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Self-Publishing News: Buyers Jostle To Bid For TikTok And X Finally Marks The Spot

Self-Publishing News: Buyers Jostle to Bid for TikTok and X Finally Marks the Spot

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

It has been an interesting week for the social media platforms so many of us rely on for both creative communities and connecting with readers. As buyers jostle to bid for TikTok and X finally marks the spot, these developments are making waves in the book community and beyond.

First up is TikTok, which has become the most talked-about social media platform for the book community. I won't run through the list again of BookTok’s real and claimed influences on the reading public and the wider publishing world, but it’s sufficient for many writers to make “How do I use TikTok?” or “Should I use TikTok?” their first go-to question when they join a writing community.

A recent US law gave TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, just nine months to sell the app’s US operation or face a US ban. Potential buyers are now lining up, led by Frank McCourt (who, Wired tells me, is a real estate tycoon and sadly not the award-winning author of Angela’s Ashes). One of the key pledges any buyer will need to make is to change the app’s algorithm to allay US fears about its potential for disinformation. Whether a substantially different TikTok would be worth the eye-watering sums ($100 billion, anyone?) being mentioned is another question. One that will possibly still turn out to be irrelevant as ByteDance has thus far shown no desire to sell and is challenging the law that would make them.

From the new social media kid on the block to what has at times felt like an old familiar friend—the place where many of us met, formed communities, shared tips, and found readers. Twitter is now finally no more. The blue bird’s last traces have disappeared altogether from X.com. On May 17, Elon Musk tweeted (if one can still say that) “All core systems are now on X.com.” The app itself puts it less dramatically: “We are letting you know that we are changing our URL, but your privacy and data protection settings remain the same.” Moves are now proceeding at full steam to add the financial services Musk has always had in mind for the app. You can read more about it on Wired.

And talking of finances, that brings us to our final story, which centers on Amazon. Amazon has had a very good start to 2024. In the first quarter, sales were up 13% to $143 billion. Half of the $15.3 billion profits and $25 billion of the revenue comes from Amazon Web Services. But it is clearly targeting independent sellers with a new AI tool that will make it easier to create product listings. It has been a long time since Amazon was the only game in town for authors, but the more it grows and the more customers get everything else in their lives from Amazon, the more it’s worth our while paying considerable attention to our presence there.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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