In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at Libro.fm's international rollout and StreetLib's partnership with Dremscape.
Do have a listen to the new self-publishing news podcast. Howard and I have been talking about the way the legal cases that are being brought against Open AI as well as the FTC investigation. We've also been considering whether Meta's new Threads social media platform will be a viable alternative to Twitter.
Libro.fm Rolls Out Audiobook Platform Internationally that uses the Bookshop-org Model to Benefit Local Stores
Six years ago, I reported on a new company called Libro.fm that was offering audiobook subscriptions. I haven’t had anything further to say since then, and it would be easy to assume that the company had gone the way of many others, including the much larger company whose launch I also reported on at the column, Bonnier’s Type and Tell. but Libro.fm has kept going. And this now, the social venture (as it positions itself) has taken a fascinating turn.In the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, alongside existing North American and other territories, Libro.fm is following the Bookshop.org model. That is to say, readers will be able to use the platform to buy audiobooks (you can either buy a la carte or by monthly subscription) and support their local bookstore at the same time.
I say local. At the moment, the scheme’s stores seem to be fairly widely dispersed. But it claims to have partnerships that allow audiobook readers to select from 2200 independent bookstores worldwide. I look forward to seeing how it progresses. And I hope it turns into something that will benefit indie booksellers and indie writers.
StreetLib Partners With Dreamscape to Offer Expanded Audiobook Distribution Options
StreetLib is one of the most widely used distribution platforms for indie writers. And like similar platforms, it is on a mission to expand its offering to authors to become more of a one stop shop. Its latest step on this journey is to partner with audiobook producer Dreamscape. The move will offer access to StreetLib’s distribution network for writers who use Dreamscape while offering those who want to use StreetLib’s distribution platform another option for producing audiobooks.
Independent Publishers Guild to Offer AI Training
I have always tried to be explicit about the main reason why I cover technology so frequently and so thoroughly in this column. Knowledge of innovation matters. Sometimes that innovation is transformative. Other times it comes and goes. Sometimes its impact is positive. Other times it’s a right royal pain in the neck for us. Whichever way the dice roll, though, it matters to know about these potential changes. Because you don’t want to miss an opportunity or a threat. But also because there are lots of people out there who will use the words wantonly to season their marketing sauce. And the only way to protect yourself from charlatans without missing any boats that might be waiting to sail is to understand enough to know when those words are being used as bait.
In other words, my main reason for covering technology is to give you the tools you need to navigate the industry safely and effectively. That’s why I’m always pleased to see educational initiatives around tech. The latest announcement of such an initiative comes from the Independent Publishers’ Guild. That’s the UK organisation that represents small presses. The IPG is putting together an AI training programme for small publishers in early October.
It seems as though the mini course will focus on how-to capitalise on opportunities that AI has created. There will be a secondary emphasis on threats and how to mitigate them. I look forward to reporting on the content in more detail come October.
Global Comix Receives $6.5m to Improve AI Offering
Meanwhile, this feels like an appropriate story to pair with the above. Because while a lot of the publishing industry is still holding summits and workshops, and will no doubt eventually issue white papers, other parts are getting on and working with AI. Global Comix is one company doing that. They have just raised $6.5m. Global Comix CEO Chris Carter (not the same Chris Carter who created the X Files, sadly) says the investment will go into AI. This will improve the experience for readers, he suggests, by making it easier to break into previously underserved markets. And it will make life easier for creators, by improving “workflow and productivity.” This is a company that clearly sees benefits to using technology to enhance every aspect of an industry. Its digital-first focus is a way to introduce people to comics without the expense of print. This use of AI to assist in the creation of digital products that test the potential of unexplored and underserved markets feels like a great use case for AI. We'll see how much IPG pick up on initiatives like this.Libro.fm internationally rolls out a Bookshop.org style platform that lets audiobook readers support local bookstores, and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway… Click To Tweet