Some weeks life just ticks over. OK, wait, I don't think that has ever happened to me, but this week in particular has been remarkable as I officially joined the world of the start-up thanks to Oxford University Innovation. What is most interesting about this is just how quickly things develop thanks to the use of constant A/B testing to try, then improve, try again improve again. It's something I haven't done enough of in my writing and will now endeavour to find ways to do more, and if even I can come to this conclusion, maybe one or two less cynical readers might think how to get more regular feedback.
Global Publishing News
For many of us, Mark Williams has been a go-to source of essential information about international publishing for the best part of a decade. Based in West Africa, Mark has turned the embrace of a “going wide” approach into a finely-tuned art, and he has been ahead of the curve more times than I can count when it comes to sniffing out the best new platforms like Streetlib and Pronoun. Whilst realising this actually sounds like the introduction to an obituary, I am delighted to say it is actually the start of an announcement that Mark is now Editor-in-Chief of The New Publishing Standard, a new publication dedicated to a holistic view of global publishing.
Says Mark, “As per today's post in TNPS on the just-ended Nairobi Book Fair, there are today more internet users in Africa than there are in North America. While we understandably fret about our KU page reads and whether B&N will still be here next week, the global publishing markets are vibrant and growing, blossoming while we look the other way. The New Publishing Standard will help us keep up.”
Indie Author Fringe
Where did the time go? it's under a fortnight to 2017's final Indie Author Fringe, in conjunction with Frankfurt Book Fair. As always, ALLi brings you 24 hours of the very best speakers free online. You can see the full speaker line-up here, and find details of how to follow things throughout the day here. And on the subject of events, if you happen to be in the market for an agent, Writer's Digest and London Book Fair have teamed up to create a full-on Pitch Slam in November as part of an otherwise very interesting looking Writer's Summit (their apostrophe).
Ebook News: More Sales and Free Reading
Having spent the past however long providing salt for people to take pinches of while reading headlines about the decline of ebooks, a similar caveat should apply to this week's shock news from the Association of American Publishers that ebook sales were up 2.4% in May. A far more reliable indicator of the way the market is going was the 43% increase in audiobook downloads. I love the No Shelf Required website. It is a brilliant source of indie-friendly information based around libraries. Now they are part of a follow-up to last year's exciting Free Reading Zone project in Croatia. In connection with ebook platform Odilo, they will be turning the whole Croatian city of Opatija into a giant e-library. Anyone geographically within the city will be able to borrow and read any ebook wherever they are, bringing the library to the reader.
Digital Publishing in Academia
The non-fiction market is a hugely lucrative one for indies. And no part of the publishing industry is in more need of reform than academic publishing, so it is always worth keeping an eye on those areas where tiny indie steps are being taken into the territory, like these two stories. First, a fascinating comparative study of ebooks in academic libraries in Sweden and Lithuania shows that the factors driving the adoption of ebooks can vary greatly according to local factors (something that would I'm sure resonate with TNPS). And this is a very interesting development at Stanford, where the University Press's peer review of journal articles to be published online will include not just academic reviewers, but reviewers offering feedback on the way the article is presented for digital publication.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Bookbaby Independent Authors Conference, Nov 3-5 [Philadelphia] 20 Books Vegas, Nov 3-5 [Las Vegas] The Author Business Conference, 4 November [Manchester] W3C Publishing Summit, Nov 9-10 [San Francisco] WriteCon, Nov 11 [Zurich, Switzerland]
20 Books London, Feb 3-4 [London]
Self-publishing Conference, Apr 28, [Leicester]