Authors Need Publishers Less than Ever

Authors Need Publishers Less than Ever

Caleb Mason in BookBusiness (8/1/16)

Let me preface this by saying I run a literary fiction micro-publisher operating much in the mold of how full-service traditional publishing has for years, although because my overheads are so low, I pay my authors 50% of print and 70% of ebook royalties, something I realize large publishers cannot do.

As self-publishing continues evolving, it strikes me that traditional publishers are losing one of our most important services for authors: bookstore distribution. The very distributors publishers have relied upon for years are hedging their bets (and expanding their revenues) by tapping into the self-publishing market. For example, both Ingram and BookBaby offer authors distribution to chain and independent bookstores. And the Espresso Book Network continues to expand a new retail solution for bookshops, libraries, and others. Not to mention the obvious: more and more consumers simply prefer buying print books and ebooks from Amazon.

More than just distribution, though, these new upstarts also offer the production tools needed to easily produce print books and ebooks. So there goes the production expertise competitive advantage of many publishers.

I realize many authors ardently support their publishers. I also know many are frustrated that their royalties are not higher, especially for ebooks. Traditional publishers and reviewers mostly dismiss self-published titles as “trash,” but what happens when established authors with large followings decide to go out on their own? Did you see this week that five of the top ten bestselling books sold by Apple come from self-publishing?

Read more here.

Airline buys 2,000 copies of self-published bedtime story for night flights

Stephen Holmes’s Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure, written for his young daughters, will now be given away to help children nod off

By in The Guardian (8/5/16)

A father who tried self-publishing the bedtime story he made up for his daughters has landed a surprise order of 2,000 copies from Virgin Atlantic to help children sleep on night flights.

Stephen Holmes, who works in data management, has been telling his daughters Madison and Ella a tale about two children who go on a magical balloon ride for years. Madison, who is now seven, finally convinced him to publish it earlier this year. They found an illustrator, Kev Payne, online, and Holmes ordered a print run of 1,000 copies of The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure, thinking he would sell the book to family and friends, and at local fairs and fetes.

Read the rest of the post here.

The Global Golden Age for Independent Publishers Has Begun

A number of years ago, I predicted the publishing and bookselling industries would follow a boutique model, with the large and small and little in between. Note: this also applies to other industries, in most part due to the digital age and today’s customer.

Book sales would be split between higher priced print books, for which the margin would be found, and low price digital books, which would provide the mass quantities. Bookstores would be split between the large chains with the budgets and economies of scale, and a wide range of independent bookstores that successfully built and became indispensable to their communities. Likewise, publishers would consist of the huge conglomerates with the advertising and bargaining power, and a vibrant independent publishing sector in touch and adaptive to the book buying community.

As the market is finally showing signs of growth after a different last five to 10 years with so much change and evolution required, the large publishers are fulfilling that prediction: the big six is now five, with more consolidation expected to come. I also think the largest publishers have rapidly improved in terms of their adaptability and innovation over the last year, but, in my view, the most exciting sector in publishing currently is the independent one.

We are seeing independent presses featured regularly on the prize listings. For instance, Salt Publishing is on the Man Booker longlist and No Exit Press made the CWA Awards. This pattern is even stronger with the less traditional prizes. For instance, my publishing company, Legend Press, followed up two titles shortlisted for the Bailey’s Prize last year with 10 titles longlisted this year for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are some strong underlying reasons why independent publishers are thriving.

Read the rest here.