This last weekend saw my favourite event in the sporting calendar, The Barkley Marathons. I won't go on (again) about the background to and history of this remarkable event, which has (almost) no media presence, no prize, and for which the entry fee is a licence pate and a shirt. The event is most famous for the fact 15 people have finished it in 30 years, and no one came close this year. As the founder puts it “You don't know what your limits are until you attempt something you can't do.” In our age of fake pseudopositivity, that's a wonderful line.
Findaway Voices and Smashwords Link Up
Not a week goes by without us hearing something about the growing importance and opportunity presented by audiobooks. This week's news is particularly exciting, as Smashwords partners with Findaway Voices to enable audiobook sales across their distribution network. Smashwords has often struggled to keep up with newer players when it comes to new developments, and this is no exception: Draft2Digital got there months ago. But they do usually get there, and for those of us who can remember the days before Kindle, having them as a competitive player on the scene feels reassuring and important.
Overdrive: One Billion Books Borrowed
Another growth area I've talked about a lot, which hasn't generated the same excitement as audiobooks within indie circles, is ebook borrowing through libraries. The biggest player in this field, Overdrive, pushes books out to some 40,000 libraries globally, and we can access that reach through their various partnerships. It is an indication of how large that reach is that this week Overdrive passed the 1 billion books borrowed mark.
Piracy, Coding, and Journalism
In not so great news, digital piracy is on the rise, though ebooks do not feature on the “most pirated” podium (not sure if that is a good or a bad thing), according to a new survey that tracked 300 billion instances of piracy over a year – a number that puts Overdrive's success into a perspective of sorts.
And back to better things. You will know how much importance I place on the format our ebooks come in. It matters from the point of view of ensuring the lifespan of our work. It also matters for the accessibility of our work and the plain old experience we give our readers. Well, Rakuten Kobo (in association with Booknet Canada) has just awarded a prize for ebook coding, for producing an accessible and aesthetically-pleasing version of a very basic, poorly-coded epub that competitors were given. The winner, Katy Mastrocola, walked away with $2,500, but we all walk away with the lesson that every part of our ebook matters, and that includes the code.
As a journalist, I like to make sure we don't forget the short-form non-fiction side of being an indie, which is why I've followed Medium‘s journey as a paying market. As journeys go, it's been more a case of, well, short-form, so far, but the latest news is that a team is reading all content submitted through its partner programme and singling out the best for editorial bonuses, which seem to be for $100, in addition to engagement-based payments.
Ask ALLi Conference
ALLi's latest 24-hour extravaganza of an online conference will be held on Saturday 14 April , coinciding with the conclusion of the London Book Fair. You can register here so you don't miss out on any of the details of this fabulous free event, and browse previous events here.#Authors - like to catch up with this week's top #news stories from the world of #selfpublishing? Our succinct round-up by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway will fill you in! @agniecszkasshoes Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Indieathon March 1-31 [online]
London Book Fair, Apr 10-12 [London] ALLi Online Conference for Authors, Apr 14 [online] Zurich Writers' Workshop, Apr 13-15 [Zurich, Switzerland] Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival Apr 21 [Gloucestershire] Self-publishing Conference, Apr 28, [Leicester]
Dublin Writers' Conference, June 22-24 [Dublin}