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Pottermore and the digital publishing extravaganza

26 Jun

ebook publishing is taking off in more way than one. Back in April the Association of American Publishers reported triple-digit growth in ebook sales. Earlier this week Louise Voss and Mark Edwards became the first “indie authors” to top the UK ebooks chart.

Finally to top it all off, JK Rowling, author of the iconic “Harry Potter” series announced yesterday that she is launching the digital version of her work on her own site and leaving her publisher in the cold.

All these interesting developments that are currently happening in the digital publishing industry, where should I start?

  1. Sign up to the digital transformation or lose out – Established publishers like Random House and Penguin are in the process of becoming a digital content provider (as opposed to just a supplier of physical or digital books).
  2. There is more to come though – Publishers are slowly starting to make content available on multiple media, in multiple formats on multiple platforms (think apps, audio, video and games).
  3. Self publishing – The recent success of authors like John Locke, Mark Edwards and Louise Voss clearly shows that authors do not need a big publisher (and its marketing budget) to be successful.
  4. Cut out the middleman – J.K. Rowling is taking self-publishing to the next level by creating her own “Pottermore” online bookstore. Even though Bloomsbury, her publisher, is said to get a set percentage, online ebook retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles are likely to miss out on all the action.
  5. New tools and players galore! – Tools like Kindle Direct Publishing make it easy to publish and sell your own books. Crickey, even ebook signs can now be done online! If you still need assistance, for instance to create your interactive promotional site or to convert your book into an interactive game, agencies like Smashing Ideas and Think are more than happy to help out.

Main learning point: I learned that the face of traditional book publishing is changing rapidly. Publishers can either adapt and fully embrace this change or ‘undergo’ things halfheartedly and view it all as necessary evil. As for the latter option, the record industry made that mistake and are now paying for it dearly. I say: “bring on exclusive John Grisham content through his own interactive site, EA launching “The Last Juror” game and him throwing “The Innocent Man” videos on YouTube!”

Related links for further learning:

http://www.publishers.org/press/30/

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/51470c2c-86f8-11e0-92df-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1QBFmuTeL

http://futurebook.net/content/ebook-market-reaching-maturity-uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13853728

http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/entertainment-media/publications/future-of-ebooks.jhtml

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/06/20/self-published-writer-sells-a-million-e-books-on-amazon/

http://futurebook.net/content/pottermore-lessons-which-i-refuse-call-learnings

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