By this time next week I will, I hope, have just completed my third 100 kilometre (62 mile) race. And distance running brings to mind a wonderful anecdote about one of the greatest of all, Emil Zatopek. Zatopek ran his first marathon at the 1952 Olympics. He entered it as an afterthought after already winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres. Legend has it he started out at the front with an experienced marathoner, to whom he turned and asked “why are we going slowly?” to which he got the answer “it's really important not to start too quickly in the marathon or you'll burn out.” Zatopek nodded sagely, but still it felt strange to be going so slowly so he headed off into the distance at what felt a better pace, much to everyone's despair and derision. Of course the rest is history – he never did burn out. He ran one of the greatest races ever because he didn't know that wasn't what you were meant to do.
Next time you are told to think outside the box, remember Zatopek. There's a lot to be said for knowing the rules so you can break them. But there's also a lot to be said for not caring what the rules are. As indies, we could remember that more than we do.
Overdrive: Increasing Opportunities in Libraries
It is getting easier all the time for indies to distribute our books to libraries using Overdrive, accessible through the likes of Pronoun, Smashwords, and Street Lib. Which is great news, because libraries are increasingly big news for digital content. Overdrive has just announced that 60 or more libraries look set to chalk up 1 million lends this year, compared to 49 last year and 33 in 2015. Libraries are an increasingly large pie, and the distribution deals Overdrive is making are making it increasingly easy for indies to get a larger slice. And the figures are as spectacular for audiobooks, with vOverdrive reporting a 23% increase in lends in the first half of 2017.
Amazon – Bookstores and ISBNs
It seems very indulgent to link to one of ALLi's own stories, but this is a great piece about Createspace's new ISBN policy. The long and the short is that Createspace is not (it seems to be in the final stages of rollout so at the moment it's “in almost all cases not”) accepting user-generated barcode imagery (too many issues with readability), so we need to leave blank space on our cover templates for Createspace's barcode to appear. Meanwhile, today is Amazon Prime Day, and it is very interesting to note that Amazon is taking the opportunity to use their growing bookstore infrastructure to support Prime Day. This integration is definitely something to watch.
Kobo Is Having a Party!
A lot of cities that aren't by the sea create their own beaches during the summer to help residents get into the festive swing. But of course you can't have a beach without a beach read – something Kobo has capitalised upon by hosting their very own Beach Book Party in London from July 13-25.
I recently brought you the story of academic publishing behemoth Elsevier's court victory over the open access content-agglomerator Sci Hub. This week we have the launch of publisher Palgrave's report on the academic book of the future. Of course, an academic publisher has an interest in maintaining a status quo that sees academic publishing as one of the most lucrative business models going, but my initial suspicion on looking at the contents was borne out by the index – self-publishing is nowhere. It would seem there are some parts of the literary world (Lulu's flirtations notwithstanding) that *really* need to open up to indies.
RB Digital Offers Multiple Formats in one Package
Recorded Books is offering a new app, RB Digital, that combines ebooks, audiobooks and magazines all in one place. This is a very interesting development but as so often, it looks as though the initial iterations will go ahead without indie content. It would be great to see that change in the near future (and maybe for more interesting newcomers to use indies with our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship for their beta phase?).All the week's top #selfpub news from @agnieszkasshoes for #indieauthors Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Worldcon, Aug 9-13 [Helsinki] Definitive Hands-on Guide for Indie Authors, Aug 20-25 [various UK]
W3C Publishing Summit, Nov 9-10 [San Francisco]
Self-publishing Conference, Apr 28, [Leicester]