Reading up on all the happenings in the publishing industry is one of my favorite activities. And over the last few weeks, there have been a number of interesting developments. I think they all illustrate just how quickly the industry is changing, and indie authors in particular are being offered more and more options.
The first one is that scientists have developed a technique that an predict with 84% accuracy whether or not a book will be a bestseller. According to The Telegraph, a group of computer scientists examined the words and grammar of books they downloaded via Project Gutenberg:
Less successful work tended to include more verbs and adverbs and relied on words that explicitly describe actions and emotions such as “wanted”, “took” or “promised”, while more successful books favoured verbs that describe thought processes such as “recognised” or “remembered”.
However, before people get too excited, one thing to keep in mind is that the books in Project Gutenberg are classics, many of them out of copyright. So the findings may not best reflect books written today.
IndieReader Print Distribution Service
At the beginning of the month, IndieReader launched IndieReader In-Store (IRIS), a program that gives independent authors a chance to get their books in physical bookstores. For $399 per title, an author receives an IndieReader book review and an Edelweiss Digital Review Copy (similar in function to NetGalley), which has the potential to be seen by over 37,000 book industry professionals, including retailers, reviewers, librarians, and publishers.
Free Copyright Books Online
The Telegraph reported that The National Library of Norway put 135,000+ copyright-protected books online for free access. This new, first of its kind program also pays authors and publishers 0.36 Norwegian kroner per page, though that amount will decrease once there are 250,000 books available in the program. It’s an interesting concept that directly competes with new ebook subscription platforms, such as Oyster, Scribd, and Entitle.
Unconventional Retail Channels
Last April, Etsy started allowing users to sell digital goods on the site. Buyers now receive automatic emails with links to their download page after purchasing a digital good on someone’s Etsy store. Bonanza, a site similar to Etsy, has also made the sale of digital goods available on the site, and even cites ebooks as an example of a good to sell. A recent article caught my eye, where one person was speculating whether eBay will bring back digital downloads on its site, to fight its competition. However, a quick check on eBay’s site showed that it’s already possible, and even has screenshots to guide sellers on the process.
Some authors are already using WordPress with plugins like WooCommerce to sell their ebooks on their own sites. There are also book specific sites like Gumroad and Ganxy that let authors sell direct to their readers. But I could see how authors who specialize in niches such as crafting could benefit from a site like Etsy.
What do you think about these new developments? Share your thought in the comments!