Self-publishing News: French lawmakers take on Amazon’s free Book Delivery — Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center

In this week’s self-publishing special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at the latest move in the French book industry’s battle with Amazon: making free book delivery illegal.

Dan Holloway is ALLi’s News Editor

In our latest self-publishing news podcast, Howard and I talk about publishing industry issues regarding climate change and the future of audiobooks. At #indieauthorchat tonight at 3pm UK time, 8pm UK time Tim will be leading us on a special Christmas party.

French lawmakers engage with Amazon over book delivery

France has led what many in the industry see as the bookstore fight against Amazon. You might remember that two years ago, when books from Amazon Publications appeared shortlisted for major prizes, several French retailers boycotted the prize.

France is also one of the countries that regulate the price of books by law. Publishers set the price of the book, they have to print it on the cover, and no one can discount it more than 5%. This means that there is really only one area you can work in if you want to undercut brick-and-mortar stores on price: delivery. The new law prohibits anyone from doing so. And by anyone, it means Amazon. Free delivery of books is now against the law, with a minimum price a retailer must charge for delivery.

It will be interesting to see if this is a one-off, or the start of a more widespread attempt by governments to buy Amazon on price.

What the latest Spotify and Kakao purchases mean for the future of subscriptions

It’s been a busy week for subscription companies. I feel like that’s something I say every week. This shows just how much subscription streaming services have become an unstoppable trend.

spotify

Spotify has been a busy year. She took an amazing leap into audiobooks when she recently purchased Findaway. This week it expanded its broadcasting capabilities with the purchase of Australian company Whooshkaa. Whooshkaa specializes in turning content into podcasts. It obviously works with audio content. But the company is also at the forefront of speech-to-text and text-to-speech technology. The implications are clear. Spotify, as it candidly said, is building a “one-stop shop” for all audio content. And for those of us who write this is particularly interesting. It’s clear that in Spotify’s final game, whatever we write, whatever we write, will become available to listeners in whatever format they find most convenient to consume – with minimal effort on our part.

cacao

One of the frustrating things about Spotify acquisitions is that we can’t tell the cost. The same does not apply to cocoa. Earlier this year, the company purchased serial digital fantasy platform Radish for $440 million. Now it has bought fantasy platform Wuxiaworld for $37.5 million.

How the industry is changing: the infrastructure scramble

These moves tell us many things. First, read the subscription here to stay. And people with deep pockets think that’s what readers want. That’s what we heard on the Futurebook. And while some of us may worry about what this means for future income streams, and others may ignore these consequences, we clearly have to live with them. Second, it is not surprising that people who read in some genres have more in common than others. These tend to be voracious readers in literary genres where writers produce series and serializable books. And as the growth of podcasts shows, that includes non-fiction.

And third, something deeper is going on. I often talk about the disparity in acquisition sizes. The historical giant cost Simon & Schuster $2.2 billion, but Radish, a relatively new platform even within the industry doesn’t really know about, goes to the same ballpark. There’s a reason for this and that’s why it’s the most common reason in the modern takeover game: infrastructure. Companies tend to buy other companies because of what they can do with their back end. In some cases, this is a physical infrastructure – a fleet of delivery vehicles and warehouses, for example. But it can also be a technological infrastructure. Enthusiastic fans are only part of what makes companies like Radish and Whooshkaa so valuable. If we really want to know where the industry is headed and how we should plan for it, we need to ask what tech companies want to buy about what tomorrow’s industry will look like.

The Stanford Travel Awards are open to India

Being open to freelance authors is one of ALLi’s campaigns that I feel very strongly about. I always felt that we would never take our work seriously in the wider world as long as there are major prizes for which we are not qualified. So I take every opportunity possible to celebrate these truly open prizes.

And this week I came across a really great example thanks to Sunny Singh. The Stanford Awards are dedicated to celebrating the best travel book of the year. If you’re a travel writer, or a traveler of any kind, you’ll probably already know the name Stanford. Stanford is a huge, world-famous travel bookshop in London located between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. The main prize, the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, comes with a prize money of £2,500. Entry closes January 16th.

France’s War on Amazon, Comprehensive Travel Book Award and other top #selfpub news stories by #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Hollowayagnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click to tweet

Upcoming conferences and events

Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months. I highly recommend this great list of online book conferences from Nate Hoffelder, some of which are comprehensive as independent.

Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) – Zoom meets on the second Saturday of every month

I’m done with you

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