Digital Publisher RosettaBooks Intends to Disrupt Industry With New Print Book Model

One of the oldest digital publishing houses is getting into the print game and intends to reinvent it.

RosettaBooks, founded in 2001, will be publishing Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses by former Apple CEO and Pepsi president John Sculley. Unlike most other RosettaBooks projects, Moonshot! is a front-list title and will come out as both an ebook and a print book.

“Print is still a large share of the book market and will be for a long time,” said RosettaBooks founder and CEO Arthur Klebanoff, adding that big-name authors with new books want to have their titles in print. “Rosetta, until now, has been primarily a back-list publisher” but “we are hardly becoming a traditional publisher.”

Unlike many traditional publishers, which can take anywhere from six months to several years to bring a print book to market, RosettaBooks has set a time limit for itself of under six months. The publisher is also open to acquiring an “unbundled” set of rights from the author, said Klebanoff, which deviates from standard publishing contracts that generally give publishers a bevy of rights to exploit on their behalf and the authors.

RosettaBooks is also experimenting with paying lower advances in exchange for higher royalties across all book formats and offering shorter contract terms — both changes that many authors have been calling for from traditional publishers.

Klebanoff could not share what additional upcoming front-list titles RosettaBooks will offer, but did say that they were books that other larger publishers were also interested in acquiring.

“We have an excellent chance of publishing best-sellers. The ‘big five’ have controlled 95% of best-sellers,” he said. “To me this sounds like disruption.”



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