How Google Saves Publishing: A Swarm of Google+ How-To Books

How to 'Dominate Your Industry' With Google+. Or Not.

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Google's social network is barely three months old, and the doors for brands have been open for just a few weeks. But that hasn't stopped dozens of self-proclaimed social media experts and their publishers from selling book-length takes on how it will revolutionize business as we know it such as "Google Plus Attack Plan" and even better, "Dominate Your Industry Tomorrow by Implementing Google Today."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that last title is going to over-promise and under-deliver. But, that 's par for the course in the burgeoning Google+ book oeuvre, and besides, reviewers seem to think its great! Five reviewers have already given it five full stars and glowing praise, though all were written in the same week and three have posted exactly one review on Amazon -- for this book.

Plus -one that
Plus -one that

I haven't yet sat down with any of these titles yet, but already the Google+ genre is setting itself apart with lengthy, search-engine teasing headlines and liberal helpings of exclamation points. Other titles include, "Google For Business | How You Can Build A Targeted Customer Base, Generate Mass Exposure And Maximize Your Profits Instantly With Google !" (hmm, another over-promise, I think) and "Google Plus Secrets: How Google's New Social Networking Platform Will Change the Way You Build Your Business."

A quick Amazon search will turn up a dozen or so more of these Google+ guidebooks (a mix of print and Kindle-only) that promise to bring you vast riches by mastering the platform. And there are no doubt many, many more to come, like the notable Chris Brogan's Google for Business: How Google's Social Network Changes Everything," sporting a January 2012 release.

This is nothing new, of course, as each new medium brings with it a group of professionals who lay claim to the territory. The case of the 'social media expert,' specifically, has been covered ad nauseam, so I won't belabor the issue any further (other than noting the words "social media" in my own title have never been followed by "expert." Strategist, manager, specialist, blogger, perpetual student, maybe, but never expert.)

I don't know how anyone can claim expertise in something that 's existed but a scant 5 months, forget the fact that the brand pages – Google+'s official business offering – only debuted earlier this month.

Not that this needs to be said, but if you really want to learn about a new platform or medium, my 'non-expert' suggestion would be to USE IT! If you want to do your homework and read up on it - I applaud your diligence and will happily direct you to something called Google, which will in turn take you any tech blog on the planet, where you would probably find more helpful coverage, most likely available for free.

Indeed, I suspect that if you really want to learn about Google+, the time spent reading any of these books would be better spent actually using Google+. But, it appears some folks are learning this the hard way. Here's a comment from Amazon reviewer, R. Welke "rwelke" from Atlanta, Georgia on Diana Sturm's "How to Use Google+: An Easy Step-by -Step Guide to Google+ Features," posted on August 14th, 2011:

1.0 out of 5 stars Rip-off -- don't buy!

This "book" is a complete rip-off. Each "chapter" consists of about 1 to 2 pages of large-font text. Nothing here you can't find with a basic search on the Internet. Don't waste your money (as I did). Also, I should add that all of the others so-called publications on Amazon on Google-Plus as of August 15, 2011 are also ten-page rip-offs. Apparently Amazon does no policing of the Kindle publications it offers regarding basic content, so buyer beware! If it doesn't have a TOC with page numbers and/or a total pages summary, you can assume it's under 10 pages or so and all the author is doing is trying to steal you money. Amazon simply aids and abets this process.

"1 of 1 people" found that review helpful, which probably tells you what you need to know about books written about Google+.

David Teicher is Ad Age 's social media and event content manager. Follow him on Twitter @Aerocles.
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