In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at AuthorSHARE, a scheme that pays authors for sales of their secondhand books.
In this month’s self-publishing news podcast, Howard and I look in depth at what the partnership between Spotify and Storytel means for the future of reading and writing, and examine new platforms that allow authors to engage with readers more closely. On tonight’s #indieauthorchat with Tim Lewis, at 8pm GMT, we’ll be talking with Dale Roberts about getting book reviews.
AuthorSHARE Offers Royalties on Sales of Second Hand Books
It’s one of the things no one really talks about. But it’s always there under the surface, bubbling away and creating inconsistencies and hypocrisies in people’s lines of reasoning, resentments between authors and readers, antagonisms to booksellers that can’t be shared in decent company. It is, of course, the fact that authors make no royalties on on the sales of second hand books. The advent of blockchain technology has modified that somewhat. It is now possible to write royalties for every subsequent sale into the smart contract with which a book is published. But when it comes to the books we love to find in second hand book stores, the principle has remained.
Until now. AuthorSHARE is a new scheme in the UK set up by William Pryor of Bookbarn International in partnership with World of Books Group. In the first year a £200,000 fund will be administered by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). This is the group that distributes royalties to authors from library lending. Sales figures from participating stores and groups will go to ALCS who will distribute up to £1000 to authors in two chunks each year. The scheme has the support of the Society of Authors and undistributed funds will go into SoA's contingency fund for authors. This seems like an excellent scheme, and I am happy to confirm, with thanks to ALLi's Margaret Skea, that the contingency fund is open to indie authors who have been affected by the pandemic.
Amazon Faces More Antitrust Lawsuits and Buys James Bond Studio
Amazon has had a busy week. The anti-trust lawsuits continue to stack up. This week, DC has joined the list of authorities taking action. Their case focuses on Amazon’s marketplace sellers. In particular, it asks whether Amazon’s dominance of the third party retail market is keeping prices inflated. This sits alongside existing cases asking whether Amazon’s dominance of book selling is bad for customers. One of Amazon's biggest third party seller in the book world is, of course, the aforementioned World of Books Group.
This week’s biggest Amazon news makes an interesting companion story. Amazon has just bought MGM for $8.45bn. It’s not clear whether that is part of a move to diversify. Or whether it marks an early step in a move to dominate another market. What it certainly does is offer the chance to boost the streaming part of the Amazon Prime offering. Prime is Amazon’s flagship money spinner for all kinds of reasons. But the most compelling is that Prime members buy more stuff from Amazon than non Prime members. So making Prime-led products as tempting as possible matters. And that includes both video and e-books. What’s always been slightly surprising is that Amazon hasn’t linked the two more, in the way Wattpad does so well. Maybe acquiring a studio will bring the page to screen pipeline one step closer.
Twitter Blue Launches
A couple of weeks ago I reported on new platforms for writers to engage more deeply with readers. And Howard and I talked about it in depth in this month’s podcast. We also talk about the use of subscription platforms for authors to generate revenue from shorter content than e-books.
All of which sets the stage for one of the most – what’s the opposite of hotly anticipated? – events in a long time. Twitter Blue, with a $3 a month price tag, has appeared in the app store. The full details of what features we should expect are yet to be released. Though ALLi’s #indieauthorchat impresario Tim Lewis looks set to be delighted that it may offer an edit button.
New Store for Barnes & Noble
This is a fascinating piece on Barnes and Noble's new store in Kirkland (and a fascinating commentary from Passive Guy). The store opening marks a number of features that clearly demonstrate James Daunt's plans for the chain. First, there is the shift from part time to fewer but full time staff – on a new pay structure that looks more like a career ladder. Then there is the emphasis on local curation of books. This is the one that will most interest indie authors. For years we have struggled to figure out how to get our works into Waterstones, the UK chain now owned by Daunt., Too often “local stock management” meant, it seemed, anything but. And policies changed almost monthly so we never knew where we stood. It would be nice to think that on both sides of the pond we are entering a period of stability.AuthorSHARE will pay royalties on second hand book sales and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
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