Written by: Dean Hua

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tombstone for paperPaper, which makes up a book, is having a slow and painful death. Paper is no longer the “in” thing. Paper is being marginalized by the World Wide Wow. The Wow has an army of generals ready to go to war with you- the non-fiction book author. Unfortunately, you do not know it yet.

In your battle to become the “expert of choice” in your field, you’ll find that blogs, podcasting, social software and online communities are the new generals you want to go to war with now. They are the ones who will help you win the new battle of the digital age.

But paper? Nah. Paper is dying by the wayside. Its army is shrinking.

Year in and year out, fewer and fewer Americans are no longer spending money on books for their source of information. It’s a hopeless battle that you can’t win. You’ve got expertise and they are in search of it. However, they can’t find it because you put your expertise in the wrong place.

Want to publish a non-fiction book as a source of your expertise so you can land more speaking gigs, increase exposure, and get more bookings? Sure- go on ahead and do it. But it’s going to be slow. There are faster ways to accomplishing the same goal. The “in” thing today and well into the future is to digitize your expertise.

Welcome to the new goldrush. More and more people are flocking to the Wow and mining the heck out of it so they can make their riches. They are establishing not only a first mover’s advantage but ultimately a competitive advantage.

So two questions remain;

“Will you be at this new goldrush just in time to take your fair share?”
“Once you are there, do you have the proper tools that will help you take your fair share?”

I’ll see you at the funeral.


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  1. Your premise is interesting, but the facts don’t back it up.

    First off, Harry Potter just broke all records in terms of number of books sold… meaning that more people bought the new book than read earlier books.

    I gotta think that some of those millions of copies aren’t read and that “owning a book” and “using a book for learning” are distinct markets.

    In the former, books still have a lot of value. In the later, you are absolutely right.

    Maybe the day will come when there are no more books printed. But what I imagine is the scene from Star Trek where Admiral Kirk retires to his private quarters, breaks out his reading glasses and opens Moby Dick.

    We use books to establish experts and create leads for business. More profitable now than ever. What’s not profitable (if it ever was) is writing a book, mailing the manuscript to a publisher, and hoping it gets chosen, printed, marketed and sold.

    Your strategies for success are well founded. Just be careful in assuming that people are going to stop loving books anytime in the next 500 years.

    Warren Whitlock

  2. Thanks Warren. I should’ve added the caveat that paper won’t completely die. Paper will be around. The feel of paper is too nostalgiac for many of us to give it up. That includes myself as well.

    However, I still hold to my premise that book authors looking to become experts should look towards other channels of distribution.

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