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TikTok And Indie Bookstores Launch Alternatives To Amazon Prime Days: The Self-Publishing News Podcast With Dan Holloway

TikTok and Indie Bookstores Launch Alternatives to Amazon Prime Days: The Self-Publishing News Podcast with Dan Holloway

On this episode of the ALLi Self-Publishing News Podcast, Dan Holloway discusses how TikTok and indie bookstores are launching alternatives to Amazon Prime Days. TikTok's “Deals for You Days” kicks off on July 9, promoting viral videos to drive sales through their shop. Meanwhile, the American Booksellers Association's “Indies Take the Gold” campaign encourages readers to support independent bookstores with Olympic-themed promotions.

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About the Host

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet, and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, He competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available on Kindle.

Read the Transcripts to Self-Publishing News: Alternatives to Amazon Prime Days

Dan Holloway: Hello and welcome to the first Self-Publishing News podcast of July. Apologies if this is a somewhat truncated or distracted podcast. My dad died last week, so this week I am somewhat enmired in the world of lawyers and funeral directors and paperwork, not that that's something that's unfamiliar to any of us who are indies, but my thoughts are somewhat scattered, but nonetheless, it's a delight, as always, to bring you the news. Albeit, as I say, probably somewhat truncated because I need to get back to some paperwork.

TikTok and American Booksellers Aim to Outcompete Amazon Prime Day

One of the things, of course, that happens every July is the delights of Amazon Prime Day. This year, Amazon has announced that it will be holding its Prime Day, or rather Prime Days, because, of course, reasons. It needs to be 48 hours rather than 24, probably something to do with time zones as their excuse, wanting to make more cash might be the more ready reason.

But this year, Amazon Prime Days will be on the 16th and 17th of July, and it's really interesting that the field has not been left open for them this year.

So, two really interesting campaigns that are taking place alongside or in competition with Amazon Prime Days. The first is probably the bigger of the two, and that is what they are calling Deals for You Days, and this comes from TikTok.

The first of these is going to be on July the 9th, so a week before the first Amazon Day. TikTok are going to get in there early, and needless to say, what this is all about is people who want to sell something creating viral videos, or paying other people to create viral videos on their behalf, all of which is intended to drive sales through the TikTok shop, which they are trying to push as a major way of making money.

So, rather than advertising, they're looking to their internal shop as a real way to increase their business. Obviously, this has possibilities for us as authors. Obviously, BookTok is a massive part of the TikTok community and BookTok is working with the TikTok shop. There are ways of selling books direct through TikTok, and this might be a really good way to reach part of that audience, especially as it's the first year.

But the thing that really strikes me about this is, of course, that it's based in the US and this in theory is the last year that TikTok will be a thing in the U.S., because of course there is legislation at present to ban TikTok if ByteDance doesn't sell it or sell the U.S. operation to a non-China based company.

They had nine months to do that, starting several months ago. They, of course, are up in arms about this. They will be appealing it. Needless to say, I think they will also be keeping an eye on U.S. elections, and seeing whether regulations were to change if there's a change of administration.

No one in TikTok seems to be taking seriously the idea that they won't be around in a year's time.

This seems to be part of a marketing drive to push up sales in the U.S. through the TikTok shop. They've stated that it's a campaign that it is aiming towards goals in 2027.

The legislation to outlaw them seems to be the big elephant in the room, and I'm sure if I were more up on American politics, I could turn that into a metaphor about elephants and donkeys and so on, but I will leave that to your imagination to do instead.

So, that's the TikTok Deals for You days. The other campaign, somewhat smaller, but much more focused at the book market, and that is being run by the American Booksellers Association. It's called Indies Take the Gold, and it is a highly branded campaign running through July that is aiming to send people to independent bookstores to buy their books, and bookstores are being encouraged to place big, branded markers on their books with pictures of gold medals.

Obviously, this is intended to coincide with the Olympics and to run throughout the Olympics as a way of getting people to get as excited about reading as they are about sport.

So, lots of opportunities, I am sure, for indie authors as well as indie bookstores to get involved with that, to be part of this movement to send people who are interested in reading to somewhere other than Amazon.

Amazon Subject to UK Anti-Competitive Lawsuit

Talking of Amazon, the thing that we saw last week was they are in trouble with the law in the UK again. They are subject to a class action suit that's looking for nearly £3 billion of damages. It's a class action suit on behalf of more than 200,000 sellers, and the complaint is over alleged anti-competitive practice, and that practice is promoting Amazon's own in-house brands over those of third-party sellers.

So, this is the same sort of controversy we've seen around the buy button and who gets to control the buy button. Third party sellers on Amazon are very concerned that the person who actually gets to control the buy button is none other than Amazon itself. Its own products seem to get higher profile on customers pages when they search for things. This is what they are claiming at least.

As authors, this is something that we will remember being a source of concern to us. I remember there was a lot of fuss, it's probably getting on a decade ago now, when Amazon started its own publishing houses.

The White Glove program, I think it was, and Thomas Mercer was the first big Amazon in house publishing operation, and people started noticing that the bestseller lists were stuffed full of Amazon's own in-house titles, and started wondering how come this happened, and suggesting that maybe part of it was that titles published by Amazon were being featured more prominently when customers searched.

Now, the concern is expanded to other products, and we will see how that one goes.

Webtoon Valued at $3billion

Moving away from Amazon to more exciting things, but similar amounts. $3 billion is the amount in question here, and the $3 billion that we are looking at here is nothing to do with Amazon lawsuits. It is instead the valuation that has been placed on Webtoon following its IPO.

Webtoon, of course, is the umbrella company that includes Wattpad. It is, in itself, owned by the South Korean tech giant Naver, and it has raised $315 million on the Nasdaq when it floated last week, giving it a valuation at the time of $2.9 billion. It jumped 14% on its opening day.

So, it's a reminder just how big, as I'm always saying, Wattpad actually is, and also the online comic industry.

Webtoon obviously is a self-publishing and publishing platform for web comics based on this format where you have a single pane that you scroll up through your smartphone, and it has become incredibly popular.

It's an immensely popular It's a very popular part of Korean culture that has expanded successfully across the world, and it's really interesting and encouraging to see that happening, and to see it gaining such a wide audience and opening up so many possibilities for self-publishing authors.

What, as I always say, is really exciting about Wattpad, and what Webtoon does as well, is they have this end-to-end process, so you can literally post something that's just an idea. It's a page. It's just one mini chapter of what can then become a serial, and through the very same platform, that can gain readership, it can gain traction, and then it can be taken up and turned into a massive studio film.

So, they really do take things end-to-end from idea to the big screen, potentially.

It's obviously very savvy, they don't have to pay big name authors to come in and do things for their screen. They take people who've grown up on the platform, they take a concept that they know is going to succeed because their readers love it, and then they turn it in-house into a film.

It's a really great way of nurturing and encouraging talent, rather along the sort of academy lines that you see in sport. It's always amazed me that more people don't do it because it works really well for them, and it really is a great model for people who want to reach a wide audience and then reach them in multiple media.

I look forward to following the progress of Webtoon as a publicly traded company and reporting on how they continue, I hope, to grow.

I will look forward to speaking to you again next week. Wishing you all the best for July.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy is an author, book editor, and journalist. He is also the Content and Communications Manager for the Alliance of Independent Authors, where he hosts and produces podcasts and keeps the blog updated. You can find more of his work at https://howardlovy.com/


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