Sunday, 29 April 2012


Publishing Horizons: An Overview of Independent Publishing in the Netherlands


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Mijnbestseller (My Bestseller) could be called the Dutch Lulu, with no upfront costs and 50% profits, and with a Lulu-like user dashboard, community and book reviews are at the forefront of Mijnbestseller’s program. What is striking on their main webpage is the request for book reviewers as much as authors looking to circumvent the traditional channels of publisher. That’s not a strategy I find with any author solutions services, even the community orientated companies like Lulu and CreateSpace who offer DIY publishing services.

Mijnbestseller.nl is an initiative of Paul van Bekkum, former director of the Eindhoven Dagblad, and Robert Bosma, a former line manager at Wegener. "The book world is on the verge of a revolution," says van Bekkum. "Printing on demand makes it possible for anyone to publish a book, search engines and social media make sure that the book can be found and sold."

Mijnbestseller is at a very early stage of its evolution, but where many other services use social networking as a tool, Mijnbestseller is using it as a fundamental part of the development strategy. Much in the way that we are seeing the big publishers launch digital platforms – be it for their own self-publishing imprints, or as a marketing strategy to allow authors to connect (re-connect) with readers.

I liked this from their ‘About Us’ page. Clearly, like Lulu and CreateSpace, Mijnbestseller know their community of authors will be their book buying customers as well. I don’t necessarily mean an author buying their own books, but rather the biggest buying sector for self-published books is often the author or readers who are also authors within the same online social network. Many self-published authors will cringe at that admission, but they should not. This is what co-operative business was built on over many hundreds of years, and it is why global trade as we know it today flourishes. Every business solicits and uses other companies’ services – and that reality is the cornerstone of the self-publishing community. The philosophy – every writer starts out as a reader, and many readers end up wanting tom write. The mistake we are making is to behave as a hierarchy in the culture of literature – saying; this is where the writer’s journey ends, and this is where the reader’s journey begins.

For every book there is a market, even though the market is a buyer
Your book sales are made with the sophisticated marketing capabilities of my bestseller. You get your own shop, you can tie your fans, write blogs. We make widgets for you that you press a button on your social community sites like MySpace and Facebook, can post. Send press releases done in a jiffy, you can order your personalized promotional items, send newsletters. The right online audience reach, including niche sites related to the topic of your book, do through our affiliate marketing module.

You will excuse the less than perfect translation of the above extracts as I am using Google Translation. But you can get the gist of what is being conveyed by Mijnbestseller.

Another growing online print and self-publishing solution in the Netherlands is Pumbo. Again, it seems to be modelled on services like Lulu, Cafepress and Unibooks. A brief look at Pumbo suggests to me that the profits for the author solutions provider are loaded heavily into the price of books to the author. A 125 page standard paperback coming in at a whopping €17+ with the equivalent ebook edition priced at €12+! There is also a delivery charge to add on depending on the amount of units ordered.

According to a piece in Publishing Perspectives last year on the independent publishing scene:

“Roughly, the publishing landscape in the Netherlands consists of three categories.
First, there are the large conglomerates: Veen Bosch & Keuning (VBK), Weekblad Pers Groep (WPG), Standaard and Lannoo, among others. They each own a variety of publishing houses that operate relatively independently and are often located in different buildings. These firms can’t really be called “imprints,” but they do ultimately report back to the CEO of the group. Second, there are a dozen or so independent publishers who operate professionally within mainstream trade publishing. The third group consists of hundreds of very small publishers who often specialize in narrow subjects and don’t use traditional distribution networks.”

Overall, I don’t think the Netherlands is structured any differently than most countries with a developed published industry. You are going to find a three-tier level in the publishing world everywhere. Having said that, the final point above about ‘the third group’ is very true of the Netherlands and perhaps exaggerated. A browse through any bookshop will reveal translated editions of the mainstay bestsellers in the English language published by the large Dutch houses, but you will also find a vast array of much smaller presses, particularly in the independent bookshops and a myriad of non-fiction from general subjects to niche and specialised. What is also noticeable is that the Dutch are big into gift and pocket books on every conceivable subject and the theme of humour and national flagellation is never too far away on a bookshelf.

