Mihaela Lica Butler
2011 March, 13th
From the category how can we make more money in 140 characters or less, Amazon initiated this February a new contest to promote the publishing venture by Seth Godin “The Domino Project powered by Amazon” (more about the contest below). Under this project, Seth Godin will serve as the lead writer, creative director and instigator for a series of “Manifestos” that also will include books by other authors and thought leaders.
The purpose is first promoting Godin’s latest publication, “Poke the Box” that currently sells for $7.26 at Amazon and is eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime, which also happens to be the Domino Project’s first manifesto. Why so cheap? Well, because, in Godin’s own words, the book is short and fast and yes, unsettling. – in free translation, it didn’t need too much paper to print on. You get Seth Godin wisdom in no less than 96 pages – almost a brochure. Yes, manifestos don’t need to be that long.
The declared purpose of The Domino Project is to reinvent what it means to be a publisher, and to spread exceptionally high quality ideas. The publishing house currently consists of a small cadre of (unnamed) stellar authors – an exclusive clique, writing for an exclusive audience. Expected among these all the “me me” web gurus who are constantly broadcasting themselves, their books and their wisdom on various hip-and-trendy social media channels such as Twitter, Posterous, Facebook and others.
The Domino Project will spread ideas packaged with cogency and urgency in mind, not a word wasted, no filler – in other words, tweets. Sarcasm aside, the idea is good, but not new. We had eBooks and whitepapers for a long time already, and manifestos, oh well, unless you change their purpose and their meaning, they’ve been around for centuries, as means to declare publicly one’s theories, motivations and raisons d’etre. The Domino Project will catch because of the brands behind it, not because of the so called manifestos, or the “ideas” which, by all means, are nothing new.
Even the “poke” principle is not coined by Godin, who’s using a popular Facebook term to trigger social media interest. If you need to learn something is how to squeeze pennies from popular social media trends.
“We all know that ideas that spread win, and this new publishing house will enable my colleagues and me to create, write and spread ideas that matter. At the same time, we can leverage Amazon’s strength in what they do best: fulfill to a global audience, across all formats, and help me reach my core audience while increasing discovery among brand new readers. A book that isn’t read doesn’t do anyone any good, and too often, the structure of the book publishing industry gets in the way of books reaching people who can benefit from them. Amazon knows what to do to help these books get read.” said Godin in the press release announcing the project back in December 2010.
For more publicity, Amazon launched February 23 a contest for its Amazon Associates members, who are required to send an email to email@example.com about how they are taking the initiative in 140 characters or less. The Domino Project team will judge and select the top five entries as Grand Prize Winners. These Associates will receive a limited, deluxe edition of “Poke the Box” that is signed and personalized by Seth Godin along with a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card! In addition, up to 50 other entrants will be selected as Second Prize Winners to win a signed, personalized edition of the hard cover edition of “Poke the Box.” Enter 3/1/11 – 4/30/11. Learn more about the contest Official Rules here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000659931.
That’s probably because Poke the Box doesn’t really sell as Godin expected. This is his message to Amazon:
“The Domino Project is a new publishing venture designed to create ideas that spread. And we can’t spread ideas without your help. I’m hoping you can point your readers and fans to my latest book, “Poke the Box“. It’s an urgent appeal for people to step up and start initiating. Once people start making a difference in the work they do, things change. The book is short and fast and yes, unsettling. I think it will resonate with you and your readers. Thanks.”