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Self-publishing News: DigitalBookWorld Stands With Libraries

Self-publishing News: DigitalBookWorld Stands with Libraries

Dan Holloway head and shoulders photo

ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway

In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at DigitalBookWorld banning MacMillan over publishing's library fees debacle. 

 It's not often that typography is in the mainstream media. But this week, fonts formed the basis of an internet meme. Nothing better brings out people’s character than their attitudes to typeface. Times New Roman seems to have won the battle of the fonts this time.  And as Brexit finally happened, a literary furore broke out over the 50 pence piece minted to commemorate. Its inscription was stamped without an Oxford comma, sparking outrage from Philip Pullman. Writing, it seems, is always relevant!


DigitalBookWorld Bans MacMillan Over Their Fees to Libraries

In the two years since it rebooted, DigitalBookWorld has made substantial waves and marked itself out as the go-to conference for the cutting edge of both the traditional and indie scene. ALLi proudly teamed up with it last year.

This week, DigitalBookWorld has made the biggest waves yet. It has announced that Big 5 publisher Pan MacMillan is not welcome at this year’s event on 14-16 September. This is in direct response to MacMillan’s position as first mover in publishers’ war on libraries. No employees of the company will be allowed to speak at this year's DigitalBookWorld so long as the pricing policy which sees libraries have to pay large sums for limited use newly-published ebooks remains in place. This is a dispute which is not just hotting up, but in which people in the industry are taking clear stands. Expect more news!

And to show just how strong their commitment to libraries is, DigitalBookWorld have launched a library scholarship. This will provide 25 free passes to the event for librarians.

More audio growth

Audio is still very much in the news. This week that comes thanks to RB Media, who have announced that, through their audio channel they are the largest audiobook publisher in the world. They published 6500 audiobooks in 2019 on Audiobooks.com and achieved 14 million hours of listening. This is significant given the news we broke over Christmas. That was when RB Media’s parent company, the equity company KKR, purchased Overdrive from Rakuten. It’s clear that something serious is afoot behind the scenes. It will tie together audio, ebook, and libraries. Exactly what their next step is will be fascinating to see.

American Dirt: Is Something Rotten in the State of Publishing?

It’s fair to say that traditional publishing’s diversity issue has dominated the literary news so far this year. In January, it was the Romance Writers of America under scrutiny.

This week, it has been Flatiron Press, publishers of American Dirt. The issue has been around the way the book, a thriller focused on people fleeing Mexico for the US, was sold. In a bid to create the next Great American Novel, publicists, erm, overplayed the author’s own personal history, leading to allegations of exploitation and silencing of Latinx voices to the benefit of a white author writing for a white audience. The reason I am including the story here is what appears to me to be the root cause of the publisher’s questionable actions. A seven figure advance. When you pay that, you have to make your book a success. And that leads bad places. Yet another tightrope we don’t have to walk as indies.

Amazon: $1 trillion and other news

It’s fair to say that this has been a landmark week for Amazon. Many start-up tech companies dream of the day they might become a unicorn (worth $1 billion). This week Amazon notched up the kind of figures most of us can’t imagine as they achieved a market valuation of over $1 trillion.

Still on the subject of Amazon, and going back to libraries, Nate has a question for you over at the Digital Reader. He wants to know where the rumours about Amazon figures showing libraries are hurting ebook sales come from. If you have first or second hand knowledge of such figures, Nate wants to hear from you. He is, of course, expecting tumbleweeds. Which would raise the question just where the rumours did come from.

DigitalBookWorld bans MacMillan over library charges and Amazon tops $1 trillion market cap and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy… Click To Tweet

Over to You

How much thought do you give to getting your books into libraries? Let us know in the comments below.

Upcoming Conferences and Events


Poets for the planet, 8 Feb[London] San Francisco Writers' Conference, 13-16 Feb [San Francisco]

MARCH 2020

London Book Fair, 10-12 Mar [London]

APRIL 2020

Self-publishing Conference, 25 Apr [University of Leicester] Short story course, 2 Apr – Sep (6 workshops) [London]


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Author: Sacha Black

Sacha Black is a bestselling and competition-winning author. She writes the popular YA Fantasy Eden East novels and a series of non-fiction books that are designed to help writers develop their craft. Sacha is also a developmental editor, wife and mum. Website: www.sachablack.com


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I’m getting sick and tired of all the people talking like MacMillian’s DELAY on how many books a given library can have is being treated like an absolute BAN on ever having as many copies as they want. Don’t want to pay $10 a ticket for a movie? You WAIT for it to get to sub-run. Don’t want to pay $20 for a just-released video? You WAIT until it gets to the $5 bin. Don’t want to pay $25 for a just-released hardcover? You WAIT until some read-it-once-and-sell-it-offs get done with it and it starts showing up in resale shops/sites.

    Oh, but when it comes to ebooks, everybody’s pissing and whining that they can’t have it FIRST and FREE. There’s an old saying that I first learned in technical writing, but applies to almost everything: “Good, fast, cheap. Pick two.” If you want good books, and you want free books, don’t expect to get them first (fast).

  2. I am on Amazon, but I did go with Draft2Digital who now has ties in with some libraries and Ingram Spark, who is the big one for libraries. Because I spent most of my childhood in a library reading, I’m pro library and keeping them stocked with digital and physical books. I’d be all for the buy one get one free for libraries on all my books simply to make them more affordable for the limited budgets they have to acquire new reading material.

    As for MacMillian, they need to work with the system, no break it like they are doing. As more mid-list authors discover that they can self-publish and earn more by doing it all themselves, they are losing good authors to the indie world. When you make them do their own marketing, they are learning a skill that will keep them at the level they are in with that small contract when they leave you. The big publishers are losing their iron grip on the book industry as more and more indies are rising to the top of the heap, easily competing with the traditional published authors. These are authors that they turned down because they didn’t ‘fit’ into what they were looking for at the time. As the indies slowly take over the top ten positions, the traditional publishers are going to have to change or go the way of the dinosaurs.

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