Social Media and the Future of Book Publishing

When I attended Digital Book World back in January, they interviewed me about my take on social media, bundling, sharing, and the success of our BookSneeze.com program. One of the things people requested on my recent reader survey was more video, particularly excerpts from my speeches and interviews. Enjoy!

In this short, three-minute video I answer five questions:

  1. Why did you, as the CEO of a major publishing company, personally get involved in social media?
  2. How is social media changing the way that you market books?
  3. Why did you start BookSneeze.com, your book review program for bloggers?
  4. Why do you think the “bundling” of different product formats (e-book, print, audio, etc.) will become more common-place?
  5. What are some aspects of traditional publishing that publishers, authors, and agents must abandon in order for digital publishing to go to the next level?

By the way, here are several other interviews with publishing executives at Digital Book World that you might want to check out:

Question: Do you agree with my comments? Disagree? What do you wish they had asked me? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Hmm. I wonder if I have any “social authority” with my audience.

    • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

      Just checked out your site Cyberquill. I’d say you most likely have at least some “social authority” with your readers. You’re getting them to interact with you by posting comments. Might be worth a try to see if there’s any books that you could recommend to them!

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      Definitely…

    • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

      I’d add that if you have an audience then you have social authority with them. Audience equals those who follow and who hopefully listen to you. That’s social authority.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Exactly. I agree.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Exactly. I agree.

      • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

        Yep. They wouldn’t be your audience if you didn’t have social authority with them.

    • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

      If you use twitter you can also go to site like Klout.com to get a reading on how influential you are with your followers.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        HootSuite also has this built in. I can check any user’s Klout score at any time.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        HootSuite also has this built in. I can check any user’s Klout score at any time.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        Thanks. I obtained my reading. My score is 15. Klout tells me that I “get it” and predicts I’ll be “moving up.” Most likely because there’s no other direction for me to move into except sideways.

  • SueB

    I liked your comment regarding “bundling”. I agree with that idea. I hope I never give up my love of being able to physically hold a book and read it. But also, audio books are a great way to “read” when traveling in a car. And, now that I have an iPhone, I enjoy that option as well. I hope other publishers listen to what you have to say on this topic.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I really hope we get a solution on this soon. It would be huge for me personally.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I would love to see something elegant here. I love to sit down with a physical copy of a book – I love to highlight things and I like disconnecting from the electronic world. However, when I am on the go, I would love to have the convenience of the electronic copy (especially in keeping up with multiple books or wanting to get back to something in my library).

        • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

          Yeahh! reading multiple books at once can be challenging without the electronic source. At some point, I began to have back problems due to carrying several books on my bag :( not to mention, the bulk they made..

      • Jennifer

        Michael, if you look at the college textbook market, bundling has been the primary strategy for the last 10 years. In an attempt to add value to a new book so that students prefer it over a used book, Ebooks as well as online tutorials and study aides come at no additional cost or minimal extra cost with the NEW book but aren’t accessible with a used book except by seperate purchase (at a traditioanl Ebook rate.) In this market these products are subsctiption based and “time out”. This has all been web based until just recently where most publishers have IPad compatible texts now. “Bundling” or “valuepacking” is the daily activity of the college textbook sales force. These “bundles” now include homework programs as well so in many places, the bundle is a required component of the course because the instructors view the technology as an essential element to the course and plan to use the technology as assignments in class. I haven’t seen a lot in the way of downloadable audio, but there are streaming audio files and downloadable audio study guides so I suspect this isn’t too far away. Audio books would work for some disciplines more than others- a great way to learn history, a bad way to learn math. :) There has been a steady increase in students who opt to go fully electronic without the purchase of a paper copy at all.

  • http://www.cdenning.com Chris Denning

    Plain and simple, I think that Social Media has to be utilized in any major business today for it to be at its most relevant and accessible. Social Media has leveled the playing field, when it comes to accessibility, from non-profits with no budget to huge corporations that want to connect with the masses. I think you’re right on it and publishing is no different. Social Media will play a key role in the coming years.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    We have seen how well social media works in the political world with the current revolutions in the Middle East and other platforms, such as the publishing industry, can capitalize on this as well.