There is a great deal of shift at the moment in publishing in the Netherlands, publishers have merged or gone by the wayside like PCM, but the gap between the large publishing houses like WPG, AW Bruna, Lannoo, VBK and Standaard, and the independent publishers – big and small – is nowhere as big a gulf as we find in the USA, or even for that matter in the UK.

Individual identity has always been a strong aspect of Dutch culture, and this is no different in the publishing world. Up until a few years ago, there were only two major book distributors in the Netherlands, and with so many small presses, many of them don’t follow the traditional lines of distribution in the trade, preferring to deal directly with bookshops under their own steam, using their own sales resources in-house. In the UK, it has almost become vogue for distributors to represent a particular clientele of publishers, depending on genre, or location. If supermarkets in the Netherlands are a reflection of product accessibility, a visit into many outlets will reveal food is close to the heart of the Dutch spirit, and locally sourced fresh produce competes well with national and international brands. I think this is something which explains why so many small and diverse presses survive in the Netherlands.

The truth is, in spite of its colonial history, the Dutch don't do hierarchy – and no more so in business than socially. The Dutch mind-set is not altogether different to Ireland - staunchly strong on family and community - steeped in a history of culture and an attitude that anything can be achieved no matter what the adversity. If we differ in Ireland - it's because we love to feast on adversity and the bad weather and it creates a poetic and spiritual solace, rather than an ability to always move forward and turn what we hold dear into triumph. In the Netherlands, there is no fear of a lack of attachment or going it alone – no matter how small or great the aspiration.

Digital publishing is only just entering it’s infancy in the Netherlands, and it remains the single area holding back independent publishers and self-published authors. A recent survey and report on the future of publishing undertaken by Price Waterhouse & Coopers, reveals a great deal about how far behind the Netherlands is in digital and ebook growth.

The figures provided don’t come even come close to the US or UK market in ratio per populous, and the figures also reflect a degree of indifference to ebooks at the moment. Like Ireland, also in ebook infancy, the Sony ereader is the lead device. The Kindle device has only recently become available over the counter in Ireland and that is about to change dramatically in the next twelve months. Ebook uptake in the Netherlands reflects some of the lowest figures in Europe and that is indicative not of a less open culture to digitalisation, but of a culture – while liberal in ethos – is still reliant on a European influenced traditional sense of a ‘market’ community. Ask anyone staying in Amsterdam for a holiday, and they will reflect that the heart of the capital is still driven by paper tender as a preference to its electronic cousin. It’s just in the blood and culture.

That’s both good and bad news for independent and self-publishers in the Netherlands. The secret is how the publishing and retail environments will be best harnessed and developed.





ShopMyBook (Unibook) - Reviewed (Updated, May 2012)


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We previously reviewed Unibook here on TIPM. This publishing service has since changed its trading name to ShopMyBook. The company is owned by Peleman Industries, a manufacturer of binding, laminating and presentation products for nearly seventy years. Unibook, formerly known as WWAOW, have offices in Europe (Belgium) as well as the USA (Georgia). ShopMyBook aims its business and services at self-publishing authors as well as the corporate and government sectors.

The website has plenty of information but it can take a while to find and extract what is needed.

ShopMyBook list authors' books by bestsellers and new releases linked on the main web page and have an online bookstore prominently displayed.


Did you write a book? And would you like to publish your book? Well, in that case ShopMyBook is definitely something for you. We publish your work for free and you only have to pay for the books you actually buy.
With our easy-to-use book publishing wizard you can upload your book and generate your book cover. So you only have to care about writing. In the meantime we will print, bind and ship your book worldwide.
Or perhaps you would like to make your own unique AgendaBook, MeetingBook, CookBook or PhotoBook? Feel free to create any book you like.

