Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

07/05/2011

Can the Average Writer Aptly Be Both Publisher and Author?


Are estributors the future of publishing?

With the newfound, direct-to-readers, publishing freedom afforded  by techy toys … writers can now become their own publishers … BUT, with a big caveat: they must assume all the peripheral business details of a one-person publishing house!

Learning and becoming proficient in all aspects of the business side of writing will be very appealing to some (I’m one), but not so appealing to others who will not want to take the time away from their writing to accomplish the new time-consuming responsibilities.

Not to worry. A new niche is developing in the ebook/digital world that will essentially handle all the non-writing details of self-publishing such as cover design, editing, advertising, marketing, etc, etc, etc.

This new niche is being called ‘estributors’ by J. A. Konrath (the king of self-publishing) and is supposedly his ‘brainchild’ … Actually, he was the first to “idea-lize” verbally this sure to come e-world concept … an idea whose time had definitely come and is simply borrowed from legacy publishing.

These details from The Next Web (dot com) by Alex Wilhelm:

By now it is common knowledge that ebooks comprise an ever-growing slice of the book market, and are quite likely to become the dominant book format in the next quarter century. Quick, simple distribution, ease of sale and purchase, and the ability for extensive continuing revision make ebooks a format that is a winner for both publishers and readers alike.

But  there is a disturbance in the book market’s dynamics. Authors have realized that the advantages of ebook publishing, in many cases, allow them to bypass their old publishers and strike out on their own, taking a much larger cut of the profits along the way. After all, if you can make more money, why not?

But despite the lure of increased royalties per copy, can the average writer competently execute the roles of both publisher and author?

It’s an interesting question, as the market forces that have allowed authors to effectively self-publish and keep a larger portion of their sales have also made it simpler for any individual to leverage sufficient resources to become a one-person publishing house. The Internet allows for authors to find, and collaborate, with excellent editors, artists, and formatting specialists to create a truly professional-grade book in both print and digital formats.

But is that for everyone? Will all authors want to take on that massive workload that they had previously passed of to their publishers? Many will, the money is simply that much better. How much better? Imagine your cut of a book sale going from 15% to 70%. It’s a revolutionary change. But not all authors are going to want to take time that they had previously spent writing and run their own personal publishing outfit. After all, every moment spent haggling with an artist over cover art is a moment spent not writing.

Then again, no savvy author wants to simply continue giving nearly all the revenue from their work to a company who they could likely replace, at least in most respects. Want proof? J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, is setting out on her own.

So for the author who doesn’t want to lose the support of a publisher, but wants a bigger cut, something that traditional publishing houses can’t afford, is there a middle-of-the-road option for them? As it turns out, not currently, but that seems to be about to change.

Enter the concept of estributors, the brainchild of J.A. Konrath, ironically one of the largest and most famous proponents of author’s striking out from their publishers and going it alone.

What is an estributor? We’ll start with Konrath’s explanation of the idea:

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04/04/2011

Exactly What is E-Book Distribution?


E-Book Distribution?

Many may already know the answer to this question…but, don’t realize they know the answer. So we are going to put things into focus with this post.

I was reading a piece about the coming launch of a new, and first, e-book distribution company in Brazil. Seems they are a few years behind us in this endeavor. Anyway, the news piece raised some questions in my mind as well as giving me an insight into how publishing companies think through establishing new formats and business models to keep up with the changing technology in publishing.  

Six big Brazilian publishers: Objetiva (partially owned by Santillana), Record, Sextante, Rocco, Planeta and L&PM — teamed up to launch an e-book distribution company called Distribuidora de Livros Digitais (DLD)…Which simply means Distributor of Digital Books in English.

The main question that flew into my mind while digesting this news was: ‘Hey, what the hell is involved in digital distribution?’ There’s no old- fashioned shipping and placing physical books in various, geographically separated bookstores and other outlets through contacts and contracts, etc…All that is involved is uploading your digital book for download to buyers, right?

Well, there is a little more involved, but not much. For instance, these e-book distributors must develop a platform to protect your e-book from piracy downloads, etc.

Go Publish Yourself gives a good initial definition of e-book distribution.

Now, just who are the e-book distributors in the good old U.S.A.? Anybody know off-hand? Again…many may already know the answer to this question…but, don’t realize they know the answer.

Author Wallace Wang, whose site’s mission is ‘meant to help potential authors understand how to self-publish, market, and ultimately profit from their books while avoiding traditional book publishers, stores, and distributors altogether’, has the answer…PLUS additional information and resources. 

Onward to the news article in Publishing Perspectives by Carlo Carrenho that churned all this in my mind (including an interview with Roberto Feith, Objetiva’s CEO and Chairman of DLD’s board):

Brazil’s DLD E-book Distribution Platform Opens For Business

A year after six Brazilian publishers launched the DLD e-book distribution platform, it opens for business today.
 
In March 2010, six Brazilian publishers –- Objetiva (partially owned by Santillana), Record, Sextante, Rocco, Planeta and L&PM — teamed up to launch an e-book distribution company called Distribuidora de Livros Digitais (DLD). The business model has several similarities with that of Libranda , in Spain –- though it’s a distinctly Brazilian enterprise. The company officially launched in August under the leadership of CEO Roberto Vaz Moreira. Since then the team has been working hard, albeit discretely, to launch the platform.

Still, it’s not uncommon in Brazilian publishing circles to hear the suggestion that DLD is little more than a good idea, one that is likely to remain vaporware…

In this exclusive interview, originally published in Portuguese at PublishNews, Roberto Feith, CEO of Objetiva and DLD’s chairman, openly reveals the actual plans, expectations and launch schedule of the new e-book distributor.

Please note that, at present, Brazil lags some three or four years behind the US in terms of digital development. Currently Xeriph is the only function e-book aggregator in Brazil, and Singular Digital is finding its way to becoming digital distribution hub for publishers. DLD, when it launches, will probably compete with both companies.

PublishNews Brazil: When will DLD launch its operation?

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