Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Another Look At Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing . . .

I’ve certainly tried to cover the major trends in self-publishing and traditional publishing on this blog

It’s also a certainty that the balance between these paradigms will shift and swerve quite a bit before reaching equilibrium

Today, I want to share two articles, one about a book recommendation site and one about book merchandising—both making a buzz in the news lately.

First is, New ‘Bookish’ Site Ignorish Indie Authors, from IndieReader […the article having been, sadly, removed since this post was first published…].

From the article:

“The site is designed to serve as an ‘all-in-one website that uses proprietary technology’ to help readers find their next book. It will sell some books, while also allowing readers to find most others at the retailer of their choice….its primary purpose is to serve as a recommendation engine.”

However there is “…the question of whether Bookish is purposely excluding indie books. Maybe we should expect no different from a site founded by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster. Traditional publishers generally see indie books as a threat to their business model, and beneath their notice unless they become a national bestseller.”

“In fact, you could argue this whole endeavor is a day late and a dollar short. There are already plenty of book recommendation sites, such as Goodreads, Amazon’s Shelfari or Indie Reader, and all of these include indie books (with the latter being dedicated to them.) What precisely is Bookish bringing to the table?”

Right, what is it bringing to the table?

Feel like going there and checking it out and coming back and sharing in the Comments what you think it might be bringing to the table?

The second article is Smashwords Authors Gain Seat at the Merchandising Table with the Apple iBookstore’s Breakout Books Promotion.

From the article:

“Apple’s iBookstore today [Feb.4th] launched Breakout Books in the U.S., a new book merchandising feature that showcases books from popular self-published authors, including several that have already achieved New York Times bestseller status (update:  – The New York Times covered the story today!).  (However: The Breakout Books section on the iBookstore seems to have become lost, sometime, in the 7 years since this was first published…).

“Most major retailers reserve such high profile merchandising attention for large, long-established publishers.

“Although the iBookstore has always carried and supported self-published ebooks, today’s launch signifies an escalated commitment on the part of Apple, whose iBookstore currently sells books in 50 countries.  The iBookstore first piloted the Breakout Books feature in their Australian store and has since implemented similar features in Canada and the U.K.”


“A retailer’s merchandising decisions are among the most important drivers for book sales.  To appreciate the significance of Apple’s move, it’s helpful to understand how readers discover books, and how a store’s merchandising decisions impact customer decision-making.  In order for a reader to discover and purchase a book, the book must be:

  1. available – in a store where readers are looking for books
  2. discoverable – visible and findable in the store
  3. desirable – the book must satisfy the reader’s desire for entertainment, escapism or knowledge.  Key levers that determine desirability include bookseller recommendations, customer reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, author brand, author platform, and price.
  4. affordable – the reader must perceive the value of the book to be greater than the retail price and the value of their time to read it”

The article goes on to explain “WHY EBOOK RETAILERS ARE EMBRACING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS” and also has a fascinating list of “Multiple Smashwords Authors Featured in Breakout Books”.

By the way, “Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”


Two stories, two messages

If you’re the kind of person who reads a blog post then follows the links and reads those articles, you’d help the other readers of this blog quite a bit if you left your opinion of these two stories in the Comments :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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3 responses to “Another Look At Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing . . .

  1. Barbara Blackcinder February 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I like the 3 monkey image as the first one that you see here on the Bookish site.
    “The Reviews are done by ‘Bookish’ editors, authors, Book Editors, and publishers
    ‘editorial independent’ from the publishers:” Ya right. It ain’t gonna happen.
    While Pat Hu from the establishment of Bookish claims differently, I have to wonder why it is taking them so long to find Indie bestsellers? This coming from a trio of companies that have been doing this for hundreds of years? I don’t believe it.
    Along with ‘Too Little, Too Late’, I add’ Too Arrogant’ and ‘Too Obvious’. Apparently “Bookish is not excluding independent publishers.” means that they are watching them, and trying to circumnavigate them without actually promoting anything they do. I only wonder how long they can hold out?

    I was thrilled to find the number of Indie books making it to the Best Sellers lists though, as indicated by the authors in the comments, as well as in the other article on Smashwords. Whoopie!
    And I loved the list of positive advantages to retailers, consumers and authors. It spells it all out doesn’t it?


  2. Pingback: Robert JR Graham » Self Publishing Versus Traditional

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