03 Nov, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

The New World of

Independent Publishing

By Lee Foster

Here is a prediction: The new technology of apps and ebooks will stimulate a new wave of “independent” publishing of printed books by photographers and writers.

How are the two(apps/ebook and independently produced printed books) connected?

Well, consider the posture regarding ebooks taken by traditional print book publishers, such as Countryman Press, which published my The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco and The Photographer’s Guide to Washington DC.

They printed the books and pay me a royalty when a book sells. But the publisher also has the right to produce the page-turning ebook. Are they developing the ebook? No. They don’t want to. They feel an ebook will compete with their print book and not be worth the investment.

Authors are able to do apps of their subjects because apps are considered an entirely different kind of product, unlike a book or an ebook. This understanding has been established. Like many other authors, I have re-presented my content in the apps San Francisco Travel Photo Guide and Washington DC Travel Photo Guide in the Apple iTunes App Store.

But I and other authors would also like to have page-turning ebooks available of our printed books.

Photographers/authors need every possible outlet for their subject, meaning a printed book, an ebook, an app, a website, and a blog. Some traditional print book publishers are restricting authors. Traditional publishers are generally nervous about ebooks and author websites.

A separate technology advance--the improving quality of print-on-demand books--will also have a profound effect on this question. A photographer/author can now produce a quality print-on-demand book for 1.3 cents a page plus .90 for the color cover. Today, the printed book still needs to be black-and-white, but the electronic ebook product and the app can have lavish color.

Lightning Source is the entity with whom I will probably do my next two books, which will be about California and will be print-on-demand. I already have done one independent book, a travel literary book with color photos, Travels in an American Imagination, in 2005. My experience on that was good, and the sales were probably higher than I would have received from a traditional publisher relationship. That book is now out as an ebook-style app in the App Store.

But it gets better.
Lightning Source has a deal with Ingram (a top book distributor) to distribute books to bookstores. If you can create demand in the bookstore world for your book, Lightning Source can supply it through Ingram. These new possibilities in book distribution will encourage independent publishing.

2010 will go down in history as The Year of the App. 2011-2012 will, I predict, become The Years of Independent Publishing. -LF

Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel Photo Guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel Photo Guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide


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