Saturday, June 29, 2013

Quick-To-Market Ebooks Now Norm, Not Exception

Forbes - June 27, 2013

The cover of one of the first "instant books" of the new era.

Basketball player Jeremy Lin shocked the nation last year with his performance filling in at point guard for the depleted New York Knicks. His scoring, passing and flair for the dramatic with breathtaking buzzer-beaters earned him fame, a position in the starting lineup and, ultimately, a big contract with a new team for the following year.

The charming part of the story and what likely separated him from any other unknown athlete to rocket up the ranks is that he was the first Asian American and first Harvard graduate to do so in the NBA — both unexpected in a league with very few Asian or Asian American stars and even fewer players from the Ivy League.

Linsanity, as the craze surrounding him became known, also swept the publishing industry. Half-a-dozen books were scheduled to be published when his compelling story reached national prominence, none more stunning than Linsanity: The Improbable Rise of Jeremy Lin.
What made this title by sportswriter Alan Goldsher from digital publishing house and platform Vook so shocking was that it took less than six days to write (72 hours), produce (36 hours) and publish (less than 24 hours).

“The Vook platform offered us an opportunity that we’d never have had years or even months ago – to publish directly and immediately into a trend,” Goldsher’s agent Jason Allen Ashlock told me at the time.
While fairly novel in February 2012, when the book came out, these kinds of fast-turnaround ebooks are quickly becoming the norm. New technology tools such as offered by Vook and others give authors and publishers the ability to conceive of, create, distribute and sell books in time-frames that would have seemed insane even just a few years ago.

In March of this year, Diversion Books, another digital publishing start-up, came out with a book on the tenure and resignation of Pope Benedict XVI less than a month after his retirement was announced — and half that time was spent negotiating the deal. Once signed, it only took about a week to bring the ebook to market.

In just the past week, Publisher’s Weekly released The Battle of $9.99: How Apple, Amazon and the Big Six Publishers Changed the E-Book Business Overnight as the the highly publicized antitrust trial, which is the subject of the book, came to a close. (This book was also done with Vook.) And today, the New York Times, in partnership with digital publishing start-up Byliner, announced the imminent release of To Have and Uphold: The Supreme Court and the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two historic rulings on the matter, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 law, clearing the way for same-sex couples in many states to marry.

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