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That's an awful nice box you got there.
March 15, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Best-selling author Seth Godin has launched a challenge to traditional publishing with The Domino Project, the first publishing imprint to be powered by Amazon.

The Domino Project plans to offer shorter, idea-driven books (a continuation of Seth Godin's obsession with the manifesto), with faster production, a wider range of formats, and cheaper Kindle editions. Godin's own Poke the Box is the first title to be released. Three more "manifestos" are slated for 2011.
posted by crackingdes (42 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
'poking the box'?? For reals?
posted by spicynuts at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Create content that works best when spread, and then package it so it’s easy to spread.

I can't believe it's not literature!
posted by chavenet at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


I do like the idea of a 100% online imprint.
posted by Mister_A at 9:42 AM on March 15, 2011


I couldn't find the words edit or editor on that entire Domino site.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:46 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seth Godin is one of the world's foremost experts at helping people who should know better feel okay about spamming the shit out of everyone else. If you voted for Obama, ride a fixie and play a ukelele and subsequently feel there's no way for you to feel okay about pooping affiliate low-cal content online, find refuge. He wears your funky glasses! He talks vaguely about wanting to Change Things, but don't worry, because he won't talk about actual class or social justice or feeding people! It's like downloading music or blogging or something! That must be good!
posted by mobunited at 9:49 AM on March 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


Sounds like some of you knuckleheads need to write a manifesto of your own, instead of shitting all over someone else's.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:56 AM on March 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Maybe shit is their manifesto.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:57 AM on March 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is some weird, retro bullshit.

"I think books are important and book publishers are basically trying to kill books."

Unfortunately, what's important is "information", not "the box the information comes in". What's killing books isn't book publishers, it's the fact that you don't need a printing press or institutional sanction to publish stuff anymore. As compared to the available options, having to actually kill a tree, pulp it, put ink on the result and then physically ship it is pretty antiquated.

This is a weird mirror image of a good idea. Sure, the world needs more editors, no question, but it also does not need books or a publishing industry anymore, and Godin is offering us the exact opposite of that.
posted by mhoye at 10:01 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seth Godin snarking aside, I find this story interesting as a possible precursor of the future. Whatever you may think about his books, they sell like hotcakes, and I imagine that this new one is doing just as well. If a sufficiently well-known individual can partner with Amazon to launch their own publishing house, that could signal a huge change in the future of publishing. Imagine Cory Doctorow launching his own SF publishing house, Rachel Ray with a food-writing empire, etc etc. If books are cheap, accessible and promoted by popular figures, people will buy them... even if there's not an editing process in place.
posted by crackingdes at 10:02 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And of course the bigger story here is that we have yet another person going the self-publishing route, thus striking another nail in the coffin of traditional book publishing. Another digital revolution, akin to the musical revolution that has allowed a wonderful growth of new music that most of us would never have had access to twenty years ago. Now its happening for books. Seems like a good thing to me.
posted by jnrussell at 10:02 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


No jokes but I still have my copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Game Boy Games" by Seth Godin.
posted by PenDevil at 10:07 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I eager await reading How to be a Scammer and Still Appear Credible by Seth Godin.

Seriously. Why do people still follow this guy? If I ever met him, I'd half expect him to sit me down, and begin extolling the virtues of Amway...
posted by schmod at 10:08 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


*eagerly
posted by schmod at 10:08 AM on March 15, 2011


Metafilter: Knuckleheads ... shitting all over someone else's [manifesto].
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:12 AM on March 15, 2011


Maybe shit is their manifesto.

I had honestly not considered that. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2011


Back when Godspeed You! Black Emperor was touring, their shows never had merchandise tables. Naturally, if you know anything about their politics. But what they did have was tables spread out with books and publications. You could buy regular used books there (I bought a copy of Society of the Spectacle at one show, and several cool Semiotext(e) things), or people could bring their own zines, and chapbooks of poetry, and other self-published things and sell them too. So you saw a lot of manifestos. Some black and white picture on the cover, perfect bound with black tape on the binding, usually.