ShopMyBook operate services pretty much along the lines of Lulu, Bubok and Blurb, featuring a ‘Publication Wizard’ for self-publishing authors to load-up their book files. The wizard will accept the book file as a PDF or doc file, but ShopMyBook suggest the PDF option is the preferred format to alleviate any glitches which can result in the online conversion of files. There are five book formatting sizes offered, 8.27 x 11.7 inch, 8.5 x 11 inch, 5.83 x 8.27 inch, 6.00 x 9.00 inch and the largest size, 21cm x 21cm. Authors can separately upload their own covers or design one from available templates on the ShopMyBook site. The cover design wizard no where near as sophisticated as Lulu’s or Blurb’s, so I would suggest serious authors look at designing their own for upload or using a separate service for this. Certainly, this should be something to give careful thought to if an author is looking to sell copies of their book into local bookstores. Books can be uploaded as a private project, to be changed later with a code, or set for ‘worldwide’ availability on through the online bookstore. It is important to note that ShopMyBook do not provide book distribution or listing to other online sellers.

The set-up of books is free but authors should be aware that an ISBN is provided as part of an additional service at $22.99, but not purchse is not mandatory. A downloadable publishing guide is also available on the site.

Authors using  ShopMyBook should be aware of the importance of an ISBN. If you want your book to be taken seriously by the trade and properly distributed and sold with an EAN barcode at point of sale outlets, then an ISBN is essential. While selling self-published books—even small-scale publication—some online retailers may not even list books without an ISBN or EAN barcode. In reality, ShopMyBook is closer to Blurb, and perhaps quite a number of steps behind them at the moment. Certainly ShopMyBook is not on the same playing field as Lulu or Createspace.

This takes us to pricing of the books and royalties. You can set your royalty at anything between 0 – 200% on top of the costs but ShopMyBook is not entirely transparent about the breakdown of print costs, mark ups and the final retail price. An online calculator is provided which tells us that the average 220pp black and white, full colour cover, paperback, size 6 x 9 will retail at $15.60 based on just a 20% royalty for the author ($2.60). Now taking it that the retail price is already by my reckoning about $2 - $2.50 over the competitive marker, you really are not going to be able to push that 20% royalty much higher unless you feel the content of your book genuinely warrants it. A degree more transparency is required here. Remember, you are only getting this book sold in their online bookstore and bulk discounts as shown below are pretty awful below 100 units, from 5-13%!! From experience the sample book would cost Lightning Source about $4 to print. So who is getting the balance after the author’s $2.60 royalty? No wholesaler or retailer involved, only ShopMyBook who print the book!

Calculate the price of my book



%

Black & WhiteColor
PaperbackHardcoverPaperbackHardcover
Selling Price$ 15.60$ 18.32$ 54.00$ 56.72
Royalties$ 2.60$ 3.05$ 9.00$ 9.45

Volume discount

FromUp untilReduction (%)
10245 %
25498 %
507410 %
759913 %
100100015 %


For self-publishing authors, there are a myriad of other details to be taken care of, no less the sales and marketing of the book, also library cataloguing and registration if required, legal copyright deposit, press releases etc. None of this is included here, and while the set up is free, the profits and return for the author is extremely low.

ShopMyBook were around as Unibook and previously WWAOW for years but the company is still not at the races for self-published authors. There are some things in place like the Publishing Wizard, but ShopMyBook is trailing way behind the competition, if that is what they are aspire to, and perhaps for that matter, even Wordclay. If SMB is content to supply a straight forward print service for college students looking for a printed thesis or a company looking for an in-house manual or trade booklet, then that's what you get - fair and simple.


RATING: 5/10
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Friday, 27 April 2012


Fast-print.net at LBF 2012 | Printers Are Not Publishing Services


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A few years ago TIPM did do a full review of Fast-print.net (owned by PrintonDemand Worldwide)and I later withdrew the review from the magazine for reasons explained here. So it was interesting when I learned a few months ago PrintonDemand would be a primary sponsor of the event. I should add that the PrintonDemand booth was an entirely separate stand in the main hall of Earls Court. Fast-print.net had a very prominent presence in the Author Zone at Earls Court for the three days of LBF 2012 with seminars most mornings and afternoons.

