Bookseller-as-publisher (and vice versa) is not an original idea but, in our digital environment with its plethora of production and distribution technologies, this combination clearly offers new possibilities – one that the Australian bookchain, Dymocks, has announced it is going to try. Its aim? To “support Australians with stories to tell” … and, of course, “grow the book industry”.
Dymocks is calling its new publishing arm D Publishing. (Original eh?) Chief executive Don Grover said they do not see it
as building an operation to compete with standard publishers, and he said the systems and service it offered would separate it from other self-publishing companies.
These services include “editing, design, production and printing of finished books”. It’s not, in other words, big-end-of-town publishing, nor is it exactly self-publishing, but something in between …
The service is expected to start in October. According to the news report in Bookseller and Publisher, it is web-based and will work like this. Writers will:
- upload their manuscript online
- choose features for their book, including cover design, editing and typesetting
- decide how to publish: print version using a print-on-demand option and/or e-book
It’s not clear how much input there’ll be from experts in, for example, this editing and design aspect. And there is a bit of a catch. Distribution. Grover does not guarantee that books published through this arm will be sold by Dymocks, and sees it all still as a bit of a work in progress:
It’s something that will evolve over time [and] will start as a tool for people who have a story to tell. As far as distribution is concerned we will wait to see what the market brings forward.
So, what say you? It all depends on the economics, of course, but I can see possibilities for local authors publishing local histories for their communities, family historians producing family histories, schools and local writers’ groups producing collections of writing … as well as of course the novelist or poet (or other writer) trying to break into the market. It sounds exciting but history tells us that it’s not that easy. To what extent will this new model with its more immediate technology make the whole business of getting your story out there easier? Time will, I suppose, tell.
For more on this, read blogger Megan Burke who got to talk to Grover and ask him some questions.