John Peters Unlikely Heroes of the Publishing Industry
Unlikely Heroes of the Publishing
Simple supply chain
SINGLE FORMAT – PRINTED BOOK
• Writer – publisher – printer – (wholesaler) – bookshop
Complexity and fragmentation
Changes in supply chain power
dynamic – rise of Amazon
Disintermediation and the rise
Some unlikely heroes
John Locke “2m copies and counting”
“Raise your expectations”
‘Creative’ approach to reviews (allegedly)
First million-selling self-published author
Amanda Hocking – vampire fan fiction
E. L. ‘50 shades’ James precursor
1.5m kindle books sold
$2m contract with St Martins Press
Time for change?
"There are many futures, but only one status quo. That's why
conservatives usually agree, and radicals usually argue"
• Rigour has displaced relevance (in academic journals)
• Need to seek an ecology of knowledge - enriching the knowledge
‘gene pool’ through diversity and unexpected outcomes.
• We should not be a Victorian gentleman’s club.
“Developing world countries need more and better managers in order
to grow – not more economists; not even more engineers”
Alfredo Paster, Prof of Economics, IESE Barcelona
• Lack of precedents on sustainable/responsible business - a
'body of knowledge'.
• Plenty of research and ideas on how to run a business well,
how to manage people etc.
• Plenty of philosophy or religion on how to lead a 'good life'.
• Not too much on how to do both – a ‘right livelihood’.
• But we are starting to create the body of knowledge.
Metadata (data about data) added at chapter level
Search up – browse down
vBook – construct your own collection
Buy (or rent) a chapter
All Greenleaf books listed in SOL
Aftermarket for book content
• A book that no longer sells very many copies may have some
interesting and pertinent chapters
• Online collection makes all content free at the point of use,
outside its original ‘wrapper’
• Most downloads are from search not browse
• Will be interesting to see which chapters/papers seem to have
• Allows access to a valuable paper even if the whole book is
• Brand new – no real data available for books (exists for
Old economics of book publishing
• Sell a lot – trade paperbacks –
• Sell a few – but expensive
• Profit per unit
• Main price points:
Hardback – paperback –
remaindered – wholesale – retail
New economics of book publishing
• Does it add to a ‘portfolio’?
Hardback – paperback – remaindered –
wholesale – retail - eBook (single user) – eBook (multi-user) –
ePub – free – rent – chapter/article – collection
Sounds confusing – and it is! New economics is not rational
New (non-rational) economics of news
Free local (advertising funded)
Paid local/national in print (low cost)
Free online (Guardian, Sun)
Paid online (Times)
Timely (today’s paper is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper)
Not timely – weekly news digest (Economist) (higher cost)
London Time Out and Evening Standard – paid-for doesn’t work but
free does (with many more copies printed)
• Supplementation of the expensive journalist with the free/low-cost
• Social media (Twitter) as ‘news’
New (non-rational) economics of music
Paid-for CDs (occasional free CDs)
Pirated downloads (Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Drake)
Not pirated (Lady Gaga)
The tour doesn’t promote the album – the album promotes
John Peters firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable Organization Library www.gseresearch.com
Greenleaf Publishing www.greenleaf-publishing.com
Leeds UK, Sheffield UK, Boston USA, Philadelphia USA, Delhi India, Chennai India