In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at whether Audible is on the brink of a resolution with publishers over its Captions feature.
This is the time of year when I would usually be feverishly planning my goals. Unfortunately, I've had to make do with just the “feverish” part of that. It has been frustrating to watch people forming plans around me. But it has been a timely reminder of the advantage of being independent. In the long term, it really doesn't matter whether I make my goals this week or next, just that I do – at the right time for me.
A look back
For the first post of January one should pay tribute to the double-headed god for whom the month is named. Fittingly for a look both forward and back, the dominant news items this week come from stories you will already be familiar with.
Storytel of the year
Mark Williams’ The New Publishing Standard is a must-follow site for anyone who wants to truly explore the global market. So his “story of the year” is essential news. He has very honourably steered away from talking about StreetLib (who are partners in TNPS), a company that had a stellar year expanding into new globally local markets. The honour of story of the year goes to the rise of another company we have followed here. Storytel is a Swedish-based subscription audiobook platform that has opened local stores in 20 territories. As such, it combines three of the most important trends of the last year, all of which will continue to dominate the landscape for indies in the year to come. There is subscription (they passed more than 1 million this year), global local markets, and audiobooks. Williams’ piece links to all their news stories last year.
The dispute between Audible and publishers over the proposed Audible captions feature looks to be coming to a head. A ruling in the case is due on January 13th. This comes after the sides asked for a postponement to give them the best chance of reaching an out of court settlement. Watch this space for more news very soon.
Romance Writers of America
The big story that ended 2019 was the implosion of the Romance Writers of America. That story has continued in the first week of 2020. And now it has hit the mainstream media. One of the complainants against Courtney Milan has claimed she came under pressure from the RWA to bring the complaint. There have been many calls for the RWA’s leader, Damon Suede, to resign over the scandal. He has said the organisation would collapse without him. Courtney Milan, on the other hand, has questioned how much energy it is worth people spending on an organisation with such a troubled history.
The shape of things to come
Technology: ebooks and AI
There have been some wonderful predictions in the past week. Over at The Digital Reader, Nate Hofelder has a fascinating post predicting a new ebooks boom. The main thrust of Nate's argument is that the supposed resurgence of print over digital that has dominated the news in the past few years has been based on some shoddy maths. And shoddy maths has always been something Nate has been quick to point out. What he says the figures actually show is that there is a cohort of readers growing up who are natural ebook readers.
The future for indies
ALLi has, of course, contributed its two cents to the “what does 2020 hold for indies?” conversation. Orna’s post has some themes that will be very familiar to ALLi readers in general, and readers of this column in particular. She anticipates increasing global possibilities, new uptake of technological possibilities, basically more of Self-publishing 3.0. And returning to romance, ALLi's Debbie Young had many valuable insights for the Romancing the Genres blog. And there have been some fascinating predictions about the growing potential of artificial intelligence. Of particular interest are the growing power of speech recognition, and AI's ability to at least mimic creativity. This reflects a lot of what Joanna Penn has said about the increasing importance of audio and voice first technology.The Audible Captions dispute may be reaching a close, the Romance Writers of America controversy continues and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes… Click To Tweet
Over to You
What are your hopes for the 2020s? Let us know in the comments below.
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