“Between the rise of the self-published author and more efficient methods of content creation and distribution,” Vearsa CEO Gareth Cuddy says, “the value of being ‘published’ is diminishing year by year.”
If that’s the case, though, Cuddy doesn’t believe it dooms publishers to obsolescence.
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“I think a lot of publishers are beginning to focus on internal efficiencies and experimentation…without sacrificing or impinging upon their love of books and storytelling, and that is critical.”
But Cuddy still predicts there’s tremendous disruption yet to come (others aren’t so sure). And in the meantime, publishers must learn make smarter, data-backed decisions and invest in storing their digital assets more flexibly “in order to be able to capitalize on new business models as they emerge.”
Related: Are Publishers Too Slow to Innovate?
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Kindle Unlimited Overhauls Payment Model (Pub Lunch)
Having weathered criticism that its model unfairly compensates authors who participate in its subscription ebook platform, Amazon switches to paying authors based on the number of pages users read, rather than offering a certain rate for each ‘borrow.’ Since consumers’ buying patterns often differ from their actual reading behaviors, Publishers Lunch says the move represents “the most radical change in book business economics yet” for Amazon.
BookExpo America 2015: The Highlight Reel (DBW)
There’s really no way to decide which news stories and ideas from last month’s BookExpo America were the most ‘important’ or even the most noteworthy—that depends on who you are and where your interests lie in the publishing ecosystem. So we didn’t try. Instead Digital Book World has compiled a special, mid-month issue of the just-launched “DBW In Brief” series that offers a selection of coverage from the conference, featuring news and insights on discovery initiatives, readers, authors’ contracts, innovation, start-ups and much more. Download your free copy here.
Amazon Says It Shields Customer Data from U.S. Government (IBT)
According to the first transparency report it has ever released, Amazon says it has never participated in the controversial PRISM program operated by the National Security Administration, as several big tech companies like Apple and Google are said to have done. Amazon also says it sometimes refuses to comply with government subpoenas for customer data it considers to be “overboard.”
Simon & Schuster Reshuffles UK Sales Team (The Bookseller)
The publisher’s UK division merges children’s and adult trade sales forces, with distinct teams for bookstores, online and digital sales and for special and mass market sales, respectively. Several top-level staffing changes come with the reorganization.
Thomas Nelson Launches Christian Youth Imprint (PW)
The Christian publisher joins with the publishing division of Passion Conferences, an event series geared to college students, to establish an imprint that will release print and digital titles based around Passion programming.
Eyeing Amazon, YouTube Launches Gaming Platform (Time)
YouTube beefs up its offering for gamers with new video content and live-streaming features in a bid for the Google-owned company to better compete with Amazon for those users. Amazon purchased the video streaming platform Twitch for $ 970 million last August, beating out Google for it.
Alibaba Wants in on Video, Too (The Verge)
Make no mistake—video is hot. The China-based e-tailer Alibaba is reportedly developing a video streaming platform similar to Netflix, HBO and their ilk. Like those offerings, Alibaba says its own program will also include some original content.
Just How Big Is the Indie Market? (Futurebook)
Needless to say, this post won’t answer that question. But it does offer an adequate look at the all-but-intractable problem as it stands to date, with authors and industry leaders weighing in on the obstacles to quantifying that market and the relative likelihood of ever surmounting them.
What’s Lost When Bookstores Close (New Yorker)
As one commentator sees it, physical bookstores are important institutions in liberal societies, with roots in the Enlightenment and poor digital equivalents: “By atomizing our experience to the point of alienation—or, at best, by creating substitutes for common experience (“you might also like…” lists, Twitter exchanges instead of face-to-face conversations)—we lose the common thread of civil life.”