Has a Book Become the New Business Card?

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With the advent of self-publishing, realizing the dream of writing a book has become a reality for more people.  Many guests on my nationally-syndicated radio show have been authors. I was fortunate to interview Sharon Lechter recently, and she brought up how a book has become the new business card.  Sharon, of course, is the co-author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and several best-selling books based on the recently re-energized Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich series.  Sharon is the ultimate example of a successful author.  Most authors do not have Napoleon Hill Foundation behind their work.  However, many have access to sites like Createspace and others to showcase their writing skills.

Years ago, Seth Godin, is a well-established author, made news when he decided to self-publish.  Godin had enough customer relationships that he no longer needed his publisher.  Publishers can offer a lot of advantages for a new author.  However, once an author is established and has identified their audience, they may not be as necessary. At that time, Godin told the Wall Street Journal, “Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books. What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.” The Internet offers a platform that has changed publishing forever.

The popularity of self-publishing is undeniable. The old definition of what qualifies as a book or being published has changed. Books can include fewer pages than in the past, and they can be downloadable e-books.  They open doors for speakers and consultants.  They offer international recognition.  More than 725,000 self-published works were registered in 2015.  “As the field of self-publishing matures, the quality of both content and format for many of these titles is becoming indistinguishable from those published by traditional houses,” said Beat Barblan, Direct of Identifier Services at Bowker. “In recent years, the number of independent authors topping prominent bestseller lists is a clear indication that readers are embracing author-published titles.”

Has this made a book become the new business card?  Andrew Medal believed it had, as he explained in his entrepreneur.com article Books are the New Business Card in 2015.  This question has become an even more intriguing since that time. Books are a marketing tool just as a business card has been in the past because it establishes expertise, sets you apart, opens doors, and brings in new business.  It also begs another question: If everyone has a book, how has that impacted the value of having one?

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