New Global Ebook Service Launched for Australian Publishers

Very interesting news with the launch of Small Press Digital Distribution Service by SPUNC (Small Press Underground Networking Community).  This will enable Australia’s independent publishers to access a global market through a digital asset management and distribution system provided by InfoGrid.

From the official release today:

“SPUNC will also provide marketing, PR and administrative support for this state-of-the-art digital asset management system, which will be powered by InfoGrid, the software and digital infrastructure provider for the recently launched Digital Publishing New Zealand.”

Providing small and independent publishers with an affordable, easy-to-use e-publishing solution is essential, if we want local publishing and Australian content to prosper in the digital revolution. We need to embrace the opportunities of a networked, global market. Local publishers can now become global publishers. I believe the Small Press Digital Distribution Service makes this possibility a reality.

SPUNC President, Emmett Stinson from the official release.

I thought I’d find out more and asked General Manager Zoe Dattner for a few more details:

  • I asked if this service was only available to SPUNC members.
    • Yes, in the initial phase this is only available to SPUNC members. This initial period is likely to be around six months. (Anyone forsee a BIG jump in SPUNC membership numbers?!)

  • I’m always very keen to find out way for authors to access these services and I noticed that Digital Publishing New Zealand seemed to have them as a target market. Are they willing to to deal with self-publishers?
    • After the pilot test period they will potentially open up this option to anyone.
  • Costs? I mean after all that’s key to it all so I asked what the fee structure will be.
    • Great to know that this should be cheaper than commercial solutions and costs will vary depending on a number of factors. They will aim for 5-8% of the list price to publishers.
  • Who will the ebooks be distributed through? What retailers will users be able purchase through?
    • This is GREAT news because as readers will know I talk ‘go local’ a lot and one of the local ebook solutions for independent booksellers is included. Right now they have signed with ReadCloud, Kobo, Google, , Wheelers and Overdrive, with Apple, Amazon, EBL, ebrary and Baker and Taylor all in various stages of agreement negotiation. And there will be more to come. More local please!
  • I was interested in what marketing and PR support would be provided.
    • I found out that SPUNC already provides monthly new release bulletins to independent bookstores, and offers members ad-share opportunities for advertising in various magazines to promote new print releases. For the ebook retail side they will negotiate targeted promotions with the vendors depending on the situation, so that titles can be showcased over short campaigns. They’ll all receive direct information regarding awards shortlists and wins, as many of them are wishing to highlight these more, and SPUNC will be releasing monthly bulletins discussing titles vendors may wish to push a little more because they’re either new, or relate to something news worthy. SPUNC will also provide members with ongoing advice as to how they can maximise sales and build on existing social networks, and other developments as they occur.

I think this can only be good news for smaller publishers who don’t have the financial resources to invest like the big players, nor the time to investigate and deal with retailer relationships. Of particular importance is the marketing aspect knowing as we all do that discoverability is the main issue with selling online.

Of interest is the fact that SPUNC has done this instead of the Australian Publishers Association who is the peak industry body for Australian book, journal and electronic publishers. I know there has been talk for a long while of something being developed and I’m just happy to see this solution to help independent publishers get their product into the global marketplace. Knowing that Australian self-publishers should be able to access this service in the future will help them greatly. In particular I’ve been frustrated with a way for self-publishers to get into local booksellers as initially the new platforms launched were only dealing with publishers.

Watch out world – Australian Independent Ebooks are coming to an etailer you use soon!

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