So I read (or at least skimmed through) a fair amount of short-book-length, self-published manifestos. And I think what I'm primarily saying is, for most of these works? Their method of distribution was just barely better than nothing. But the reason they weren't getting widespread attention and praise isn't because their distribution sucked.
posted by penduluum at 10:16 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't quite figure out how I feel about Godin. I've read some of his books, and I subscribed to his blog for a while, but when I'm done reading him, I inevitably think, "Okay, so now what? What do I do with that?" There never seems to be a there there, if that makes any sense.

That, or I'm daft and I just don't get his particular brand of genius.
posted by jbickers at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ugh, Seth Godin. He's like the Pied Piper of Internet smarm.
posted by jimhankmom at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2011


I seriously don't get the USP here. I mean, are we just talking about shorter books or what? Y U NO MAKE SENSE.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:21 AM on March 15, 2011


Virality?

*snork*
posted by papercake at 10:27 AM on March 15, 2011


jbickers: "I've read some of his books, and I subscribed to his blog for a while, but when I'm done reading him, I inevitably think, "Okay, so now what? What do I do with that?" There never seems to be a there there, if that makes any sense."

That's sort of my response to him a lot of the time too. His blog has given me a lot of moments of "Huh. I'd never thought about that before," but there doesn't always seem to be a lot of meat behind those sparks.

mobunited: "He talks vaguely about wanting to Change Things, but don't worry, because he won't talk about actual class or social justice or feeding people! It's like downloading music or blogging or something! That must be good!"

He does do things for and in the nonprofit sector, including giving free consulting to nonprofit folks that he likes. Ultimately, his way of thinking is more about individuals than about causes, but I'm not willing to say that's entirely a bad thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the social media examiner interview, I like how some of the words in his responses are bolded, but that's because I am an idiot who lacks patience and reading comprehension skills.
posted by sleevener at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2011


'poking the box'?? For reals?

Yeah, ugh. That phrase can't possibly catch on. Can it? Can it?
*remembers Duh, Winning t-shirt is selling like hotcakes*
posted by thinkpiece at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2011


He does do things for and in the nonprofit sector, including giving free consulting to nonprofit folks that he likes.

So does Donald Trump, for pretty much the same reasons.

Ultimately, his way of thinking is more about individuals than about causes, but I'm not willing to say that's entirely a bad thing.

I agree. All individuals can create content, but the real cheddar lies in *aggregating* it. Something like Squidoo requires a lot of Kool Aid to regard as a social good.

In the social media examiner interview, I like how some of the words in his responses are bolded, but that's because I am an idiot who lacks patience and reading comprehension skills.

They're bolded for Googlebot, not you.
posted by mobunited at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2011


Sounds like some of you knuckleheads need to write a manifesto of your own, instead of shitting all over someone else's.

The funny thing is that given the vapid nature of the manifesto, we don't. We really don't.
posted by mobunited at 10:59 AM on March 15, 2011


Sorry, more snark. I've pretty much ignored Godin since reading one of his books where he explained his idea for a bank to randomly insert $100 banknotes in its cash machines, thus generating buzz around the bank and its magical cash machines. I've thought about this idea a lot since I read it, and I have decided that it is, for many reasons, the worst ever idea of all time, in the history of everything, ever.
posted by sleepcrime at 10:59 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> "The Ultimate Guide to Game Boy Games" by Seth Godin

Could be worse: Invasion of the Space Invaders by Martin Amis.
posted by scruss at 11:10 AM on March 15, 2011


No jokes but I still have my copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Game Boy Games" by Seth Godin.

I know this has probably been mentioned before in the blue, but it can't be repeated enough as far as I'm concerned: Godin was also the mastermind (for lack of a better term) behind the legendarily awful Worlds of Power series of NES game novelizations.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:44 AM on March 15, 2011


I was able to make it past the "easy to spread" line without laughing, although just barely, but lost the game at "Reward the sneezers..."

Anything that's disruptive to a lazy, sclerotic industry normally gets a thumbs-up from me, but in this case I just want to give Godin a tissue.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:46 AM on March 15, 2011


I can't quite figure out how I feel about Godin. I've read some of his books, and I subscribed to his blog for a while, but when I'm done reading him, I inevitably think, "Okay, so now what? What do I do with that?" There never seems to be a there there, if that makes any sense.

