All semester we examined the ways traditional media industries were handling the influx of consumer created content. While certainly not the most popular, the publishing industry is not exempt from that conversation. On the way to work, NPR ran a story on Morning Edition that I thought was worthy of sharing!
The complete story, Self-Publishing: No Longer Just a Vanity Project, can be found here.
In the past, self-publishing has been seen by many as a sign that you weren’t good enough to get a real book contract. Recently there has been a growth spurt in the self-publishing industry. A quick Google search will grab 189 million sites. While many publishing companies may fear that due to rights issues and the availability of these publishing outlets, their businesses may be threatened, Simon & Schuster have a different plan. They just launched Archway Books, an online publishing company. They aren’t actually involved with any editing, publishing, or formatting, but offer a number of different publication packages. CEO Carolyn Reidy realizes that they must keep up with the changes in the industry, saying “We actually understand that it is a different world than what we do. We want to understand it, and if it is going to … be a threat to our business, we definitely want to understand it and also see how we can turn that to our advantage. And one of the advantages is, it is a great way to find authors, also new genres and new audiences.” Using Archway, they will monitor sales. So rather than feeling threatened by this technology, they are using it to screen audience response to authors and their success.
To me, it looks like a win-win. Budding authors get a chance to show what they’ve got, and the publishers get the opportunity to see an author in action before issuing a contract or taking a financial risk. Rather than using manpower to sort through manuscripts, they can monitor an author’s success using Archway and possibly offer them a contract from there. This kind of technological adoption and strategic business planning is to be applauded!