The above video feature is Simon Potter from Fast-print.net giving one of the seminars on Tuesday 17th of April. Most of the seminars followed the same pattern over the three days with Potter showcasing Fast-print.net with a later cover design session in the afternoon. I'm uncomfortable with a number of perceptions about self-publishing presented here by Potter and Fast-print. Firstly, Fast-print is one of a number of digital printers operating in the UK - and there are many in the USA and other countries - presenting what they do as a 'complete solution' for authors looking to self-publish a book

 Sure, I don't for a minute question the print product Fast-print can turn around for an author, but Fast-print - at their seminars and on their website - far too often present what they do for an author in almost childlike terms and ridicule the traditional publishing industry. I've actually no problem with someone, or a company, taking the industry to task as to how it operates. I do it month-in month-out here on these pages. I do it because I actually care about the industry and how publishers need to change and treat their authors better. I do it because authors looking to self-published a book need to understand what is entailed in the whole process, and the process of printing and using print materials as part of a marketing plan in part and parcel of that.

Printing a book alone is not the means to publication and success as a writer. In essence - Fast-print - is only a part of the overall management of a book project, and as with this company, the answer to what you get is in the name of the company.

Simon Potter talks a good salesman's delivery in the video above, but his seminar for self-published authors is typical of so many printers turned 'self-publishing services' for authors. I'll emphasize this point once again for those new to TIPM. POD (Print on Demand) is a wonderful print and order technology for authors and publishers who don't want to indulge in any upfront print costs with a built in drop and ship mechanism, but often it is not the option a serious author or small press should ever consider.

Despite the changes in the book industry and the rise of ebooks, print remains the dominate format of sales. Authors or publishers have to deliver stocks of physical books to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and at the outset - physical copies for review, promotion, author signings and interviews. The POD print model is utterly adverse to book returns and the truth is that booksellers will not even entertain stocking titles listed on their databases as POD. If a printer is uploading their data through Lightning Source (via Ingram) and Nielsen Bookdata and submitting your book to National libraries - that's great, but it isn't selling a single book or placing books on shelves. That's called listing and availability. Book distributors and their reps sell books, though many authors do choose to use online marketing to sell their books or incorporate upload of their book to Kindle or platforms like Smashwords. I doubt if a single person at Fast-print has ever worked in a publishing work environment, and that is the case for most printers presenting themselves online as self-publishing solutions. This is like turning up at your favourite restaurant and asking the waiter to cook your meal!
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Thursday, 26 April 2012


Independent Publishing: The Game Has Changed But The Values Have Not


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About five years ago I was asked to give an address to a writers' workshop in the west of Ireland about my experiences as an author and the world of self-publishing. I'd self-published five books at that stage through my own imprint and Facebook was an incidental college social experiment by the boy Zukerberg. A Twitter was someone who insisted on behaving like a twat in public. Sure, print on demand (POD) was beginning to build up some steam and former vanity publishers were scratching their heads and wondering how they could make a quick buck with this new phase of order and print technology. In many ways 2005 was the real start of the POD gold rush, where vanity and new reputable print and author solutions services expanded or diversified their businesses.

Likewise, in 2005, I was separated and I relocated and found myself with a great deal more time on my hands after a hiatus of not writing for a few years. I was thinking of diving back into the publishing submission world again, but with my eye on the development and rejuvenation of self-publishing, I was also taking stock of where authors belonged in the overall industry. In many ways, 2005 was the beginning of the last growth spike for publishers leading to 2008. There still seemed a little wriggle room for new and serious authors willing to toe the legacy line and bide their time while they submitted to agents and publishers. It wasn't that I had given up on publishing or publishers, but I had given up on the process that surrounded how it was being executed. I hadn't given up hope, rather, belief in the prescribed methods to publication. There is no book I have ever self-published that did not benefit from the myriad rounds of submission to agents and publishers, and did not benefit from their professional input and advice. In fact if I am honest, had I never exposed my writing to potential readers and the publishing industry, I don't think I would ever have self-published. My manuscripts would have found their way to dark and forgotten drawers as far back as 1990 had I not undertaken the submission path.

