There are a lot of exciting developments in technology right now. One of the latest is blockchain technology, which allows digital information to be distributed but not copied.
One startup, Publica, aims to bring the blockchain to publishing. I recently had the chance to learn more about it from Josef Marc, the CEO of Publica.
Q: What will Publica do for authors?
A: Advances on revenues in new Book ICO’s (similar to crowdfunding but tailored for books). That practice virtually disappeared in the Amazon age and authors need it back.
Social networking with a professional edge, e.g., treating books as the projects they are. Project managers, collaborators, publicists, marketers, printers, and all the rest of the people and businesses that make books great and help authors reach the readers who want their books.
Authors need an ecosystem with simple, trustworthy ecommerce that looks more like a LinkedIn than a 50-page contract of fine print that serves lawyers better than authors.
New business models. Every new book is like a startup. The business model is as important as the creative writing and one size doesn’t fit all.
In one easy example, readers can’t pass traditional ebooks along to their friends and colleagues for fear that the publisher might miss out on revenues. This stifles word-of-mouth marketing and forces all sales to unrealistic retail pricing. Ebooks languishing in an e-library don’t help anyone except the minority of readers who want to re-read them.
Q: What will Publica do for readers?
A: Crowdfunding in creative ways. Whatever the readers, authors, institutions, and project managers can dream up in their business models to include their fans and readers who care and want to participate.
After reading, resell ebooks on an open market. This is also good for authors because they can get a portion of the resale on Publica.
In one easy example, university textbooks are expensive and students sell them back at a fraction of their purchase price. Universities don’t need that commerce, they do it because they have to, so the courses can happen on time.
At Publica, authors, project managers, and institutions can set creative new terms for book resales including a portion back to the book project or its successor (fund the next edition). Ebook resale market prices are then up to the seller (reader) and buyer (next reader).
Q: Why does publishing need Publica?
A: Amazon and iTunes ebooks changed publishing for online retail but left the rest of the ecosystem to others. The online marketplace responded with many sites and services.
None of them have taken up the blockchain opportunity. Publica expects those sites and services to simply adopt Publica as their easy gateway to the benefits of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain revolution.
Q: How will Publica work?
A: At Publica, readers can resell ebooks on an open market. Authors can set creative new terms for ebook resales including a portion back to themselves or their next book project. They can promote word-of-mouth marketing, host a shop on their own site, boost their fan clubs and book clubs, etc. Opportunities abound.
Q: Will authors in other countries be able to use Publica?
A: Publishing is a global industry that crosses all borders, and should probably ignore them. Especially in ecommerce. Focus on languages instead because that’s where authors and their readers live.
So, Publica will be a multilingual platform, online, for social networking with a commercial twist. Book projects are collaboration and money changes hands. Small money, pro bono work, medium and big money. Think of it like a LinkedIn with ecommerce built-in, designed only for the publishing economy.
Q: When will Publica launch?
A: In early 2018, Publica will unveil its free ereader app for all common devices. It does double-duty as a digital wallet so book projects can take advantage of the blockchain revolution, easily, no fuss. It’s an ereader when you’re reading, and an ecommerce gateway when you’re doing business with all the security and values that the blockchain revolution offers now and promises for publishing’s future.