The Great Publishing Divide Still Strong

In a recent post, Seth Godin made a brief comment about ‘When the Writer Becomes the Publisher’

His belief is that we have yet to reach the solution where someone can “collate, amplify and leverage the work of writers and turn it into cash”.

Sadly, I have to agree with him in part, but not in total.

I started out in digital publishing. I focused on building high value content sites that now generate a regular, and growing stream of revenue from advertising and affiliate products. These are not designed as product sales sites – the overriding aim was to disseminate good quality information, without bias to a particular product.

Then I advanced into other forms of publishing knowledge. Having over 20 years of consulting experience, and some expertise in highly sought after niches I decided to expand, backwards, into print publishing.

At first, this was merely to support an upcoming speaking series in a few advanced technologies that I believe will transform the way businesses work, and the role IT has to play in innovation and competitiveness.

Once I started, my publishing took on a life of its own, as other experts started approaching me to collaborate on books with them. So that would be fine, until we hit the distribution pipe.

Distributors are naturally keen to be efficient and economical in their dealings, and in line with the strategies I teach in SELL MORE, they have defined their ‘ideal customer’ and restrict their activities to only dealing with such. Hence, I had to expand my sphere of authors to ensure that I met the minimum number of author requirements to enable me to tap into profitable distribution networks.

In my digital publishing, I have more than a few different authors who contribute largely to the online content around their respective areas of expertise. But this does not count with print publishing. Hence it is quite clear that there is a great divide between the two.

Publishers that don’t have a US bank account cannot publish to Kindle. Yet, try to get a US bank account and it is not quite as easy as one expects it should be.

And the list keeps piling. The print publishing industry, whilst claiming on one hand to be embracing digital publishing options as the future of the industry are still clinging possessively to defining all their current relationships in terms of pure print publishing. Unless the print industry build operational and contractual bridges to meld a smooth continuum between the various publishing media, it is going to remain a messy business making progress into digital.

So whilst the technology and market are certainly in place for digital publishing, attempting to create a backward connection into the print format is more than ‘troublesome’.

No matter, I have more than my requirement of authors and book titles in the pipeline, and will keep my focus pointing squarely on the future.

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