Where’s the digital version of Steve Waugh new book?
Former Australian cricketer Steve Waugh has announced that his new book, The Meaning of Luck: Stories of Learning, Leadership and Love will be sold exclusively through Big W and selected Woolworths stores from 15 August.
The book is being self-published, with the help of his editor Geoff Armstrong, who worked with Waugh on his last 12 publications.
In an interview with Books + Publishing, Waugh said after writing so many books, self-publishing felt like a natural extension from the writing process.
His decision to publish exclusively with Woolworths Limited has sparked an interesting, and to some extent, heated conversation amongst industry professionals and commentators.
But what is most interesting is that there has been no mention of who will publish a digital copy of the book, and no one seems to have even noticed!
The only reference to a digital version in this article is a perfunctory sentence tacked on to the end of a paragraph about pricing of the book (which is yet to be announced).
It merely says more details about a digital book will be released closer to publication date.
Big W doesn’t sell digital books through their website, so who will have the rights to the digital version?
No one seems to have asked that question. Instead, everyone else is focused on where the print book will be sold.
President of the Australian Booksellers Association, Patricia Genat described Waugh’s decision to work exclusively with Big W as disappointing.
Her reaction to the partnership reeks of indignation.
She said Waugh was being exclusive instead of inclusive and has missed an opportunity to harness the selling power of independent and franchise bookshops.
In doing so, she claimed that Waugh is excluding 60% of the buying market.
Surely a huge majority of the ‘book buying market’ visits a Woolworths store every now and then?
I’m surprised that the ABA is only concerned with print. If they’re worried about book buyers being left out, then they should be calling for Waugh to publish digitally.
It’s not only ironic, it’s simply worrying that they don’t realise that digital readers make up a growing percentage of the book buying market.
The only person who has considered the sale from a global perspective is literary agent, Mary Cunnane who raised the question of whether or not the book will be available internationally.
She also noted that while Waugh’s deal with Big W has the potential to be a game changer for him, it wouldn’t work for everyone.
Waugh’s status as a celebrity gives him a certain power that most writers don’t possess. Due to his fame, he is in the right position to self-publish and sign unique contracts, but it wouldn’t have the same results for ordinary writers.
It seems the industry is so hung up on the exclusivity of the sale that no one has even considered the absence of news about where people will be able to find a digital copy.
Are we so behind the times in Australia that we think print sales are the be all and end all for book revenue?
It will be interesting to see where Waugh decides to publish his eBook.
Will he stick with the exclusive nature and opt for a small publisher? Will he decide to complement the limited edition he is selling through his website and sell it himself? If so, which ebook creation service will he use?
Or will he simply follow the money and publish with Amazon?
What do you think?