Some of the bigger guns in Social Media have taken a pit stop recently into the more traditional scene and published books on their areas of expertise. Chris Brogan and Julian Smith put out Trust Agents recently (my review of the book coming soon) and Gary Vaynerchuk just released Crush It (currently reading).
Both have gotten a bit of criticism for jumping into a traditional method of disseminating information (the hardcover book) when their ‘business’ is talking about online communities, business, and social media. Furthermore, both Chris and Gary give away an enormous amount of kick-ass information, action items, and insight through both their blogs, and in Chris’ case, much of the basic principles served as the foundation for Trust Agents.
So why did I buy (and why will I continue to buy) their books when I can get a lot of the same content for free, online? First it’s about saying Thank You. It’s the same reason I became a member of my local NPR station. They give away the content, but I find value in it, so I choose to support it. For another reason that made sense to me, I have to bring in Seth Godin. Below check the embed of a talk that he gave to book publishers about the different methods he uses to publish his books and how they were received.
The short of it is that guys like Seth, Gary, and Chris are a bit different since they’re not in the book business. They’re in the building relationship business, the speaking business and the building community business. They give talks, put out great info for free on their blogs, and create experiences. The books are souvenirs. Now, of course for people who aren’t familiar with their online work, the books are a gateway, a CD sampler, an appetizer. But for the rest of us….souvenirs.
It’s part of what Gary V. has called the “Thank You Economy.” and it’s something that I also think is here to stay. So, thanks Chris and Gary for the great content, the videos, the blogs, the interaction and the community.