Tue Feb 1, 12:50 pm ET
As part of his mission to develop an alternative to the traditional book publishing model, acclaimed author and marketer Seth Godin has announced the first title to appear under his new Amazon imprint, called The Domino Project. The book is titled Poke the Box and will be made available for purchase in print, audio and as a Kindle e-book on March 1.
Amazon announced the imprint in November as part of its new “Powered by Amazon” publishing program, which allows selected (i.e., bestselling) authors to leverage Amazon’s production, distribution and marketing resources to distribute their content, thereby cutting traditional publishers out of the process.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to break ground and help define what publishing can become,” says Godin. “A book that isn’t read doesn’t do anyone any good, and too often, 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.”
In other words, Godin will leverage Amazon’s Kindle Store and extensive media reach — along with his own considerable following — to market books published under his new imprint. But whether Godin is really redefining ‘what publishing can become’ is debatable. Godin and Amazon aren’t doing anything new — rather, Amazon is simply expanding its role as a retailer to perform most of the duties of a publisher as well.
In an interview with Mediabistro in August 2010, Godin said that he was frustrated by the slow, roundabout publishing process he had experienced in the past. “I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch, the nudging to get people to go to a store they don’t usually visit to buy something they don’t usually buy, to get them to pay for an idea in a form that’s hard to spread,” he said. “I can reach 10 or 50 times as many people electronically,” he explained.
Although he emphasized electronic distribution as the way of the future, Godin and Amazon are also heavily investing in a physical product: A “limited deluxe edition” will offer a printed version of the book along with a letterpress jacket and poster, as well as a “specially designed signature plate.” Five and 52-packs of the printed book will also be available “at a discounted price” to “share with friends and colleagues.”
The book itself, according to Amazon, is all about initiative, calling readers to become self-starters in their careers, organizations and personal lives. “It demands that you stop waiting for a road map and start drawing one instead,” Amazon said in a statement.