Saturday, May 29, 2010
Beware of eStangers
Beware of strangers was and is good advice.
This week we read that Google Editions is aiming become the wholesale digital aggregator to the retail channel and line up with the ABA as they have already announced with the UK BA. It makes sense on two counts in that it starts to make friends with those it was in danger of alienating with its Book Settlement and it also offers booksellers a ray of hope when everyone else is trying to digitally circumvent them. The only caution is that Google control the terms and can effectively change these just like others have effectively designing the affiliates in and then when they have the connections, designing them out.
In another interesting move Apple’s now wants to be a publisher and follow Lulu and Amazon into the self publishing space. Authors are now starting to get serious channel opportunities and could start to disintermediate the old model. If you are an author with a strong back list, or a mid list author with a good following why not self publish on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble Google and wherever else? If we think about it, these will be the major digital channels in the near future and with relatively little effort authors have exposure, or sales potential, to the majority of the digital channel. As a self published author you don’t ned to carry the corporate baggage and cost structure, your fixed costs are you. The author also has a very powerful too in being able to set their price at a far more appealing level than the traditional market. Google can even offer exposure the author exposure to localised markets and stores.
Retail is about the right product, right price and right time. These new digital omnivores certainly look like they are hovering up not only the books the industry wants them to sell but also the books it has forgotten, lost and ignored. In adopting an agency model the publishers may have gained control of pricing and lost control of the channel and many authors. A further thought is that in this new world mass marketing and spending money on glossy ads in trade magazines isn’t going to cut it.
Finally we wonder how those censors in Appleworld HQ are going to deal with self publishing books? Erotica under the shelf in plain wrapping, some editor cuts or a sensible approach and no censorship?