Thursday, March 01, 2012

'The Bitch' Has a Message For Publishing

Sometimes the real message is not in the headlines but half hidden in the text.

The news that Jackie Collins, is to digitally self-publish a rewritten version of her bestseller,’ The Bitch’ in the US should not come as a shock. More and more authors will take their backlist and rejuvenate them digitally and pop them out at $2.99.

The interesting thing that caught our eye in the story was the quote, "If it does well, I probably will continue to e-publish, because I have a book of short stories and my publisher says short stories don't sell."

Here we either have a publisher who apparently is wedded to the print world and has failed miserably to understand digital opportunities, or one who doesn’t want to publish Collins. Short stories don’t sell if you remain wedded to the bulking up of them into collections and force them onto physical bookshelves, or you run your business based on what the form book says, ran well and sold last week, month or year. Sometime you have to look forward, not backwards and recognise that you are playing to a potentially different market, certainly a different channel and most definitely a different form factor. Did Steve Jobs make iTunes by selling albums or tracks, by adopting a million different price pints, or by adopting the norm as set out by the producers? Sometimes when you look backwards you have to understand history a bit better than just looking at the form book.

Maybe the publisher is now apprehensive about the apparent moral stance that the likes of Paypal are now taking over erotica and pornography and think that Collins may be see by some to be borderline. Mind you others would suggest even more PR can’t be a bad thing.

It’s as if there is an old guard that can’t see the new world and continues to try to shoehorn tomorrow into yesterday.

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