I'm thinking about developing an online marketplace where authors who are interested in selling their self-published books can do so on the marketplace by setting up their own mini online shop like 'eBay'. The point of differentiation however is that the marketplace only includes 'quality' self-published works.
In my mind the platform should:
1. automatically pull in existing book reviews that authors have from other places like Amazon, Google, or Goodreads - but of course for authors who are very new and have never published before, there would be the usual function of allowing new readers and bloggers to provide reviews of the book - on the condition that the book averages good reviews over a period of months in order to comply with the 'quality' requirement.
2. allow authors to add specific detail about their book ie. degree of action, romance, who the book would likely appeal to (to help attract the right match in readers to their book)
3. not limit readers from purchasing directly from the marketplace but will cost compare with other places that the author is selling their book on like Amazon etc and allow readers to choose where they want to buy the book (either directly from the author via the marketplace or from other sellers such as Amazon etc).
This will probably be a labour of love so it'll be free (including free of commission) - well, at least maybe for 3 years to give people a fair go.
As for quality - unfortunately for now all I can come up with is a screening process where authors will need to supply a copy of their manuscript or book and statement answering questions that work toward determining the quality of the book for the back-of-office team to review and make an assessment about before inviting the author to start a mini-shop on the marketplace. Or maybe an internal editing system with certified editors that self-pub authors need to get through before they can be approved to sell on the site. I think that for books that do not meet the quality standards, there'll be a list of conditions (ie. get the book re-edited etc) the author should meet before reapplying to sell on the marketplace.
So, these are my thoughts for now. Has it got merit, would writers use it, or is it a thumbs down and I shouldn't bother? Or should I just handball the idea over to someone like Amazon ;-)
Choice and the educational system aside, I think the legal arguments raised by the case of Boundless are interesting and the work of very clever lawyers. Can you or should you protect the "systematic presentation of a progression of ideas and ... the look and feel of that presentation"?
Because the Boundless case settled out of court, we won't know unless another Boundless-like challenge can take it all the way. However, I would have liked to see this go further as it really could have shaken things up a little.
I've being working in this space for a little while now and the problem that readers keep telling me is, that they're all for supporting indie writers and buying self-published books, but believe that the question of 'quality' still remains elusive for the general self-pub community/industry. Consumers are generally 'time-poor' and they go for traditional over self-pub because there is some guarantee of quality.
Before I even think about investing money and time in trying to break through the current stigmas associated with self-pub, I want to know whether you (as a writer contemplating self-pub) would use and 'support' such a marketplace, knowing that their's Lulu, Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc etc down the road.
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- Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, ACT GovernmentInnovation Manager, 2013 - presentManaging the launch of the Innovation Hub across the ACT Government, and a portfolio of innovations within key practice areas.
- WispringsCoCEO, 2012 - 2014Leading the development and commercialisation of several innovations in the publishing and book industry.
- RMIT UniversityBusiness, 2011 - presentExecutive MBA
- Australian National UniversityLaw, 2005 - 2009Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
- Australian National UniversityLaw, 2009 - 2010Masters of Law (Legal Practice) (LLM)
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