Dorchester Publishing Goes All Digital

I was away yesterday and only picked up on the news that independent publisher Dorchester Publishing is to switch its entire business model to e-books and print on demand (for select titles). Dorchester was a publisher of mass market paperbacks, particularly romance and thriller novels. Dorchester will continue to publish and have books printed traditionally for its book club lines, but in essence, they are now a digital publisher, and this is an astonishing and sudden switch which I believe belies more than Dorchester is willing to say about the 25% decline in mass paperback sales last year in the USA.
According to yesterday’s Publishers Weekly piece, Dorchester Publishing has already let their field sales team of seven go, with Tim DeYoung remaining on as VP of Sales and Marketing. It is a dramatic move for a publisher like Dorchester to switch their entire model of business, and it strikes me as more a desperate move in desperate times than a carefully executed business strategy. A move of this measure calls for proper business realignment in planned and phased stages, with the introduction of skilled professionals in e-book marketing and digitization at the helm, and I simply don’t see any evidence of this.
I think we will be hearing a lot more about this over the coming days and weeks, and in particular, from many Dorchester authors with contracts tying them in over the next year or two. I am also expecting to hear the US Authors Guild make a response on this too, probably early next week.
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