In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at Netgalley's expansion into audio and Gardners' purchase of Bertrams' warehousing.
The write-up of last week's #indieauthorchat on twitter tackles the tricky question of prcising strategy. Tonight's edition (8pm UK time, 3pm Eastern, Noon Pacific) is on the absolutely vital subject of avoiding vanity presses. I'd also like to draw attention to the Women's Poetry Prize, which has just opened for entries. It honours Rebecca Swift, founder of The Literary Consultancy and a great champion of all literary voices.
Distribution: Netgalley Goes Audio and Warehousing
It feels like a long time since we talked about Netgalley. Once the shiny new player in the market, the site has fallen out of use with indies. This is in large part because of the often prohibitive costs. This mean that indie Netgalley users tended to be collectives rather than individuals. But many authors have also been working on developing their own mailing lists. And with many also having street teams of beta readers and early reviewers, it was hard to see what the benefit of something like Netgalley would be. Now Netgalley is expanding its offering. It will give authors the chance to offer reviewers advance audiobooks. This is interesting given the growth of audio. But I’m not sure it’s a compelling reason to sign up.
Firmly in the world of the physical book, the next move has been made in the warehousing and distribution business. While Ingram have been expanding their real estate, Gardners have now made their move. They have bought the physical assets of stricken Bertrams, and will be reopening at least one depot, in East Anglia in the UK.
Is Publishing Thriving or Struggling? It’s Mixed
Publishing is a word that covers a lot of things. So you wouldn’t expect there to be a single picture of how “publishing” has coped during the coronavirus crisis. And there isn’t one. Latest figures from the Association of American Publishers show a 12.1% fall in net sales across the board. One sector that is absolutely not struggling is comics, which have seen growth take the size of the North American market to $1.2bn.
One part of the book world that won’t provide stats but which has, predictably, not gone away during Covid is piracy. The latest site to come under scrutiny is Kiss Library. A lawsuit brings together the might of Amazon, Penguin Random House, and leading figures from the Authors Guild. The site, and others under the same umbrella, sells books at over the odds prices without giving a cut to authors or publishers. The most recent high profile cases have focused either on sites distributing illegitimate free copies of books or selling scraped content through legitimate sellers. That said, of course pirate sellers aren’t new. But such concerted action by such big players is.
Frankfurt’s Online Offering Targets Audio
The deadline for pitching a digital session for Frankfurt is the 31st of this month. But they have already started releasing parts of the schedule. Two of the big themes for the online part of the hybrid fair stand out. The first is academic publishing. This is mainly of interest because my day job is in academia and I’ve seen what massive changes there have been this year to research and teaching – and very few have so far fed into the publishing industry. The other is, no surprise, audio. Audio continues to be the darling sector. This week saw another set of stellar figures from Storytel to reinforce that. So it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the industry has to say about the sector’s future.
Open Letters and Diversity in Publishing
The recent weeks have been politically charged. And the publishing industry has been a part of the society-wide debate that’s unfolding. This past week started with the printing of a letter regarding freedom of speech in Harpers, signed by several leading authors. That led to several counter letters from various sectors claiming that advocates of free speech failed to acknowledge the lack of access many minorities had to platforms where their speech could be heard. Nathan Bransford covers the sequence of events on his blog. The latest post script is the resignation of one of the signatories, Bari Weiss, from her post at the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly looks at the impact that #publishingpaidme has had. The hashtag, started by black science fiction writer L L McKinney, shines a light on the inequalities in advances black authors receive.Netgalley expands to include audio, Gardners reopens a Bertrams warehouse, and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
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Frankfurter Buchmesse, 14-18 Oct [Frankfurt/online]
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