Posted on January 28, 2013 in Archive

Become a publishing control-freak


Being content creators and publication producers means that sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the making great books and magazines that we leave little time for the rest of the of the publication process. I say rest of the process because the changing nature of publishing means that we can now get involved in more than just the production aspects of the process. Yes that means we can really let our controlling tendencies run wild.

Empower my publishing!

With new enabling technologies we have the potential to be involved in every aspect of our publication’s life in ways never before possible. Just as desktop publishing changed the way that publications were created, new ways to distribute, sell and market your publications, are changing the very nature of the publishing industry. Both small publishers and the self-publishers are no longer held captive to the whims of middle men when it comes to getting their titles to their customers.


Traditionally, even larger publishers have to engage the services of a distributor to get their titles to retail outlets. The rise of digital publishing and the increasing popularity of the ‘app store’ (of all flavours) has changed this scenario forever. Now a small publisher can distribute their titles worldwide with the signing of a single contract. This levels the playing field so that small and self-publishers can more easily compete with their much, much, much bigger counterparts in terms of geographic reach.


Print magazine publishers understand intimately the complexities of dealing with multiple retailers. Trying to get their titles to the thousands and thousands of newsstands (or news agencies), keep track of the sales and manage the returns is a substantial logistic challenge. The situation with books is only marginally better because of fewer outlets and longer selling times, but the complexities are still very similar. Now switch to digital and the scenario is completely different. Again, establishing sales deals with key app stores provides the small publisher with a retail outlet on every mobile device and desktop. And obviously retailing a digital publication means no warehousing, no shipping, and no returns to worry about.


Coming from a traditional publishing background where publishers sell to wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers, who then sell to customers, the prospect of a small or self publisher being able to retain 70-80% of the retail price of their title sounds like a dream come true. This of course is not a perspective held by the larger publishers. After all they have traditionally controlled more of the process than has been possible for the small guys. But there is a publishing revolution underway. The faster growing section of the industry is the small boutique publisher…basically a couple of guys (or girls) with an idea, some great publishing software and the ability to push their publications to the world for only 20 – 30% of the RRP. The earning potential for these guys is far higher than for the bigger institutions because their overheads are lower, production costs almost non-existent and now they access to the world market.

Roll on the changing of the publishing guard!