Sourcebooks Veteran and Ex-Agent Launch Digital First Publishing House, a la Open Road

According to the press agent who sent Digital Book Wire this information, the idea for the business was conceived at the Digital Book World Conference in New York.


New “Digital First” Publishing House Set to

Challenge Traditional Trade Paradigm

Debut Publisher Combines Classic Publishing with Digital Innovation

The Digital Revolution has opened a new frontier in publishing. And as of now, that frontier resembles the Wild-Wild West:  Few industry standards, no dominant establishments, a rapidly changing terrain and lots of potential.  Out of this landscape comes a new—and new kind of—publisher aiming to make a mark in the established publishing industry.

Digital First Launch

We’re proud to announce the launch of Astor + Blue Editions LLC, a New York-based publisher specializing in a “Digital First” platform, which, in addition to creating books in fully designed electronic format, includes a “Customized Print” component.  In other words, Astor + Blue is betting its survival that publishing titles in the eBook format first, with an option to follow in Print using the latest print-on-demand technology, will be a lucrative new model in the rapidly evolving marketplace.  Headed by Robert Astle (Publisher, Editorial Director) and Tony Viardo (CEO, Marketing Director), the new publisher will purportedly exploit the Publishing Industry’s greatest advantages, while avoiding its worst pitfalls.

Though already in operation, Astor + Blue Editions is set to “officially” launch on May 1, 2012, to coincide with the launch of its inaugural titles:  The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner—called the “quintessential Astor + Blue Title” for its backstory—and Dead End Deal, by Allen Wyler.  (PLEASE SEE BOOK RELEASE THAT FOLLOWS).

Major Partnership: Powerful Synergy

In what can be described as a major coup for the fledgling startup, Astor + Blue Editions will be fully backed in Production, Manufacturing and Distribution by Bookmasters, Inc. ( —with whom the new publisher has entered into a formal business partnership. With the Ohio-based Bookmasters Group providing infrastructure, manpower and expertise Astor + Blue Editions will offer a complete suite of “end-to-end” services—in both the digital and print formats—the best of which are wholly unique to the company, and at no extra fees to the author.

Exclusive Services Suite

Among its complete, comprehensive  list of offerings (from editorial to marketing), three in particular differentiate Astor + Blue Editions, making it one of New York’s most attractive and lucrative publishing options:

Production:  A+B offers the highest quality end-product with cover & layout design; copy, line and developmental editing; enhanced interactivity and digital app functionality (where appropriate) at no extra charge to its signed authors.
Revenue Sharing:  A+B boasts the highest revenue split in town for authors and agents.
Negotiation begins at 50/50 for “premium” titles.
Negotiation begins at 33/67 for all other titles.
“Match and Exceed” revenue rates are offered for preferred agents.
Specialized, Long Term, AGENCY CALIBER Marketing Program:  This is where Astor + Blue Editions simply cannot be matched, and it is where A+B is (literally) doing what no other publisher is doing.  Each and every title will receive one year guaranteed proactive marketing (cross media across traditional and online platforms) at contract signing; no extra fees.

Exclusive Marketing Advantage

The key to A+B’s departure from other Publishers—and also the key to its survival and success—is its long-term marketing program; dubbed, “The Blue Dot Method.”  The program is unique in that it employs PR, publicity and marketing methods across all traditional and new media platforms, and lasts for a whole year, (with a natural outgrowth of extended marketing campaigns through second, third and even fourth years).  This unique marketing concept, though simple, is a distinct “sign of the times” for the Digital E-Book paradigm:  Astor + Blue is essentially obliterating the conventional “3 to 6 month shelf life” philosophy, and holding true to its company’s motto: “Expand each title’s readership, and keep it alive indefinitely.”

Agents Only

As part of its commitment to operate as a true publishing house, Astor + Blue will work almost exclusively through agents, and several well-known agencies are already on board, and working with the fledgling publisher.  (e.g. Sterling Lord Literistic (Peter Matson, Chairman) and FinePrint Literary Management (Peter Rubie, CEO), Folio Literary Management (Jita Fumich), Lynne Rabinoff and many others.

“We will not be a ‘publish-all-comers’ vendor,” says Robert Astle, former agent-turned-publisher, “We believe in a strong acquisitions process and the quality vetting it provides, ultimately leading to better, stronger writing for our platform, and a higher quality end product for our customers.”

New Methods for a New Era

Publishing is not changing, it has changed. While many are still talking about the pros and cons of the digital revolution, or arguing about why it’s taking off, or speculating about what’s next, companies like Astor + Blue Editions are taking the steps to embrace an evolved publishing industry, and cater to its customers both old and new.


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