Why Does "Publishing A Book" Seem To Be The Only Avenue To Credibility?

In a day and age where more content is generated in a minute on Facebook than a year virtually a decade ago, I see publishing a book as tired mediocre into the foray of 'perceived credibility'. Much like the psychological phenomena of 'social proof,' it seems that you're only invited to the big-boy table if you cranked out a few boxes of books.

While I think books (in whatever form ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, audio, presentation and of course the printed word) are indeed the lifeblood of education. I'm not here to burn books. This post steams from the social perception that one person is greater than another from having been published.

The long story: A very good friend of mine got bumped from a keynote address by an author of his first book. The presentation was horrible and the seminar MC came back and said to my peer "I'm sorry we've heard you speak before and you were great, but since he had written a book we assumed he would be amazing." Well joy.

I could write one as you're all aware, but I have a few fundamental frustrations:

  • Content in my disciplines is so time sensitive, I can see how someone would open the cover and see ©copyright 2009 and think, "Oh my God you can't be serious?"
  • I don't want to be the opening band telling everyone if you liked what you heard I'm going to run off stage and be selling t-shirts and CD's in the back by the pool tables.
  • I'm so indecisive that I feel if I couldn't write a whole book (or God forbid series of books) on one minutia of the 10k things I do in a day. I of course I will then lose "authenticity." Meh.
  • I'm not looking for a way to stroke my ego anymore than communicating with people about design and all that is transmedia.
  • Who the hell has time to sit down and read a book these days? We live societally in micro-bursts. This is why eBooks, pod/vod casting, LMS software and other practices are so exciting.
  • Book = credibility? This frustrates me.

There are a lot of appealing transitional measures I think might be beneficial for me such as:

  • Podcasting/vodcasting
  • eBooks, especially tablet based, as I would want to exploit the ability to link to various media
  • Webinars and speaking engagements

For those seeking to publish however we've never been in a more robust electronic world. With endless ways of self-publication and the ability to extend the life-force of your printed book with digital social communication with readers.

This is a hot button for me as it seems that is a requirement. I want your feedback. What's the future for the publishing industry as it seems everyone has a blog, and the content sphere gets grayer and grayer. It's hard to say – I'm still buying books. And in the same hypocritical breath maybe I still will publish a physical book(s). I just don't want to be FORCED to given the time sensitivity to most of my content. Sigh, I just don't know.

I cannot be the only person stuck at the edge of this conundrum wondering if I should invest the next few months pontificating or interviewing experts on subjects.

Have you written, are in the process or thinking about writing a book? I'd love to hear more about your experiences. Please share this article with your favorite social network below!