Nowadays, one of the main challenges of publishing is to be found. A challenge shared by indie authors and publishers and characterized by numbers: the number of the thousands of books, ebooks, and audiobooks that every day try to make their way to the coveted section of new releases, through both physical and digital sales channels.
To be found means two things: make your catalogue available in different formats and distribute it to as many bookshops or sales platforms as possible. This type of approach, commonly called wide, seems to be the necessary, sustainable, and forward-looking response to the demand of a vast publishing market, which is becoming increasingly more international, multifaceted, and multi-channeled.
One of the main tools that publishers and self-publishers can use to carry out a wide editorial approach is an aggregator. What is it? StreetLib is an aggregator or a global distribution platform that collects, or aggregates, multiple channels that provide access to contents or sell books. The use of aggregators allows you to share a book, an ebook, an audiobook, or an entire catalogue with hundreds of bookshops and libraries around the world, in just a few hours, as well as to the many subscription and mobile reading apps that are available. All this, conveniently using a single web platform.
Distributing through an aggregator gives you full control over your publications: you will be able to check out promotions, decide your cover price, and the countries or geographical areas where your book will be distributed.But let's go back to the sales models. In publishing, we can count four types of distribution models: à la carte, libraries, subscription applications, and mobile reading apps.
À la carte
This first category includes all types of online shops (including Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, Ibs, Feltrinelli, Mondadori) and physical bookshops (such as independent bookshops or Feltrinelli, Ibs, Mondadori) through which indie publishers and authors can sell their titles based entirely on the cover price, that is defined independently, precisely à la carte.
The year 2020 is about to set a new world record for lending ebooks and audiobooks to libraries. The latest data provided by OverDrive, one of the leading digital loan management platforms, confirms a 30% increase in online loans compared to 2019, with 366 million checkouts made across children's fiction, adult fiction, essays, comics, and graphic novels.
For several years now, the numbers recorded by libraries from a digital perspective have been showing the plus sign, thanks to an increased number of borrowed ebooks, audiobooks and new subscribers. It translates into greater earnings for publishers and authors, greater distribution, and greater visibility. Not everyone knows that every year, libraries that offer a digital loan service have dedicated budgets for the purchase of new digital products, such as ebooks and audiobooks, available for users who benefit from the loan service. Titles or entire catalogues are purchased on the distribution platforms at the price list defined independently by publishers and authors
It's impossible to deny, the recent years will be remembered as the subscription years, a business model based on the sale of subscriptions: the user pays a monthly fee to have unlimited access to a range of contents. Delayed by a few years (the first music subscription services appeared in 2002, and Netflix was the first streaming subscription service in 2007) subscriptions have now made their way to the digital publishing industry. Jonas Tellander, the Swedish CEO of Storytel, was the pioneer. Back in 2005, he launched the first streaming service for audiobooks, Bokilur. Only after several years, and a long series of failures, Storytel was founded and today is known as one of the world's leading subscription services for the use of audiobooks, podcasts, and ebooks.
In recent years, especially thanks to the boost of the audiobook market, subscription model applications are gaining favor of readers from all over the world, becoming an interesting market for indie publishers and authors, in terms of revenue.
Mobile reading app
In our everyday life, mobile devices are replacing cameras, alarm clocks, watches, diaries, calculators, radios, and TVs. For young people and millennials, they are becoming the main reading medium, especially thanks to the growing spread of mobile reading apps. They are not to be considered simple applications for digital reading, but real online communities, populated by authors and readers and born to promote writing and the sharing of stories. The numbers recorded in the Asian market in recent years, as well as the successful stories of some indie authors, are very interesting and definitely worth considering. It seems that this young new method to use and distribute the editorial content is slowly gaining ground in Western countries. We'll probably hear about it soon.
It’s not only a geographical concept, it's also a business concept for the entire market. We believe that we need to widen our horizons or we risk losing the many possibilities that are being offered. What do you think about this? Have you already taken the wide approach? Are you exploring new forms of distribution? We’re always curious to hear your opinions, let us know!
StreetLib aggregates and distributes to dozens of libraries, bookshops, subscription services, and reading apps accessible with a couple of clicks. Here you will find the complete list of our distribution channels and sales models applied.
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