When I did my talk in the west of Ireland at that writers' workshop - understandably - much of the conversation did focus around the traditional industry and the frustration authors felt with it. Self-publishing as a option for authors remained a 'marginal' option, and back then tutors taught how the industry worked and the art of writing, and not how it really was and what alternatives authors had. Things have changed a lot since then. At that time, writers expressed a great deal of frustration and the focus always seemed to be about what publishers were not doing rather than what writers were doing. Every writer - published and unpublished - had a story of how they felt the industry wasn't working for them and how it had not met their expectations.

By 2008, I stopped appearing at writers' workshops because I felt worn out hearing the same arguments. I returned to self-publishing and discovered a very changed world for writers. I eventually self-published in 2008 and the early incarnation of The Independent Publishing Magazine was a place to record my self-publishing experiences. I'd spent years researching the area and felt my own experiences could help other authors. The Independent Publishing Magazine over the years has become a great resource for authors - whether an author is considering self-publishing or not. I remain a strong advocate for publishers like Macmillan, Faber, Canongate and Penguin.

My last novel was published by an Irish commercial publisher last year and much of the last six to nine months of my time has been focused on marketing the book rather than attending writers' workshops. So, it has been a while since I attended a writer meet-up, and despite the fact that as a publishing consultant I speak with publishers and authors services every day, the one thing that struck me from meeting authors attending a meet-up of the Alliance of Independent Authors for the Dublin launch is the shift in focus in what authors want to do with their work once it is written.

The vast majority of discussion on the launch night was not about the industry but, instead, where authors feel they rightfully belong in it and what they can do best to achieve publication for their books. In other words, authors are no longer turning up at literary events to castigate the industry. They want to take their place within it with whatever efforts they can muster to write a good book and reach their readers.

It only makes me more assured that the industry needs to be about helping to evolve a healthy community of authors and readers, rather than focusing its primary relationship with the retailer. Here's the beef. Authors  have the experience of soliciting the interest of publishers through agents or directly to a publisher's editor, but now believe publishers only true customer and client is the book retailer. It clearly is not the case in all circumstances, but it remains the perception of authors published or self-published trying to engage with the industry.

What was paramount in the minds of almost all the authors at the launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors was how they go about marketing and branding once the big boys are not involved. This is the biggest challenge self-published authors have and it now appears the area where they often feel least adequate in. Lack of marketing is one big reason why most books released by author solutions services can't compete with a commercial publisher. The truth is that many author solutions services primary goal is to sell services and not books. But importantly, marketing is the area many self-published authors do the least work in - even knowing that commercial marketing and proper store distribution is what sells most books.

In short, self-publishing is about harnessing an online presence and the ability to grow that presence and ultimately make it a brand for you and your book.

Circumventing what publishers once provided is not an excuse for a poorly self-published book, nor is it an absolution from what needs to be done to write and publish a book of quality!

    
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Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Pottermore Is No Template For Independent Authors


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Jon Evans wrote an interesting piece on TechCrunch this week entitled –Voldemortis Got Nothing On Jeff Bezos. In the article, Evan’s argues that authors – certainly big name authors like J. K. Rowling – have both wealth and resources to circumvent the ‘Big 6’ and Amazon to reach readers. More to the point, wealth and resources bring with it professional editing and design and without the trappings of DRM and any other ‘necessary evils’ the monoliths bring.

"The Big Six may be doomed, but now that Amazon has broken the seal on external sites selling DRM-free Kindle e-books, that DRM-laden monoculture will go down with them. Meaning that finally, after years of thrashing, readers will finally get what they have wanted all along: DRM-free e-books sold by Amazon and anyone else who wants to sell them. Three cheers for Harry Potter, and a billion points to Gryffindor."


