Popping Over To The Co-op For An e-book?

Successful self-publishing authors have been around for many years and here on POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing we have looked at many of the varied solutions services authors can use. What is very clear about self-published authors is often their ability and need to be innovative in the marketing of their books and how quickly they have utilised the platforms of digital and online publishing. In many ways, the difficulties self-published authors have in gaining widespread print distribution and bookstore shelf space has resulted in this adversity being turned into an opportunity and advantage over authors published by commercial publishers. While the commercial publishing world debates, posits, and plans about e-formats, pricing and the effects of Digital Rights Management, the cream of self-published authors have long learned how to extract the maximum reach and sales potential from e-book editions of their work.

Are we seeing the first signs that authors commercially published are biting back in their own innovative way?
Book View Café is a cooperative site created by a group of writers (currently 29), who want to take advantage of the internet’s possibilities for reaching a wider audience and to distribute their work directly to their readers. No, the authors who make up Book View Café are not a raggle-taggle of bohemian self-published authors. They have all been published by various independent and commercial publishers. In fact one the fundamental requirements for an author to become a member of Book View Café is that have followed the traditional route of publishing and have at least one work of fiction published by a mainstream publisher. The e-books available to purchase at the Book View Café are a mix of out of print books and new original work from many established and award-winning authors. The e-books are available in PDF format , which can be used on the Kindle, Sony e-Reader and the recently released Nook, as well as the Epub and Mobi. Here is piece from their press release. The Book View Café stress they are not a publisher, but, instead, a co-op bookstore where authors bring their work to sell.

“…the publishing world is gripped by unprecedented upheaval. In the middle of industry revolution, what’s a working author to do?

For the authors of Book View Cafe, the answer is band together and take charge. This group of twenty-six award-winning and best-selling authors have elected to by-pass traditional publishing and bring out their latest work directly on Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s eReader.

All professionally published, and many currently under contract with traditional New York firms such as Random House, Tor Books and Simon & Schuster, the Book View Cafe authors first came together in 2008 to create bookviewcafe.com, a destination website for online fiction. Armed with a century’s worth of experience in all aspects of publishing, members include multiple-award-winning authors like Ursula K. Le Guin and Vonda N. McIntyre, bestsellers like Sarah Smith and Laura Anne Gilman, and new talents like Seanan McGuire.

Once the main site was established, the authors formed Book View Press to take their titles out onto the wider Internet world.”

The fact that no outside publishing house is involved with the Book View Café, and the profits go directly to the authors, suggests many other commercial published authors may be inclined to withhold electronic publishing rights to their books in the coming years if publishers don’t quickly grasp the nettle and fully embrace the emergence of the e-book market. The lure of low-cost and increased profits may be too much of an incentive not to sell directly to the reading public through co-operatives like the Book View Café started in 2008. According to Project Manager, Sarah Zettel:

“Ebooks give us a fantastic opportunity to bring our best work straight to the readers. It’s truly an exciting time to be an author.”

It will be interesting to see if we see more of these collaborative ventures in the coming months and years.

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