With the cultural heat generated by the iPad and the continued rise of the Kindle and other e-readers, the commercial impact of e-books has exploded. As such, it’s become easier than ever for unknown authors to self-publish their works, which has major publishers shaking in their cubicles
. Now, it begs the question: Will e-books do for independent authors what YouTube has done for independent filmmakers
New Self-Publishing Services:
This October, two of the top bookstore chains launched services that allow authors to sell their work through e-bookstores. Borders’ program
provides self-publishers with an ISBN and a distribution channel through leading e-book stores at prices set by the writer. Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!
allows indie scribes to distribute digitally through BN.com and Barnes & Noble's eBookstore. Both companies are attempting to compete with Amazon’s Digital Text Platform
, through which authors can upload their texts for sale in the Kindle store. With self-published authors now sold through all the major booksellers and being read on the same devices as books published through publishing houses, the thin line that separates the amateur from the professional author is fading away by the day.
With all these new opportunities, amateur authors are flocking to conventions focused on self-publishing e-authors. These include November’s second annual Self Publishing Book Expo
(SPBE), December’s eBook Summit
, and even a “virtual” event, the Self-Publisher’s Online Conference
. Before these types of events existed, unrepresented authors often were lost or marginalized
at traditional forums like Book Expo America
. But it’s unlikely that these authors will remain unknown for much longer, as the number of self-published titles released last year was up 181%
from the previous year. That’s exponentially more than traditional book publishing, where real growth is a matter of nostalgia. Of course, if these conferences want to capture coverage beyond niche trade publications, they may want to consult with the folks behind Comic-Con
Recognizing the growth opportunity in this area, existing online services are now expanding internationally. Lulu
, a giant in the self-publishing industry, recently announced plans to extend its network to France
. Amazon is also thinking globally about its self-publishing operations, having broadened its reach first to the UK, then around the world
. Meanwhile, Germany’s answer to Lulu, a company called XinXii
, has set its sights on the English and French markets. Currently, books written for niche audiences
enjoy the greatest success with self-publishing, so these multilingual companies will be more impactful in local markets at first. But, with even big name authors like business guru Seth Godin turning to self-publishing
, an international breakout hit may be only a matter of time.