XKCD said it best.
posted by schmod at 12:13 PM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is endlessly educational. Today I learned Seth Godin and Seth Roberts are two different people!
posted by bukvich at 12:23 PM on March 15, 2011


Today I learned Seth Godin and Seth Roberts are two different people!

That explains it. I thought we were talking about Seth Rogen and I was all.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:06 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, if I understand this correctly, what he's doing is writing books. And other people are writing books. And this is very exciting because . . . ?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:35 PM on March 15, 2011


And this is very exciting because . . . ?

Yeah, I read the About page, and I'm kinda confused on the point as well... why do we even need the publisher anymore? That tremendously successfull YA Twilight-knockoff author has proved that.

Is this publishing imprint just for Godin? Who else writes for it, and what is their motivation to do so?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:51 PM on March 15, 2011


I of all people am aware that MetaFilter is not a breaking-news site and one may post “old” links with impunity, but this really is classic Old News and there isn’t much substance, or intelligibility, to Godin’s plans.

And may I suggest the excellent takedown piece “Does anyone understand what Seth Godin is doing?
posted by joeclark at 1:56 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back when Godspeed You! Black Emperor was touring, their shows never had merchandise tables.

They are currently touring, and there was a merch table when I saw them a few months ago.
posted by anazgnos at 1:59 PM on March 15, 2011


Wow -- electronic editions for any Kindle you like. How format-agnostic.

All of this is certainly a radical challenge to traditional publishing. Now, instead of ceding a huge piece of the action to a traditional publisher in exchange for an advance and the services of an editor, a copy editor, an art director, an artist, and publicity and sales staff, an individual creator can cede a huge piece of the action to Amazon for none of the above!
posted by Zed at 2:00 PM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seth Godin hasn't had an original idea during his entire "career". All he knows about is self promotion, and exploiting the poor suckers who have yet to figure out his scam. He represents the worst of the worst, the guy who nabs other's ideas and puts his own name on them, while telling the source how great he/she is - it's the worst of Hollywood, without the babes or the drugs, but all the slime and sleaze.
posted by dbiedny at 2:19 PM on March 15, 2011


Sounds like some of you knuckleheads need to write a manifesto of your own, instead of shitting all over someone else's.

Nah, not really. Most people are tremendously lucky if they have one manifesto-worthy idea in their lives. For most ideas, don't waste your time writing a manifesto to try to convince me that you're so right, just implement your dang idea, and when you succeed brilliantly, everyone will know that you were right all along. Manifestos aren't about ideas, they are about marketing ideas, and marketing should never be confused with innovation.

Godin likes to talk about the phrase "real artists ship", but people forget where that quote really comes from (allegedly): Steve Jobs in the early days at Apple. His point was that anyone can talk up a storm about cool ideas, but the real trick is to actually make the art and push something beautiful and useful out the door and release it to the world. Jobs is about the least manifesto-y person around: he doesn't talk about his grand vision and try to convince the industry to follow his lead; he creates something revolutionary and is off working on the next big thing while everyone else is playing catch up. A Steve Jobs revolution isn't declared in a manifesto, it begins with a shipping product and continues with every sale and every new release. Manifestos are for marketers; real artists ship.

Goshl I'm on a roll here. Maybe I'll write the "anti-manifesto manifesto" and start my own imprint on Amazon. Nah, I'm not Seth Godin.
posted by zachlipton at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sounds as though he is starting a publishing company. Congratulations, Mr. Godin. I hope you sell a lot of books. I am going to send you some really fresh ideas. I hope you reject them in writing and not through an e-mail to my in-box from some Mechanical Turk wage slave dangling free shipping on my next Amazon order if I rate my proposal experience.
posted by parmanparman at 2:44 PM on March 15, 2011


I think Godin needs to team up with Cory Doctorow, if only for the incredibly awesome MetaFilter thread that would result.
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:21 PM on March 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Godin likes to talk about the phrase "real artists ship", but people forget where that quote really comes from (allegedly): Steve Jobs in the early days at Apple.

Well, fortunately, somebody who doesn't forget is Seth Godin. As it happens, I just got through the section in his book Linchpin where he talks about it and he makes it pretty clear that the origin is from Steve Jobs and the Macintosh development team.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:36 PM on March 15, 2011


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