New Start-up to Completely Disrupt Publishing World

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A new start-up is set to take the publishing world by storm and completely upend the current business paradigm. It’s called [fill in the blank] and with a new round of investment it’s set to disrupt the publishing industry.

There have been at least four such stories in the news about book-publishing start-ups already this week: SkyInk Studios, Orson & Co., Bookboard and Oyster. The former two are e-publishing start-ups and the latter are ebook subscription firms.

One of the things that makes being in book publishing more exciting now than almost any time since Gutenberg is all the start-up activity and what it represents. Perseus chief marketing officer Rick Joyce said it best: “You see outside interests come in and starting social reading stuff and new browsing experiences…. This used to feel like a mature business but it’s not anymore…. [it’s] a much more exciting growth business right now.”

There certainly is a lot of start-up activity in book publishing right now, and much of it is venture-capital backed. Publishing has not traditionally been a growth business. The investors in these start-ups may be banking on readers changing how they read in some fundamental way. That, or they love books and reading just as much as everyone else who works in publishing; we, after all, do it for love of reading more than we do it for love of money.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Start-ups: Sobering Economics of Ebook Subscription Services (DBW)
Despite the complexity involved, several start-ups are trying to become the “Spotify for ebooks.” This article takes a close look at the economics of such a proposition from the publisher’s point of view and it ain’t pretty.

Start-ups: Orson & Co. Wants to Crack Enhanced Ebooks (DBW)
Novelist Richard Mason is trying his hand at entrepreneurship. For his latest novel History of a Pleasure Seeker (Random House), he bought the text rights and used them to publish his own enhanced ebook edition of the title. After two years, he has the product (available for $12.99 in the iTunes store) and a template to build more like it.

Start-ups: An Ebook Subscription Service Just for Kids (DBW)
Bookboard, a new subscription service for children’s ebooks, is in private beta testing right now, meaning not just anyone can sign up, but already has 300 titles in its library. When it launches, the company plans on charging $5.00-to-$10.00 a month for all-you-can-eat ebook access.

Start-ups: SkyInk Wants to Create Better Ebooks/Book Apps (DBW)
SkyInk studios is an interactive, creative studio specializing in animation and illustration. The company currently services publishers in need of hired guns for enhanced projects and will now publish its own e-books and book apps.

Amazon on the Hot Seat (FT)
An Amazon spokesperson had a tough time of it in British Parliament yesterday. He was grilled by its members on taxes, minimum wage and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Random Penguin to Accelerate Indian Ebook Market? (Business Today)
Ebooks are set to explode in India, according to multiple reports. The Random House-Penguin merger may accelerate the process.

MBA-ification of the Book Business in Europe (Futurebook)
The digital publishing business in Europe is in free-fall – except it’s going up instead of down. A rash of new publishing execs with MBAs are rising along with it.

Changing the Front, Winning the War (Futurebook)
A publisher of illustrated military books in the UK launched its own e-bookstore iOS app because there were no good venues for it to e-publish its titles.

Hope for Library Ebook Lending? (Copyright and Technology)
A new advocacy group in Washington, D.C. is fighting to have “first-sale doctrine” applied to digital files. Translation: If they succeed, when you “buy” an ebook you’ll really be buying it. You’ll own it, rather than license it, which is how most ebook transactions happen today – and you’ll be able to lend it, sell it, etc.

Reader’s Digest Launches iBookstore Section (DBW)
Reader’s Digest has published some 150 enhanced ebooks. Its new section in the Apple iBookstore makes it easy for readers to find all of them in one place.

Books Hit the Red Carpet (New York Times)
Until a few years ago, the National Book Awards dinner was held at a Marriott in Midtown. Tomorrow night it will be held in the swanky downtown location of New York landmark Cipriani. It’s part of a coordinated effort to raise the profile of the event – and of the industry.

Fist through paper image via Shutterstock

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2 thoughts on “New Start-up to Completely Disrupt Publishing World

  1. Plus there are at least a half-dozen more that I have spoken with that are not mentioned above. Some have more inroads with publishers, better financing and securing customers than this list.

    It is a good time for innovation in the industry. In three years, there will be many companies selling eBooks that are not even spoken about today. The landscape is dramatically changing.

  2. At ComicBin we are building a subscription service for digital comics. We’ve already added about 300 comics and graphic novels to our library and we have several hundred more licensed and in the pipeline. We’re working with almost a dozen publishers so far.

    It is a very exciting time to be in the digital book arena.

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