Why Publishers Should Partner With Start-ups

Publishers must partner with start-ups in order to speed innovation, Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg said in a talk at Digital Book World 2014 in New York this morning.

There are a number of challenges publishers face, according to Rhomberg, that are better confronted through strategic relationships with start-ups. A familiar one he cited is speed to market. “Readers expect books faster,” and so do authors. Publishing more quickly, Rhomberg said, “should become the new norm, not the exception.”

Some start-ups are better positioned to help publishers do that than publishers are themselves. And partnering can help spread the risk of innovation. “Don’t try to do everything in-house,” he urged.

It’s often difficult to forecast which start-ups will survive beyond their first couple years of business. So how do publishers determine which new players to work with? Experiment, Rhomberg said, and at every stage “measure your engagements.”

“Try a lot, but spend a little,” he added.

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