I attended the always stimulating Northern Voice social media/blogging conference in Vancouver over the last two days. One of the sessions was on "lean publishing."
The website is leanpub.com, and is a means to quickly and easily publish online in pdf, epub and mobi formats, while retaining ownership and earning royalties of around 90%.
The speaker, Peter Armstrong, "wrote" a "book" (basically a title and a few sentences), uploaded it, had it converted, published and ready to download with suggested pricing, all during his 45-minute presentation in live time.
Books are available for sale (or for free) in common ereader formats from the LeanPub website, and as I understood it, authors are also free to post their output mobi files to Amazon, ePub files to iBooks, pdf files to their own website, etc.
The other interesting part of the presentation is that he encouraged a "Publish Early, Publish Often" approach, in which writers share material in progress, and modify/tailor it according to reader feedback. I can see this working well with tech books and manuals, of which there appears to be a preponderance on the website, but Armstrong said the iterative process is also taking off with fiction. In fact, he said, in a sense this is nothing new, pointing to a long history of serialized works by famous authors from Dickens to Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Oh, yes, authors are also able to set a minimum price and a suggested price for each work, and buyers can choose to pay more than the minimum, with easy-to-use sliders that change the pricing and show how much the author gets... And apparently this has led to a phenomenon in which a significant portion of sales have gone at $11.67/book. Why? Because at that price, the author receives $10.00, and with this transparency, apparently quite a few buyers feel that's a fair price, even if the minimum was lower...
I have no experience with LeanPub aside from this presentation, and do not endorse it in any way, just thought it looked cool, and I will certainly be researching it further for potential use in my own editing and writing business.Posted by Paul at June 16, 2012 07:38 PM