    Call me old fashioned, but I have not yet explored the world of e-books. I do see the value of them, but I love to feel a book in my hand. I love the smell of new books and the ability to dogear the pages and mark them up. My friends who are e-book fans tell me that you can mark up the e-books, too, but I just am not there yet.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the smell of candles, too, but you electric lights are a lot more convenience for most things. I think this analogy works for books, too. I don’t think physical books will ever completely go away, but the advantages of digital books are tremendous.

      • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

        Great way to think about it. Maybe I’ll consider asking for a Kindle or IPad for my birthday. Thanks.

  • Timothy Fish

    I think it is true that people read what their friends recommend, but there are many people we encounter through social media who are friends in name only. Some even act more like enemies than friends. I’ve heard recently of people who are paying more attention to who published a book because they have grown tired of seeing so much self-published stuff out there. That seems to be good news for the traditional publishers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think so. We all need filters to navigate through the avalanche of content coming at us.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    When it comes to social media and book publishing industry, nowadays authors are enabled to produce trans media content and publisher asks the community what to publish next to help developing ideas through social media. When the publisher gets his head around that, he begins engaging in the communities in earnest.

    BTW, I wish they had asked you the question — “How do small players in the book publishing industry respond to the developments of social media? Is social media creating a divide or building a bridge among various levels of players in the field?”

    • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

      Good question. I’d be interested in knowing what MH thinks on it, too. If Timothy’s comment is right, I think it is creating a divide because the low requirement to enter social media provides little bump in our perceived legitimacy. (And that translates to bad news for guys like me.)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      In answer to your question, Uma, I think small publishers can play just like the big guys. In fact, I think it might be easier, because they don’t have a mammoth enterprise to support and sustain. Social media is a great “leveler.”

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Agreed Mike! I do feel that social media is a great leveler and enabler.
        Thanks for your thoughts.

        • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

          I agree too!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Nice interview.

    Thanks for sharing it, Mr. Hyatt.

    Good info.!

  • Sjohnston

    Agree. Was especially intrigued by the “bundling” concept as you described it.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      Definitely!

  • Ron Edmondson

    I love that you used the word “synchronicity”. I plan to find a way to use that too today!

    Thanks for being an influencer and game-changer and doing it for good!

    Ron

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I learned that word from Seth Godin. He gave a lecture on publishing that I heard. I says that people have an innate drive to synchronize with those around them. He gives a great illustration. He asks the audience to all clap together. He doesn’t lead them. It takes about 10 seconds for everyone to be clapping in unison.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Synchronocity was also an album by The Police back in the 80s. Great music…

      • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

        That reminds me of guitar hero! :)

  • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

    If they asked you specifically about bundling, I think that is a good sign that the concept is travelling through the right circles. This past week I’ve started adding my new Kindle to my reading. I like the portability and ease of reading, but even with all of the extras, but I agree that I will still want to interact with the print version of some books. I don’t know what the best solution is, but I’ll be watching to see what the industry comes up with.

    • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

      I agree Chris. While ereaders are great due to portability and ease of reading, there’s still something about holding that book in your hands and flipping the paper pages.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That’s why I don’t think it’s really an either/or issue. I read in multiple formats now. I don’t see that changing soon.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          That’s where I’m at as well. I read both traditionally and nontraditionally. And I see benefits in both areas.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            I see myself reading in multiple formats…I just haven’t quite jumped into an ereader because of the financial side of things. I don’t want to buy a book twice and each time I have come close to buying the electronic version (which still means buying the reader too), I back off thinking that I might really want to have the physical book.

