Books are dead (long live books) – Seth Godin

I first started reading what Seth Godin had to say about things almost 20 years ago. I even had one of those crazy Purple Cow Milk Cartons on the top of my credenza for years. I have been following his new project since he first announced it online. So, long story short, I trust a lot of what the man has to say.

And this bit about authors and the written word hits a chord with the observable data.

Here’s an insightful, stick-with-you essay about what happens to books in a digital world.

For me, there are two key insights:

There are three stages–pre-artifact (there is no book yet), artifact (here it is) and post-artifact (what happens now? not much). Craig argues that all three stages are changing, and quite dramatically.

The second insight isn’t as delineated, but it comes down to this: what it means to be an author is changing for the first time in a hundred years. This is a profound shift in one of the most leveraged professions of all. Instead of there being a clear box around who an author is and what an author does, that box is becoming blurred.

It’s really the second insight that resonates. What I see is a much tighter connection between authors and their readers than there ever was in the past. There is more of a two way conversation taking place now than there ever was.

In the good ol’ days, you might meet an author at a book signing or a convention, but, other than a few words you didn’t really converse. Today with email and twitter and Facebook, your chance of having a back and forth conversation is much improved.

Then again, maybe the circles I hang out in have changed and I converse with authors more because I just “know” more authors. Either way…I think the book world hasn’t finished changing. And all indications are, the life of an author will keep getting more complicated.



via Books are dead (long live books).

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