I take the sentiment that Jon wrote this article with – that we are in a new free world of publishing without just one defined channel of pursuit for authors on the publishing road. Rowling’s Pottermore is an example of one author, partly responsible for a phenomenal worldwide branding (Harry Potter), and that author seizing rights control of one aspect of the branding (ebook and distribution).But this is no more about Rowling rejecting ‘legacy publishers’, but, instead, Rowling seizing back control of a small part of a runaway brand. A brand, I might add, the writer has drawn a line under by turning to a different genre.  This is not about Pele taking the ball home and refusing to play in the World Cup. There are only a handful of authors on this planet who would have dared to make the commercial and marketing decision Rowling (and her team) made with the launch of Pottermore.

Actually, there is nothing new or groundbreaking about Pottermore.  It’s been the foundation of independent authors’ online presence since the late 1990’s, and I’m sure there are a few reading this who will happily point me in the direction of earlier authors online with their own ‘Pottermores’, places where readers could visit, engage with the author and their characters, and purchase books. The formula of an author website to create your book branding is nothing new at all, but fundamentally, here is where I think Evan’s article gets blown out of the water.  Almost all authors are not Rowling’s, and no matter how hard they try to develop their brand on their own website – Amazon’s Kindle program, review system, marketplace and author pages has more than most authors will ever have the ability, network reach or time to put in place. And of course Amazon are not the only kid on the block with availability to wider reader sellers offered by Smashwords.

There is of course the more pertinent issue in this whole argument of democratising the world of publishing. Many authors who enter the world of self-publishing are not interested in becoming the next John Locke, Joe Konrath, J.K. Rowling, Hockling, et all. Authors write through passion and not profit, and most, even the self-published authors, don’t want to be publishers or ‘stars’, they just want to write and connect with their community of readers however small.  It’s a fundamental point publishers are only now starting to get to grips with following the ebook revolution. The fluidity and flexibility of small presses has proved that we are in an industry where small is sometimes better. To coin a crude analogy, it’s harder to turn the Titanic around when you are faced with icebergs than if you are in a smaller boat.

You can turn the boat around safely as a large publisher or do it abruptly likeHarperCollins. Authonomy was a crude and early attempt to deal with in-house resources and marry it together with a publisher embracing an author community. At best, it presented HarperCollins editors with a hands-off window on new writing talent, and at its worst, resulted in Harper Collins telling submitting authors to go away and ‘play in the childrens’ room in the corner like good little boys and girls and try not to squabble too much amongst yourselves.’

Penguin learned a little from the experience of HarperCollins as well as Hay House and Thomas Nelson, and instead chose to develop Book Country in-house. The jury is still out on this one but it is a more thoroughly developed platform than any before it.

Faber in the UK has always been a shrewder publisher and maintains its focus and traditions on writing skills, services to other smaller independents with Faber Factory, rather than indulging in direct self-publishing services.

I still have some hope that the remaining few mavericks within the ‘big 6’ will see sense – that they will stop fighting change and they will stop fighting booksellers like they are First World War troops in the trenches, and realise they long handed over the family keys years ago. They are scorning and treating intuitions of the community like libraries as if they had no worth. This was what the ‘academia’ the print and publishing industry built themselves on the backs of. I’ve given up arguing with them. Those who want to change, survive and re-embrace the readers will eventually survive. The rest – if they don’t – never deserved to.

Here is the future. It’s like Pottermore, but it isn’t. Sure, the ‘big 6’ will always look after the authors who deliver the most revenue. Their current model doesn’t fit most author’s sales or aspirations. The Pottermore model will only work if authors band together by philosophy or genre in the spirit of a workshop. My best guess is this is where true independent publishing is headed. Academies and workshops runs by a co-op of authors, designers, editors and agents – far better connected with their communities – may be where the new future of publishing is headed.  

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Sunday, 22 April 2012


LBF 2012 Review: Shiny, Happy, Publishing People | Radio Litopia


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From Radio Litopia following this year's London Book Fair, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, and Orna Ross, founder of The Alliance of Independent Authors. You can here the audio on the Litopia  link below.

