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September 11, 2011, 04:50:48 PM *
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Author Topic: Did you ever expect J K Rowling to self-publish her ebooks?  (Read 89 times)
Joss
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« on: June 29, 2011, 04:38:10 AM »

[I know it's long, but it's preferable if you read it all if you don't understand how she's self-publishing.]

Tell me what you think. Are you surprised that's she's self-publishing? I know I am. Do you not agree that it's self-publishing?

I know I didn't. I was sure that she'd go with a regular publisher for the ebooks, but she's acting as her own publisher, thus, self-publishing. She owns the rights to her ebooks because she's never sold them to any of her publishers. Luck her, she started publishing the books back in the mid-90s. This is before ebooks took off to what it's become today. Back then, it wasn't unknown for authors to keep their ebooks rights. As she and her books gained lots of clout, she's been able to keep it that way for the rest of her books. So she can do whatever she wants with the ebooks, including slip a new cover on them, hire her own editors and cut the publishers out completely. But she didn't, and I don't blame her because who wants to start burning bridges in publishing, plus she needs them if her goal is to make the reading experience the same for the ebooks and print books. Plus, there might be a no-compete clause (might be) in her contract and if she puts out the ebooks then publishers would sue under this clause (this doesn't mean the publishers would win, but it's probably best to avoid a long-drawn out, costly lawsuit that she might or might not lose, no one knows how a judge will rule and they're the only say in these matters).

A lot of companies are involved in the Pottermore deal like Sony and Overdrive. I think sony is supposed to be creating and maintaining the "interactive" experience. Overdrive is hired to maintain the ebook storefront. Both for a percentage of sales, I've heard. The books will only be sold on the Pottermore website, though available on different platforms like the Kindle. Details about how this will exactly work hasn't been released. She's completely cut out the regular bookstores from selling the ebooks on their websites.  

Someone close to the deal has reported that one of her publishers, can't remember if it's the UK or US one, will get 10% royalties from the sales (not global sales), but this might put it in perspective as to what kind of royalty she's giving her publishers. This is from the press release from the US publisher, Bloomsbury: "Scholastic will receive a royalty on sales of the U.S. editions of the ebooks." - that alone says they're not the publisher, else they'd be paying Rowling a percentage of the sales and it would be known that she's come to some kind of agreement for them to publish her ebooks. Not the case. It's assumed that she's cutting the publishers in because she wants to use their edited and translated versions of their print books for the ebooks. Rowling has stated that she wants to make the reading experience the same, and to do this, she needs the permission of her publishers to use their covers and edited and translated versions of the print books. It's chalk full of what they don't say and scholastic makes it clear that they're in a "partnership" with rowling to offer her marketing and promotional "support" and for their expertise they're being paid a percentage of US sales of the ebooks. That's not a regular publisher/author relationship and it's clear from that press release that Scholastic is not acting as the publisher. Rowling is acting as her own publisher. Plus rowling is selling the ebooks exclusively on her own site and cutting out book retailers. But, dang, I'd be happy with 10% (if it's true) of ebook sales of the UK or US (or whatever country) editions. She's very smart and has some smart people on her team.

The movie studio is also getting a cut of the sales. It's unknown why right now, but I'm personally suspecting it's because they have the rights to anything "interactive" regarding HP and the HP world. I learned this from a literary agent a while ago. When authors sign movie/tv contracts they author is giving the movie studio the merchandizing and movie/tv rights to the book. One of the words in the contract is "interactive" so anything interactive like games would apply or anything that you can interact with the movie studio has the rights to. Pottermore is supposed to be an "interactive" reading experience for readers. The only reason I know about this is because it's posed a problem in some publishing contracts. One agent noted that in contracts she's seeing publishers ask for interactive rights to go along with the ebooks so they can offer more stuff to the reader. This poses a problem because movie studios want anything "interactive" that has to do with the books.

Eh, I'm running out of space. If not, tell me your reason
Sorry, I didn't even proofread this. o.O
Lastly, Rowling is supposed to release one "interactive" HP book a year. :p One more way to keep fans hooked on the series for a much longer time. Go Rowling!

I forgot to add, if you dont' agree that this is self-publishing then explain why you feel it's not.
It's not true self-publishing. And, yes, she's paying them a royalty and percentage of the sales for the expertise (as I noted above). If she wasn't self-publishing then the publishers would be paying her a royalty and they'd make it clear in their press releases that they're the publishers of the books. But...they're not.

It's probably rare that people do true self-publishing these days.
Thumbs up to all who answers with an opinion. I'd like to know what others think.
Again, i never said she was true self-publishing. I dont' beleive most people who self-publish today are doing true self-publishing, because that also requires buying your own ISBN (dont' know if rowlling is or not). True self-publishing would require creating your own jacket cover and doing your own editing and releasing *that* version and doing your own marketing and promotion and selling. It has nothing to do with whether her print books are already published. Her ebooks are technically separate because she owns the rights.

So, I don't have a problem with saying she's not true self-publishing. It's obvious that she's not because she's paying a royalty to her publishers for their edited and translated versions of the books and the rights to use their cover designs. But, she's acting as her own publisher for the ebooks, meaning she's not contracted with any one (or dozens) of publishers to publish it for her.

And, of course, we could be saying the same thing... But, I don't think
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James
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2011, 04:48:26 AM »

No, I don't think it's true self-publishing.  The other partners are putting up significant money and expertise.

This is the latest salvo in the Publishers vs. Amazon war.
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RedStar
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 04:53:25 AM »

No, I don't think it's self-publishing in the true sense, because the books have *already been published* by a traditional publisher. The 'interactive' content and what have you is simply added web stuff which any author might have on their website, and which nobody would ever consider to be an example of 'self-publishing' - she's not publishing new books, she's releasing e-versions of books that have already been traditionally published.

And no, I'm not at all surprised that she's done it this way. Why wouldn't she? She's got the money and the clout to do it herself and do it well, so it makes sense. If she'd never had a book published before, of course it wouldn't make sense, but she is the most successful author in the world and she can easily do it this way and retain control over it, so why wouldn't she?
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Son_of_the_Sea_God
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 05:07:50 AM »

yeah I did, why? Well if she sells them from her own website that means she doesn't have to pay any commission which means more money for her! Greedy little woman she is
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