In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at How CoVid 19 is changing the way the book industry works.
ALLi has created a resource that seeks to answer any questions you may have about Covid 19, from concerns about the impact on events to ideas and news about how the services we rely on are responding.
Writers Respond to Covid 19
Writers have always been quick to respond in times of crisis. At this time we have seen a number of particularly lovely and spontaneous actions of altruism. One such is Lizzie Huxley-Jones' project, Lockdown Kidlit, which provides a place to support authors with new books out during lockdown, who will miss out on their physical launch. Another wonderful initiative is a £330,000 emergency fund set up jointly by the Society of Authors, ALCS, Royal Literary Fund and English PEN. There's a whole host of virtual book tours taking place as authors demonstrate how adaptable we are to doing things online. Even prizes are going online – the Rathbones Folio Prize joining the Selfies.
The rest of the industry responds
If you've been online, you can't have missed the fact that books are a key part of the way many people are attempting to cope with being alone in their homes. We know books are wonderful and how much of a force for good they can be. But never uncontroversial James Daunt, owner of Waterstones in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the US, came under fire for taking that a little too far. At a time when all non-essential shops in the UK are being closed, Daunt argued that bookstores be classed as essential. This didn't go down well with people concerned for the welfare of staff and customers – who weren't sure quite how a book bought from a physical location was more special than one that arrives on your screen or your doorstep. It's as though the world is waking up to our quarrelling!
Some publishers have made large parts of their digital catalogues available for free. This is especially the case for academic publishers – now university libraries have closed, access to the tools for research, as well as enrichment, has become a pressing issue. Harvard have opened up their Loeb Classical Library, for example, while Cambridge University Press have unlocked many of their riches.
And one part of the sector we rely on as indies, Ingram Spark, HAS been classified as essential and will remain open for print on demand. In part this is down to their warehousing and distribution, but also, as Robin Cutler says:
“Our operations serve the general public through the manufacturing and distribution of reading, educational, and other book materials. These materials are vital to the education and well-being of a population who are asked to remain at home. It has long been known that reading books can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which is being experienced by so many in this difficult time”
Meanwhile Book Expo is the latest fair to be called off – apparently only postponed until July. Hmm. Not putting that in the events list just yet!
Questions over Bookstat & Amazon Changes
Not everything has been about Covid 19, though. Data Guy is back in the news with his data company BookStat. It seems the book data guru's data might not be as good as he reckons. His weekly estimates can be out by 2000 and more in either direction. Maybe the day will come when we have the really accurate and nuanced data we need. And Amazon have changed their author offering. It seems they have withdrawn their Author Rank as part of their author central feature.
PublishDrive Goes Fully Multi
PublishDrive will now publish ebooks, audiobooks, and print as part of one package. And once you have set yourself up to publish in all three formats, you will then be able to use PublishDrive's Savant marketing AI,as well as their direct Amazon marketing and other packages.How CoVid 19 is changing the way the book industry works and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Over to You
Let us know about great online events of interest to indies, and novel ways of moving what you do online in the comments below.
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The Selfies, 30 Mar [online, via Zoom]
Interesting article, Dan, thank you.
I think the response of the indie author community has been great, with offerings of price reductions on services, free ebooks and authors doing video readings.
And this is a great time to get in touch with your email list. I contacted my subscribers to just ask how they were doing, and I had such a great response, with people telling me their stories, asking after my wellbeing and just generally being thankful that I got in touch with them.
Besides writing books I also teach creative writing, mostly with young adults and in schools but with adults too. Obviously all my workshops are cancelled at the moment, so I am in the process of adapting my workshops for the online environment and putting them up on my website. It is all there for free, accessible for anyone who wants it. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to the help that others are offering, but I hope some find it useful.
I hope it is okay to put the link here?
Thanks, Ken! And yes, a very good time for our email lists to become places of comfort and community