            I guess for me, the big step is still spending a lot of money on the reader itself.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Trust me, I understand completely! Therer are many books that I prefer to buy in print form. Most of the books I use in my ministry, I buy physically. I use my kindle primarily for leisure reading.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            That’s kind of the distinction I was beginning to think about. Most of my reading is for ministry and personal growth – these I tend to want the physical copy so that I easily flip back through and see my scribble, the section headings, etc. (I know you can technically do this in the ereader – it just doesn’t appear, the little that I have played with them, that it would be as effective for me). For books that I would read once for fun, I am definitely thinking are candidates for the kindle.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Sounds like we think very similarly…

          • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

            Something I’m trying to get used to on the Kindle is how when I make a note or highlight, it gets put in a txt file on the Kindle. I used to type my highlights in my computer to have a searchable/printable version. If I can get used to this, where I highlight and just copy the Clippings doc to my computer, it’ll save me a lot of work and time.

        • Tracy Hoexter

          I believe that many people like the multiple formats, too…. perhaps you could consider offering the consumer a bundle price for multiple formats… like a combo at fast food place…

  • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

    Great video Michael! I really like the idea of bundling. It’s nice to have all my books on a portable device, but it’s also nice to have the physical copy to hold, mark up, pass along. Hopefully this idea catches on!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I agree with you on the bundling concept, especially with the addition of an audio version. As a commuter, I really love to start or finish a book while driving to work. I just wish someone would come up with a better indexing/bookmarking format for audio books.
    As far as traditional books go, having video trailers available online really helps to see what a book is about. I think the marriage of video and books is a good one. Hopefully we will see more integration of video incorporated into the e-book format as the platform evolves.
    It was good to see you at CatWest yesterday. I don’t know if they videotaped your presentation, but that was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. You incorporated Head, Heart, Hands, and Humor very well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. You are a GREAT encouragement to me, both here on the blog and there at the conference. I’m glad we’ll be on the cruise together, so we can get better acquainted.

      I don’t know if they taped the presentation. I think that they did. I want to give that presentation a few more times, so I can be a little freer from my notes. But thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. You are a GREAT encouragement to me, both here on the blog and there at the conference. I’m glad we’ll be on the cruise together, so we can get better acquainted.

      I don’t know if they taped the presentation. I think that they did. I want to give that presentation a few more times, so I can be a little freer from my notes. But thanks!

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    I saw your comment on the last blog in response to mine. Thanks for the advice. I do have one question for you and anyone here that might know.
    Can you respond to comments directlyfrom your personal email with Disqus? The only reason I am hesitant to try this is because every site that has it, it loads slowly…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I can respond directly via email (as I am doing now). That makes all the difference.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I can respond directly via email (as I am doing now). That makes all the difference.

    • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

      Brandon, I’m guessing you receive notifications through Disqus for replies. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that. Can you give me any advice on getting replies through emails? I’m using my Twitter account linked through Disqus, if that makes any difference.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        You have to sign-up with Disqus and then indicate that you want to get the replies via email. (That’s how I am responding to you now.)

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks Michael. I was hesitant to setup an account with Disqus as I do not have a blogsite yet. I’ll see if this works now.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes, you don’t need a blog site. In fact, I’ll bet the vast majority of their users don’t have a blog.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Yeah, I found that out. They make it look like you need one when you sign up, I just used my Facebook page. Looks like I’m getting replies to comments through email now. This is going to make it nice and easy to keep up here!

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            It does make it easy. I love it!

          • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

            Ok great! Now I have another question about it… (because right now I am just simply typing all my info in to leave a comment). If I sign up for disqus, can I respond to comments (if I am not the site owner like you) through email?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Honestly, I am not sure, but I would assume so. Please report back if you find out.

            Thanks.

  • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

    Mike, when you look at the future of publishing, what excites you the most?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The ubiquity and accessibility of content. We are taking friction out of the system, so that people can just get their books and go!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The ubiquity and accessibility of content. We are taking friction out of the system, so that people can just get their books and go!

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Love it.

  • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

    I agree with the others who said bundling is a good idea.

  • http://www.hecalledianswered.com Mary West

    I m glad you listen to your readership. Video helps me “catch” more of what I need to know, quickly. Some days that is all I have time for.

