Libraries and Global Publishing

Last week I had the pleasure of addressing librarians at their annual conference in Charleston, South Carolina as the Interior_view_of_Stockholm_Public_Libraryguest of Mitch Davis of Bibliolabs, Mitch is working on a number of initiatives that will enable libraries, if they choose, to become centers for self-publishing. I strongly support this concept and intend to work with Mitch to enable all one hundred thousand libraries in the United States to in effect become book publishers for their author constituents. With projections of up to one million self-published books to be released in the next two years, it is only logical that libraries participate as partners for these authors whose books are, for the most part, likely to sell fewer than one hundred copies.

One of the unique concepts Mitch and I are exploring is the ability to publish these titles as ebooks with distribution to all one hundred thousand libraries as a free or nearly free subscription service. Authors will benefit from exposure of their works to all libraries and can coordinate local promotions with their initiating co-publishing.  Local library costs for ebook self-publishing can be reduced from what existing self-publishing services are charging,  Even low cost Create Space, which Mitch founded and then sold to Amazon several years ago, would be more expensive.

Libraries will benefit from access to several hundred thousand additional ebooks for their collections at little or no cost for acquisition.  Like books published by traditional publishers, one of every ten-thousand so self-published titles will become a commercial best seller, generating revenue for both library and publisher.  The advantage to authors will be that in most cases libraries can act as filters, ensuring that only quality books are self-published and that authors utilize the network of editors, designers, proofreaders, and publishing professionals that Bibliolabs and Waterside Productions will provide.  There are many details to work out, but the opportunity to spend time in beautiful Charleston was both provocative and productive.

From Charleston I flew via a one day stopover in New York City to Berlin where I addressed German authors interested in learning how to reach a global audience. Though less rustic than Charleston, Berlin has a river and rustic areas. I was impressed by the energy and vitality of these two relatively old cities that continue to recreate themselves and attract young entrepreneurs and authors with ideas that can transform our planet and how we communicate with each other globally.

I am confident that whatever the future holds there will be a prominent role for libraries and authors to make a positive difference in the world. Just as the cities of Charleston and Berlin can retain natural beauty full of trees, parks, streams and flowers while embracing modern technology and change, libraries and authors can retain the thoughtful intellectual reflection of their origins while embracing the communications technology that will allow libraries and authors to be active shapers of the new ideas that are transforming not only the world of books but the way in which ideas themselves will be generated and evolve now and in the future.

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One Response to “Libraries and Global Publishing”

  1. This is such an interesting concept and I look forward to seeing this come to fruition!

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