"Seems like hard-times for all. But as the Creative Penn’s Joanna Penn, told us, this is a fantastic time for writers: particularly those authors who are happy doing it by themselves. Or perhaps to themselves.
Despite fears that this Amazon-sponsored drink might soon turn sour: the self-publishing Kool-Aid show no signs of running out. There was never a better time for the launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors, explained its founder Orna Ross, or a better place for that launch than the London Book Fair. Ouch!"


Friday, 20 April 2012


LBF 2012 - Launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors


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Joanna Penn at the launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors at LBF 2012, with a short interview with its founder Orna Ross.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


LBF 2012 - The Independent Publishing Magazine | Sights & Sounds


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London Book Fair 2012 | Summary


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I'm just back from the London Book Fair this evening. What an extraordinary presence from new digital companies in the Digital Zone. I think the most significant piece of data is still to come over the following weeks when LBF announce who was at the book fair. From my perceptive, this was a 'trade show' when many authors decided to attended, where once the idea of attendance by authors was accepted but considered 'awkward' unless there was an agreed 'meeting' arranged between agent and publisher. This year, many authors took it upon themselves to take the bull by the horns and tackle publishers. I haven't seen that happen before. To be fair to the trade publishers there, and to many of the people I talked to, this was one of the first times I've seen trade publishers openly recognize that they were sharing an exhibition with more than an industry perspective.

What seemed to blow most away was the strength of the Digital Zone and its vibrancy which I actually felt was missing from the trade stands. The Earls Court 2 almost seemed like a doffing of the cap to the Digital Zone as if it was something happening outside of the industry and needed to be placed at arms length. Random House were...well, Random House, two walls of their large 8th foot stand keeping out anyone, as if to to say, as always, we're doing it our own way, so don't get too close. They were busy, always, with authors and business of the like, but then, there are always busy doing their own thing and making their own statements. Perhaps, next year, we will see bouncers deployed for their stand. No need for riff-raff!

What I did note was a diversification between the quality self-publishing services and the many new print/ebook services. The passionate line from so many was how easy it is and how quick you can get your book out there. The seminar sessions, on the whole, were informative, but I felt I was hearing the same thing said in the same way over and over again. To a point, I found myself abandoning a number of sessions after a half hour.

Amazon threw the kitchen sink at LBF 2012. They had a full stand demonstrating the Amazon Kindle Publishing Platform with authors to back it up and the news deliberately delivered of their acquisition of the James Bond titles was well executed.

Over the three days I had a great deal of discussion about the idea of an association, guild or some kind of body for quality self-publishing services in the UK. That will only ever happen if the leading services in the UK come together and don't see themselves as competitors, but rather custodians of a new breed of self-publishing delivers quality and distribution.

Orna Ross launched The Alliance of Independent Authors, and maybe there is a potential fix there. It will still need one or more of the UK author and publisher guilds on board if this is to truly work.

More on LBF in the coming days...

You can find the latest news and vidoes on LBF here.
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Tuesday, 17 April 2012


London Book Fair 2012 - Reviewed


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It's been pretty busy at The London Book Fair 2012. Some wifi and battery gremlins haven't helped the case and I have concentrated on meeting clients and taking in what it here. What has struck me is the increased digital presence with so many companies and developers here with new apps and ebook solutions. I'll have a compendium of video and articles over the coming days on my return. 

More from LBF 2012 tomorrow evening. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012


The Independent Publishing Magazine @ London Book Fair 2012


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The Independent Publishing Magazine will be coming live from the London Book Fair 2012 from tomorrow. Live updates and photo's will come via our new Facebook Fan page here. Later in the day, full features and video's of seminars and interviews will come here on these pages. Looking forward to a great fair and meeting you all. I'll be the one looking very sleepy with camcorder in hand after a 3.30am start tomorrow!
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http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/p/t.html/

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