  • http://www.confessionsofalegalist.com Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    I really like the bundling concept. I use that now with my kindle and my kindle app for both the iPhone and my MacBook. It lets me read whatever I want whenever, making me more productive, even if I do not plan ahead very well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    As a contributor to the booksneeze.com program, I love it. I have done research in my job about the impact of social media and it is surprising how effective social media is, especially with younger adults. The challenge is gonig to be as these younger adults get older how to change the methods we reach them. while there is a good bit of folks that still use blogs and read them, Pew Research says that the younger adults 16 and below are starting to graviate away from blogs and more into social media like twitter and facebook. The question will be is how to get active people involved in “word of mouth advertising” of products in the future through a varierty of means. That may involve making as a part of the booksneeze covenant an agreement to post the book review on a social media platform such as twitter or facebook too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jim, that’s a point well taken. Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jim, that’s a point well taken. Thanks.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    I have enjoyed the Book Sneeze program. Since I do read a lot of books it is helpful to have the recommendations of others when it comes to selecting what I am going to read next.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      A recommendation from someone I trust (either through a personal relationship or through showing a certain authority on a subject) greatly influences the books I choose to read.

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  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    Interesting information! I haven’t spent any time using audio books, so I will be looking into that next.

  • Dan Miller

    We now hear that Charlie Sheen signed up on Twitter this week and got over 1 million followers in 24 hours. As a brick can be used to build a cathedral or smash a window, social media can be used positively or negatively. The temptation is to use the process for quick “fame” rather than for long term success. In the social media space, we must constantly be evaluating value vs superficial popularity.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Agreed. And we can’t let it become a substitute for real, face-to-face interactions.

    • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

      That’s very true!

    • http://twitter.com/slumbersixcon Joe Lalonde

      That’s very true!

  • Anonymous

    I love the term “Social Authority!” I also think you are right about bundling in the future of publishing. That may be the only way I’ll get an e-reader. If the ebook came with a book I bought, then I would appreciate the option & get a Kindle. Right now it’s a choice between book or ebook.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      A book bundled with the ebook would do it for me too (maybe even if I had to pay maybe $1 more).

  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    I agree with you about the benefits of BookSneeze. Allowing blogger’s to spread the word by posting a review is a great marketing strategy.

    I read a lot but still like reading a traditional book better. Due to the fact that I can make notes and underline pages.

    Thank you for the post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You can also make notes and underline passages in an e-reader. I’m just sayin.’

      • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

        Is it true you can pull out all of your highlights and just look at them? as well as jumping to highlights back and forth?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yep. Amazon catalogs all your highlights online. You can copy them and paste into Evernote, Word, or another document. It’s very cool—and efficient.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      I had never heard of it until this post…

  • http://www.margaretmcsweeney.com Margaret

    As always, great insights! Your blogs are a fabulous resource for gift ideas. Thanks to you, my husband got a Kindle and iPad before they became mainstream, and I was deemed “cool” by my teenagers! As a published author, I greatly value your tips on how to optimize social media to expand the platform. My Chihuahua @MisterPongo followed the pawprints of your dog @NelsonHyatt and launched a Twitter account. His first post was “I got my head stuck inside a kleenex box.”

  • Karl Mealor

    Glad the blog is back up and running. Unfortunately, I can’t get the video to work on the computer I’m using at the present time.

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  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    Cool beans!

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      :)

  • Anonymous

    Michael, this adds a whole new dimension to the blog. Keep it coming.

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      What’s your blog?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Alright, Michael, I’m signed up officially for Disqus! You like my photo? :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Lovely!

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    Michael, I love that you point out that you love leading by example. With that, here is a question: How did you lead by example beyond using social media? Did you encourage it at meetings? Did you teach them how to use it? work side by side with them?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have taught on it within the company. I have also brought in training resources and consultants. I also discuss it routinely with my key people. We share what we are learning.

      • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

        Seems like you have made it a priority. Awesome ;). I think you may have also made it a priority to share with your ‘key’ people for a reason…

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    In my little world…I just watched Ann Voskamp (mom blogger), Lisa Trkyst (mom blogger and creator of P31 Ministries) and Darlene Schacht (mom blogger/friend) who co-authors with Candace Cameron Bure – all hit the New York Times Best Seller List since 2011 – I believe it’s the buzz of all their blogging friends that have helped them get there (oh and their AMAZING writing abilities :-) and their own blogs!)

    It’s exciting to see them succeed – we bloggers really can make a difference in this world! That keeps me going on the rough days!!
    Courtney

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    As a frequent participant in the BookSneeze program I think you’re dead on. I’m excited to see how publishers will leverage social media and multiple platforms to deliver content.

    Between my laptop, Kindle and hardcovers I’m devouring more books than ever before.

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  • http://byphyllis.com Phyllis

    Because I found you on Facebook awhile back, my husband and I will be on the Create Cruise. I like your view of social media. We made our first You Tube video re my new book with three men who came to install our new air conditioner. They were thrilled to be a part, and we were thrilled to actually do it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I look forward to meeting you.

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  • Tracy Hoexter

    How do you see these changes in publishing applying to children’s picture books? Do you think digital picture books and apps will become as important as the paper book?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do. In fact, I am seeing the most innovation in children’s books. The good news is that it all starts with a great story.

  • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

    I thought of a couple of questions:

    1) What do you think of video book “trailers” (i.e. cost, effectiveness, other thoughts)?

    2) What do you think of “enhanced” e-books?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love book trailers. I posted on this a while back.

      I am not a big fan of enhanced e-books. I don’t want my reading experience interrupted. I do, however, like “enriched” e-books, where there is additional content at the end of the book.

  • TNeal

    Michael, I want to thank you. The phrase “social authority” resonated with me. You’ve made so many recommendations that have proven gold in my book and, with each solid recommendation, you’ve strengthened your social authority in my world.

  • TNeal

    I agree with the idea that you model for others what you’re asking them to do, in your case, getting more involved with social media. By your actions, i.e. blogging, you’ve certainly influenced my opinions on this issue.

  • http://twitter.com/iwritereadrate iWriteReadRate.com

    Hi Michael. I couldn’t agree more – social interaction and enhancing the reading social experience are increasingly going to be demanded by more digitally literate readers.

    A standard eBook format would be democratic and a ‘nice to have’ – wouldn’t it?

    All the best

    Adam
    http://www.iWriteReadRate.com

  • http://twitter.com/StephenSauls Stephen Sauls

    I would love to see “bundling” become available. Just the other day I was talking with a writer friend about how we each like the ease of reading (and ordering) books on our Kindles but find them hard to access for notes & reference. We would like to have the hard copy for that. I have found many people who say that the extra per unit and shipping cost deter them from buying the hard copy. But, they find their experience lacking with just an e-reader.

    I would like to see vendors take responsibility here and allow you to bundle. i.e. Amazon: if I have already purchased a hard copy then let me download the Kindle edition for free, or for $1.

    Would anyone else like to see this?

  • http://www.charmsjewelryuk.com/charms Pandora Charms

     Thanks
    for sharing this information, keep up the good work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nataraj.sasid Nataraj Sasid

    Social Media plays a big role in publishing Industry now!
    http://equiretechnologies.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/the-e-book/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1346029195 Yvonne Green

    You are definately an Intentional Catalyst Leader
    Great Interview

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  • http://twitter.com/RachelleGardner Rachelle Gardner

    Hey Mike, great little snippet! Question: In talking about domestic rights, you said, “I have to have worldwide rights on a product.” I was wondering if your “I” was referring to an author or a publisher? This gets a little sticky when we’re talking about who has which rights.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I was talking about as a publisher. Borders are going away in terms of commerce. They are a relic of an analog world.
      Sent from my iPad

  • http://twitter.com/BrookeWrites Brooke McGlothlin

    Thank you for this Michael. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject and your willingness to lead by example. I got to hear you at the recent Blissdom Conference and was just as impressed in person as I have been over the last year or so that I’ve been reading your blog. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brooke. I really appreciate that.