Strong Opinions on Self-Publishing

A year after Penguin jumped into the self-publishing game in earnest with the launch of Book Country’s self-publishing program, Simon & Schuster has launched its own self-publishing imprint, Archway, which is powered by Author Solutions (sister company to Penguin).
Like other larger publishers, Simon & Schuster sees that self-publishing is growing and is getting in on the action. Because of its strategy of charging authors fees to use its service, however, it might not be doing it right.
“I’m shocked at how badly these first two [Penguin and Simon & Schuster] are misjudging the opportunity,” Smashwords CEO Mark Coker told Digital Book World. Smashwords is one of the largest self-publishing platforms and Coker is its vocal leader.
He goes on in a public-private email thread that he has given us permission to publish:
“Another publisher reinforces the meme that they simply don’t understand the opportunity with self publishing. Now is the time that publishers need to show authors how they can add value to an author’s career. Becoming yet another blood sucking parasite is not the path forward for publishers. It runs completely counter to what the best publishers have always represented. Great publishers invest in authors, not exploit them.   Money should flow from publisher to author, from book sales, and not from author to publisher. S&S will damage its brand with this.”
Just one man’s opinion. Read more on his views here.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Kindle Booming (DBW)
Publishers can expect strong device-related holiday ebook sales – at least from Amazon. The e-tailer announced that it doubled the amount of Kindle devices it sold over Thanksgiving weekend versus last year.
Powell’s Seeing Success With Kobo Sales (OPB)
Portland, Oreg. bookstore Powell’s is having success selling Kobo e-readers. “Interest has been very high” among consumers coming into the store, said Powell’s new book purchasing supervisor Gerry Donaghy.
Digital First in Germany (Pub Perspectives)
A small, digital-first publisher is making wake in the German book market.
Ebooks in Prague (DBW)
A trip to the home of Franz Kafka provides the opportunity to scope out the growing ebooks scene there. One local bookstore may have jumpstarted it all (scroll down to the comments).
The New Publishing Career Path (Pub Perspectives)
It used to be that the path to success in publishing was to advance up the corporate ladder and retire as close to the top as you could at a large publishing house. Today, with new technologies, disruption and tons of start-ups, things have changed.
Penguin Expands Library Lending to Baker & Taylor (DBW)
It’s old news. But it’s worth mentioning here that Penguin seems fairly enthusiastic to get back into the ebook lending game – just not with OverDrive.
Social Reading in Academia (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Social reading, more smoke than fire thus far in trade publishing, may have found its niche. An interesting academic project involving Thomas More’s Utopia illustrates the possibilities.
Barnes & Noble Launches Nook App in UK (DBW)
Slowly but surely, Barnes & Noble is expanding its device and digital content business overseas.
Curious George Goes Digital (DBW)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched the first in a series of Curious George enhanced ebooks made using iBooks Author. More publishers seem to be willing to use the tool to create content now only available in iBooks.
How Celebrities Read (BookRiot)
This link in the DBW Daily is like putting sugar on your Wheaties: adds a little fun to your nutrition. These are pictures of celebs and books. None with e-readers…yet. Soon, we’re sure.

Image credit: Ideas image via Shutterstock


One thought on “Strong Opinions on Self-Publishing

  1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman

    It seems that there are as many different concepts around the term self publishing as there are probably authors to use them. Back in the ‘bad’ old days (were they really that bad) the author would tout their book around and if it wasn’t taken up, then they paid to have them printed and it was seen as a ‘bad thing’. Nowadays we do much the same thing but we do it digitally – if we want a physical copy we still have to pay for it and to some extent we also have to pay to get it onto the global sales systems. This new idea by Simon and Schuster is just one interation which may or may not appeal to some authors. I don’t believe there has ever been just one way to get published and there is certainly not just one way to self-publish – let’s celebrate the diversity.



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