The Book World Is Changing: Mark Cuban Creates A Best Seller Out Of Some Blog Posts

from the catch-up-with-the-times dept

A few folks have sent over this great interview with Mark Cuban discussing the fact that he has a best selling book on his hands, one that was put together quickly, mostly from old blog posts, sold as a $2.99 ebook online, with Mark handling most of the promotion himself. There are a bunch of things in the interview, but what comes across loud and clear is just how obsolete the old way of publishing is these days. In an era where it still takes years for books to come out, and almost a year between an author handing in their final version and publication, Cuban tells a very different story:
Of all your business ventures, the profit margin for this book is unmatched. Much of the book already had appeared as blog posts, and the production, promotion and distribution costs were negligible ...

Yes. That is what made this approach so appealing. I didn't have to spend a ton of time writing and editing, and Scott Waxman at Diversion Books was very accommodating in allowing me to make edits, literally up to hours before the book was released.

More importantly, I didn't have to commit to doing a book tour and a rigorous interview schedule because I controlled all the economics. I try to always be a good business partner. If a publisher had made a big investment in me, I would have felt immensely obligated to make sure they made money.

Instead, I can work to my schedule and work almost exclusively from my phone and laptop to do all the promotional work.
Before anyone says anything, we're certainly not saying that just anyone can do what Mark did. Given his fame, success, reputation and following, all of that played into the level of success here. And he's willing to admit that. But that doesn't mean that there aren't key lessons here for the publishing industry. The idea of being able to produce smaller books, much more quickly is really quite appealing. And the legacy publishers still just aren't getting it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Paying $2.99 for less than 100 pages of stuff that is already available in blogs isn't so much evidence that the old ways of publishing are obsolete, so much as improved efficiency for simple junk publications (they have always been available but now there are more and they are more junky).

    Typical Masnick - reading far too much into an obersvation of nothing very substantial.

     

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      rubberpants, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      Don't you find it astonishing that people will pay for something that's freely available elsewhere? It's almost like people will pay for convenience. If even junk can make money, the quality authors shouldn't have any trouble, right?

       

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      DS, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:04pm

      Re:

      I really hate to do this, but the fact that Cuban could sell this dribble is more of an indication of the cult of personality that Cuban created than book publishing.

       

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      Larry, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

      Re:

      Holy crap! It's like you've never bought any type of book before! Hell, buy a Garfield calendar for your niece just once would ya? Talk about not having a clue about what's actually for sale out there.

       

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    abc gum, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Sorry - but Cuban is a dick

     

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      Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      True, but you can't knock the man's hustle. He understands the internet, owns champions, and effectively shows how the digital economy is running circles around those that won't adapt.

       

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    Clouser, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:23pm

    Book Publishing Model Changing

    Neato

    Couldn't it just happen faster and more radically, please, Oh Gods of Business Models?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:44pm

    Puh-lease.

    This will only work for rich American business magnates.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Yup, this is right up there with HDnet, which "changed the world of TV". Come on Mike, you know that Cuban could shit on paper and some of his rapid followers would buy it up, no matter what the smell is. Repackaging lame blog posts into a "book" and selling it isn't exactly new. About the only thing new is that this guy has "fuck you" money and can afford to print his book himself, and do all the business himself.

    If it had failed, I am sure you wouldn't have mentioned it.

     

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      Atkray (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

      Re:

      Sorry to disappoint you but it didn't fail.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 6th, 2011 @ 1:10am

      Re:

      Wow, that's the best you have? "Well, it worked, so you're talking about it!"

      I'm guessing you didn't see that part where Mike actually said that it probably wouldn't have worked fro most people, because it's not something most people can do alone.

      Which means that there is still a place for those big media studios (such as WMG, and Bloomsbury) to adapt. On the internet, you could probably sell stories for maybe $0.10/chapter and still make a profit. That's what the Internet allows: a cheap, quasi-infinite distribution service.

       

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      DS, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 9:10am

      Re:

      Can anyone confirm that it wasn't Cuban who 'bought' 90% of the copies himself?

       

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    Wig, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    My guess is...

    The legacy publishers are getting it, they just don't know how to do it themselves.

    After all, it's not that complicated, is it?
    Just allow the author to use the tools that are available and be flexible enough as a publisher to support him in doing so.

    But that's kind of difficult if you have rigid procedures about how things were done in the previous century and are adamant about not changing them...

    All that to protect the interest of the authors of course.

     

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    TI, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    This is no different then Kim Kardashian telling people on Twitter she likes a certain kind of jeans or makeup and idiots buy it for that reason alone.

    So whoever bought this "book" and I loosely call it a book, hope you are not waiting for billions to drop on your head. That ship sailed.

     

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    Mary Baum, Dec 8th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    I learned this two years ago . . .

    . . . as I sat here putting together a full-color, 200-page cookbook for a client. In about eight weeks, I edited and largely rewrote recipes, licensed stock photos that looked close enough to the dishes in question and uploaded the thing to an online self-publisher for essentially zero budget.

    I thought, what takes a year and six figures when a New York publisher does it?

     

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