Apologizing for the book

(recovered post; comments lost)

I’m sparing you drafts of my book as I write it and instead discussing the ideas here and getting smarter for it. But I thought I’d share just a few graphs from the next-to-last chapter, this one on the book industry asking What Would Google Do?

I confess: I’m a hypocrite. If I had followed my own rules – if I had eaten my own dogfood – you wouldn’t be reading this book right now, at least not as a book. You’d be reading it online, for free. You’d have discovered it via links and search. You’d be entering into a conversation around any point in the book. You’d be able to correct me and I’d be able to update the book with the latest amazing stats from Google. This would be even more of a collaboration than it already is. We might form a society of Googlethinkers on Facebook and you’d offer better advice and newer ways to look at the world than I have been able to. I might make money from speaking and consulting instead of a publisher’s advance.

But instead, I made money from a publisher’s advance. That is why you are reading this as a book. Sorry. Dog’s gotta eat.

And the truth is, I already do most everything I describe above – on my blog. I believe the two forms may come together eventually. But in the meantime, I’m no fool; I couldn’t pass up a nice check from Collins, my publisher, and all sorts of services from Harper-Collins, its parent, including editing, design, publicity, sales, a speaker’s bureau, and online help. That’s why publishing is still publishing. The question is, how long can it stay that way?

  • http://mediaflect.blogspot.com/2008/06/off-media-china-russia-and-west.html Dorian Benkoil

    what about the technique of putting up significant portions of the book as blog posts, but telling folks ” for the full thing in a nice jacket, buy”? I would think that would lead to more sales, and benefit the publisher.

  • Eric Gauvin

    You could always give it to your daughter to destroy in art class… (if that will make you feel any better).

  • http://vinylart.blogspot.com Daniel Edlen

    I think the value in killing trees in the name of communication is that if what’s printed inspires more people to venture online and Google somebody they know, then maybe the world online will grow richer (not money).

    Your quote above by itself would get me if I wasn’t already reading your blog. Yes, there is a gapingvoid, but we can fill it in a bit.

    Peace.