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

POSTED ON Feb 3, 2011

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

Home > Blog > E-Books & Readers, Self-Publishing > 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

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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