up in the morning saying, “I need to write a book, I wonder what it should be about.” Instead, my mission is to figure out who the audience is, and take them where they want and need to go, in whatever format works, even if it’s not a traditionally published book.

Do I want an author out there figuring where I want to go and having him or her take me there? What a crazy, insulting notion.

I want an author to write because he has a great idea, has something to say, believes in something. I’ll follow him there if I want to, become a fan if I want to.

We’re in a world which claims to be the new democracy, where we all can have a say, and in many cases that happens, and it’s quite a breakthrough. But it’s also a world which crowds our every reading and watching and listening moment, where CCTV watches us, credit agencies check us, direct marketers profile us, and now authors suss us out and write what we want to read.

Seth Godin’s approach is better suited to running a grocery shop than writing books.