Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trump Exposes Lack of Book Publishing Leadership

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or political atheist, but when someone like Donald Trump enters the presidential race – along with about 20 other unelectable – you suddenly pay attention.  Though comedians like Jon Stewart love Trump for professional reasons, more than 90% of the electorate couldn’t cast a vote for Commander in Bluster.  But there’s something about his swagger, his look of confidence and passion in his voice that you simply can’t turn away when he comes on television.  As a book promoter, I idolize him.  He’s everything someone should emulate when it comes to his ability to grab the spotlight.  As for a politician, well, if you like to sip Tea Party Kool-Aid, he’s a poster boy, but he’s not my cup of tea.

Trump knows he can’t win the Oval Office.  He’s never won an elected office anywhere and never held a politically appointed position.  His resume as a businessman is questionable when you look at his bankruptcies alongside his skyscrapers.  His personal life is fodder for the National Enquirer, TMZ, and People magazine.  His political views are uninformed and his solutions are not practical.  But he roars like a lion and acts as if he’s already holding the position he’s running for.

He wouldn’t really want to be president.  Then he’d be held accountable.  His soundbites sound tough and engaging, but governing is more than ridiculing someone publicly.  He also couldn’t afford to be a public servant.  He wants to run his real estate reality show empire and not get sidetracked dealing with issues he can’t fix.  The billionaire-as-politician worked with Michael Bloomberg as three-time mayor in New York, but Trump would fail at running a school PTA.

Still, Trump knows how to negotiate, to make deals, and to bully others into submission.  He knows how to challenge others and to rally crowds to his side.  He has a way of making an unsubstantiated claim and giving it relevancy.  He’s an unrivaled force.

Trump, who puts his name on books the way he does buildings, should work for the Dept. of Commerce or whichever agency makes trade deals.  Let him go out and make America great again.  I just hope he doesn’t start a war in the process.

The book industry needs a branding genius like Trump.  He simply thrusts himself into the spotlight and despite years of outrageous claims, wrong predictions, and failed businesses, he manages to waltz around as if he’s already president.  The guy's a natural leader.  No one is leading book publishing now.  Name a single person that you identify with the book world now. Maybe it’s an author like EL James or JK Rowling, but they are just popular authors.  Is it a leading publishing executive?  Name him or her.  No one comes to mind. Amazon, a faceless monstrosity, runs the industry from a computer, with no one to take accountability or give direction.

The leading forces in the industry are not people, but companies.  Amazon, B&N, Penguin Random, and social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  But who is behind any of them – and how outspoken are they about books and publishing?  Why is that?

When an industry is dehumanized and is no longer made up of strong voices – with ideas, opinions, and experienced insights – the industry becomes just another automated commoditized business.  How ironic that an industry filled with a product that expresses views, history, visions, and emotions can’t seem to find an individual to be its ambassador, to be its champion.

If someone like Trump existed in the book publishing industry the landscape would look dramatically different.  The industry desperately needs a lively character to promulgate a vision and to cheer-lead.  Book publishing shouldn’t be left in the quiet darkness, run by a handful of multi-national conglomerates that treat books like any other product.

Books are truly special and need to be promoted and talked about in a way that makes people pay attention.  Trump, when the presidential run flops, give me a call.  I have a job for you.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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