In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at what it means for indies that Bookshop.org is coming to the UK.
This weekend sees ALLi's latest Self-publishing Advice Conference. The theme is tools and techniques, and you can find a full line-up of all our expert speakers here. You can register for free to access everything during the conference for three days, or purchase a lifetime access all areas pass to all of our conferences. Or, you can access everything for free during your membership by joining ALLi.
Bookshop.org is Coming to the UK
Bookshop.org has been in the news this year. Their platform seeks to ensure local independent bookstores benefit from online sales. In a year when online orders of print books have been big news, this has provided a vital service. It has enabled at least some local high street presence in a trend dominated by Amazon. Bookshop.org also powers Indiebound, the much more familiar and established name in this field.
This week we heard that the platform is coming to the UK. And the UK Board contains some of the biggest names in indie publishing. Not indie authors though. We are very fortunate at ALLi that Ingram Spark is one of our partner members. As a result, our members were quickly able to clarify exactly what this means for UK authors. For books to be eligible to be bought through Bookshop.org they need to be in the Gardners catalogue. Books published through Ingram Spark are eligible and regularly carried by Gardners, but that is not guaranteed. The final say rests with Gardners. Thank you to Andy Bronley from Ingram Spark for his help.
What’s on at Saturday’s Self-publishing Advice Conference?
So many events have been learning how to go digital this year. Of course, ALLi are old hands at it. We’ve been holding online conferences full of expert speakers and exciting panels for several years. And this weekend sees our latest Self-publishing Advice Conference. Usually it brings live action from one of the world’s big book fairs (Frankfurt or DBW, Digital Book World around this time) but this year everyone's online. Bradley Metrock from DBW is bringing hightlights from DBW Global and the theme for this conference is “Tools and Tech for Indie Authors” and the agenda is here. I'm hugely excited at the prospect of a whole weekend of learning from the best. You even get the dubious privilege of listening to me talking – I'll be talking about creativity.
Are Indie Authors being left out of Covid support?
For the last 7 months I have sporadically run stories about how Covid has impacted writers. This impact has included everything from the effect on physical book launches through to the effect of loneliness on our mental health. In recent weeks in the UK the arts industries as a whole have been vocal about Covid. As many organizations and individuals have struggled, government has seemed to offer little support. This week, that came to a head as an advertisement seemed to suggest ballet dancers retrain for “cyber”.
But while feelings have been running high, this week we had concrete data on the actions taken to protect the arts. Arts Council England released figures for the Cultural Recovery Fund. This is the fund set up to help everyone in the Arts. It has now made more than £250m in grant awards. So where has the money gone? Well, £3m has gone to literature. Just over 1%. And while some of that has gone to indie publishers, I wonder if you can guess how much went to indie authors? Or organizations set up to support them?
Meanwhile, Mark Williams highlights a more positive impact. In Canada, ebook platform De Marque has received $5m funding. De Marque are the company that purchased Feedbooks. And the recent funding round has been made possible, Williams reports, because of the 25% plus ebook growth during lockdown.
The Scale of Subscription
Williams has also highlighted a fascinating story about subscription from Scandinavia. Unlike many such stories, this focuses not on Sweden but Norway. Seven leading Norwegian writers have taken on lawyers to try and get their publishers to put their work on as may eat as much as you like platforms as possible. This is a very interesting development.
Meanwhile, outside the book world, there are some big streaming ambitions. Netflix is aiming to reach 500 million subscribers by 2030. That’s interesting but also expected. What’s really eye-catching is the announcement that Disney is making a major structural move towards streaming. The company’s Disney Plus has been a big story this past year, driven in no small part by the massive success of Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian. One of the problems I think we still have in the book business is that we think of subscription as a small part of our business. It’s vital that we start to pay more attention to other creative industries where it was once small. Because it no longer is. It’s huge.Bookshop.org is coming to the UK, and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months.
Society of Young Publishers, 9-13 Nov
Over to You
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