On Sunday afternoon, because of a comedy of errors that included Joe Thornley pouring himself a glass of scotch and wondering what he was getting ready for (and not remembering what it was until Monday) and my being so tired after the big ride with my dad in Oregon that I was asleep at 5:00, we had to reschedule our InsidePR recording for this afternoon.

Getting ready to get on Skype with Joe and Martin Waxman, I tweeted, “Hmmm…about to record @Inside_PR. What should we discuss this week?”

My friend Petya Georgieva suggested Seth Godin’s decision to give up on traditional book publishing.

Great idea, Petya! The problem is, we STILL haven’t recorded episode 2.18 because we all got on Skype and my sound wasn’t working. So Joe and Martin were talking to me and I was typing back to them. Really, really funny (maybe you had to be there), but it definitely does not work for a podcast.

So, I figured I’d blog about it instead. How’s that for burying the lead??

If you haven’t read Seth’s blog post about ditching his publisher and editors in favor of working directly with his readers, click here and go read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

All good?

I think Seth is freaking brilliant. I also think engaging your customers, where they are already participating online, is what every one of us should be doing. But… I wonder what giving up the traditional book does for one’s reputation?

Through my travels and speaking, I see way too many people who still value the hard cover book, the printed newspaper, and the glossy, four-color magazine. Not to say there isn’t major room for other options (we are, after all, having this discussion on a blog), and we all know traditional media is dying very quickly, but being a published author, and a New York Times best seller, still has cache.

I use to carry my Kindle around everywhere and now I read everything on the iPad. But I still love a book. I love the feel and the smell of them. I have a library in my house. If I read a book on my iPad that I love, I then buy it for my library (the Steig Larrson books? Own all of them, though I read them all electronically). The book world is actually making more money on me now. You can take the girl out of university, but you can’t take the English degree away from her.

Perhaps Seth can pull this off because he has 12 best sellers under his belt. But I want to get at least one under mine before traditional book publishing goes away and every Tom, Dick, and Harry can publish their own books. I want the cache of someone else saying I’m brilliant enough to publish me…and I want the New York Times to concur. Guess I’d better get to it!

What do you think? The death of traditional book publishing: Brilliant or short-sighted?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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