Seth Godin, Rupert Murdoch and Apple Make the News of the Day

by Joel Friedlander on February 3, 2011 · 6 comments

Post image for Seth Godin, Rupert Murdoch and Apple Make the News of the Day

It was an unusual news day, even without the events on the other side of the world:

Seth Godin’s Domino Project Announces its First Title

Since throwing the traditional publishing industry under the bus, Godin has been percolating his new venture, The Domino Project.

Today he announced their first title, Poke the Box. Here’s his pitch:

Poke the Box is a manifesto by bestselling author Seth Godin that just might make you uncomfortable. It’s a call to action about the initiative you’re taking—in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)—the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.” Poke the Box just may be the kick in the pants you need to shake up your life.

You should go over and look at the Amazon page for this product, it’s remarkable. It’s got the usual editorial description, but also an embedded video by Godin and a long interview with him as well, all nicely formatted.

However, what interests me about this project is this: It’s being offered as a hardcover book, a Kindle ebook, or as a deluxe limited edition that’s signed and which comes with a letterpress cover and poster.

This is exactly the scenario we talked about last year, in which the biggest victim of the move to ebooks would be the cheap paperback. The hardcover, now a cultural artifact (Godin’s costs $75 for this 96-page book) to be treasured for its “bookiness” while the more common version is an ebook.

In this case, the hardcover has been kept to a low price of $9.99, so maybe that will replace the usual softcover. By the way, on its first day in pre-release, the book is at #150 in Books. Go Seth.

Newscorp Launches its iPad Newspaper The Daily

The eagerly anticipated electronic newspaper made its debut today in Apple’s App store. Here’s what Rupert Murdoch had to say, quoted in TechCrunch:

Murdoch revealed that The Daily will cost $0.14 per day ($0.99 per week) and says the app will be “the model for how stories are told and consumed.” The app will also include “stunning photography” and HD video. Murdoch adds that Apple’s Steve Jobs has changed “the world of technology and media” and that Jobs has been a “champion of The Daily since day one.”

This means a lot to self-publishers because magazine and newspaper publishers are desperate to find a platform to replace print, to find a profitable toehold in the electronic realm.

The all-out commitment to the iPad will help self-publishers because every mass media that moves to the tablet broadens the reach of the platform. You might eventually buy an iPad for a subscription to replace your newspaper, but once you have it you’re a potential book buyer, too.

Apple App Store Tightens its Grip

Speaking of Apple, it was a little astonishing to read today that Apple has started exercising restrictions on companies whose apps sell books. Here’s part of the story as reported in the New York Times:

Apple confirmed Tuesday that it would require app developers that sell e-books outside of their iPad and iPhone apps — through a Web site, for example — to also sell the books inside those apps. And purchases that originate in the app must be made through Apple, which keeps a 30 percent cut.

This seems to be aimed squarely at Amazon and its Kindle app, which sends you to an Amazon page to make your purchase. Of course, in that transaction Apple gets nothing, and they are not happy.

We talked extensively about the platform war between Apple and Amazon last year, when the disagreement centered around whether Apple’s device would be so compelling that it would overcome Amazon’s superior distribution.

It looks like Apple is playing for keeps here, now that it has proved the iPad’s popularity. And while Apple has been making most of its money selling devices, perhaps it now wants to fully leverage its platform to profit more extensively from its sales of content.

Stay tuned, each of these stories has vast implications for publishing and self-publishing. Let me know what you think will come from these developments.

All Amazon links are affiliate links. Photo: Dlisbona

Be Sociable, Share!

    { 5 comments… read them below or add one }

    Leslie February 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    It’s interesting that the more that publishing moves to digital transmission the more popular letterpress printing becomes.

    Reply

    Victoria Mixon February 3, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh, yeah, the Apple vs. Amazon thing—my husband & I have worked in Silicon Valley for over twenty years, we used to have to step over Steve Jobs’ legs where he stretches them in people’s way across the sidewalk at cafes while he’s wheeling & dealing on the phone. The guy is our generation’s most amazing sales machine. He never stops finding new ways nobody ever thought of before to push his brand.

    Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is over in his corner rolling up his sleeves instructing his thugs on whose legs he’s gonna break. He can’t compete in the world in which Jobs operates. He hasn’t got the sophistication.

    The minute Bezos tried to play the heavy against Jobs, it was all over. Jobs is going to take him down and laugh at the challenge.

    You should try talking to people once in awhile, Bezos.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Victoria, I thought it was interesting that everyone was so impressed with how Amazon had their Kindle app everywhere, like the platform they had created was just going to attach itself to every device known to man, but they seem to have forgotten that Steve and the Apple crew are used to thinking long thoughts, and might eventually have something to say about that. The hand-wringing yesterday about how Apple was somehow limiting consumption was something to behold. Color me amused, and thanks for your input.

    Reply

    Derek Oscarson February 3, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Joel,
    I love Godin’s approach, especially the letterpress limited edition. As I said here http://bit.ly/fXnwAr a hardcover version can be approached as a centerpiece of your brand. I also love the contrast of selling the ebook and a handmade (letterpress) physical book.

    Derek

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 3, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Derek, I didn’t know that Godin was a letterpress fan, but I think it would be very interesting if somehow the move to digitization created a return to letterpress book arts. And a bit ironic, too. The coasters came out great, by the way.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment


    + one = 9

    { 1 trackback }