Why write a book?

Posted: January 26, 2010 in I Don't Know, Personal, Productivity
Tags: , , , ,

If you’ve never written a non-fiction book, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to. It organizes your thoughts. It’s a big project worthy of your attention.

Noted.

But once you’ve written a book, it’s not clear that it’s a useful thing to publish one. After all, it takes a year. It involves a lot of people. You need to print a lot of copies, ship them everywhere, create a lot of hoopla and hope that people actually a) hear about it, b) decide it’s worth the effort to track it down and c) read it and spread it.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just blog it? Or to post a PDF online and watch it spread?

Some of my books have been short… one was under a hundred pages long. It could certainly have a been a series of blog posts. And the posts might even have reached more people than the book ultimately did. If my blog posts were counted on the same metrics as bestselling books, every single one would be a New York Times bestseller. Yours too, most likely. Books don’t sell that many copies.

The goal isn’t always to spread an idea. Sometimes the goal is to make change happen. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel. [read: Seth Godin]

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