Netly: The Third Screen

Sony Wants You To Publish Your Next Book on its E-Store

Posted on: September 28, 2009

Daemon, by Daniel Suarez, was initially self published

Daemon, by Daniel Suarez, was initially self published

Of all the old media businesses jeopardized by the Net, publishing has been hit hardest. And of all the publishing businesses—newspapers, magazines and book publishing among them—the one I’d least like to be running right now is anything having to do with books. After all, the first real business to be launched on the Internet was Amazon, which fired a harpoon into the side of that very business. And now, Amazon is trying to finish off the job with the Kindle, which is making it even more apparent that the days of the old-line publishing houses are numbered.

This shouldn’t be surprising: Over the years, publishing houses stopped doing their jobs—acquiring, editing, marketing and promoting books. One by one, each of these functions was scaled back, and even abandoned. Soon, we will be left with authors, on the one hand, and the sites that sell their stuff on the other. Big, old publishing houses will be completely disintermediated. Doubtless, some companies might also make a business out of acquiring, editing and even marketing—see Tina Brown’s plan here.

Amazon has a platform for self-published authors, but the problem is, it’s a closed platform; if you publish here it’s only available to Kindle owners. So Sony has stepped into the breech and announced today that today it’s opening up its eBook Store, which uses the open ePub standard. That standard, needless to say, runs on all of the Sony e-readers, as well as a variety of other book-reading devices.

Chris Smythe, who directs Sony’s eBook Store in Los Angeles, told me that the site would collaborate with SmashWords and Author Solutions, which currently offer thousands of self-published books. While the author gets to set the price, Sony and the platform vendors take a cut—I’m guessing here, based on what some folks have told me—on the order of 50%. It’s still far better than the deal most authors strike at conventionally publishing houses. Then again, they tend to pay advances, and and self publishing, so far at least, has been a sucker’s bet.

But the tide is definitely starting to turn. Recent history is littered with examples of people who are doing quite well at self publishing, and one of my favorite thrillers of the past year, Daemon, was initially self published.

Sony’s Smythe said that initially, the e-book store would be publishing only new authors. By the end of the year, however, Sony hopes to offer the full, back catalogs of SmashWords and Author Solutions available, too.

1 Response to "Sony Wants You To Publish Your Next Book on its E-Store"

i inspired.. And wants to add my next book here..

i yet don’t know well it’s really possible/not.. yet it’s true i inspired!!

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