Seth Godin is a smart guy. He’s also creative, and I like the way he comes up with new ways to do old things. For the past year he’s been working on the Domino Project, an experimental publishing imprint that distributes mainly through Amazon and tinkers with a lot of different methods for pricing and promotion (including publishing “sponsored” books), just to see what would happen. Recently, Seth decided to wrap up the project, and wrote a post summing up some lessons learned (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/11/the-last-hardcover.html). It’s quite an interesting read, but I found this little gem to be most intriguing:
Sponsored ebooks are economically irresistible to readers, to sponsors and to authors. I’m proud to have pioneered this, and I think it’s a trend worth pursuing. The value transfer to the reader is fabulous (hey, a great book, for free), and the sponsor gets to share in some of that appreciation. The author gets a guaranteed payday as well as the privilege of reaching ten or a hundred times as many readers.
I’ve talked about this kind of thing before in my post, “Ads: The Future of eBooks?”. In that post, I talked ad-supported books, but Seth has an even better idea with “sponsored” books, with one company giving a “brought to you by” message, and that’s it. Just tolerate that one sponsorship message, and your book is free. The sponsor pays the author directly. Not a bad idea, but one that could certainly lend itself to becoming a tool only for the few lucky top names in the biz with the pull to attract such a deal. For the rest of us, the ad-supported model used by blogs may be the answer. Regardless, Seth has a lot of cool ideas on the topic of eBooks and digital publishing, and if you’re not following his blog, I highly recommend it.