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Blockchain For Books

The Alliance of Independent Authors launches Blockchain for Books, an awareness campaign about the potential of blockchain technology in publishing, and helps create the first blockchain bestseller at the London Book Fair 2018.

LONDON, April 17, 2018 — Blockchain technology looks set to facilitate the next disruption in the publishing industry, according to the guidebook Authors and Blockchain, just released by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

If authors unite to enable this decentralized technology to fulfill its promise, the outcome could be a creator-led publishing industry, said Orna Ross, ALLi Director.

The study, released at the London Book Fair by ALLi, a global nonprofit association of self-published authors, outlines the ways in which blockchain could, through direct tracking of authors' intellectual property and monetary rights, and decentralized commerce, create a new ecosystem which places authors at the head of the payment chain for the first time in publishing history.

While indie authors, and the companies that serve them, are a growing presence and power in publishing, large corporate intermediaries such as Amazon still stand between authors and their readers and dominate the self-publishing marketplace. Blockchain tech may help to build the road that leads to true independence for self-publishers.

Listen to our Panel Discussion on Blockchain for Books at the London Book Fair

Listen to our Ask ALLi IndieVoices Podcast on Blockchain and Self-Publishing 3.0

The paper does not delve into issues surrounding value fluctuations and regulation of cryptocurrency markets. This is all about how cryptocurrency's underlying blockchain technology could enable huge changes in authors' control over their work. It's part of a larger trend that ALLi is calling Self-Publishing 3.0, in which intermediaries sit within a wider author-business framework.

ALLi has proposed ten business models for authors, that include direct sales, crowdsourced patronage, subscriptions, membership and other digital business models, tools and techniques that directly connect author and reader.

Self-publishing 3.0 is seeing authors establishing sustainable publishing business models, with a clear understanding of how to trade their intellectual property rights in a digital age,” said Orna Ross, ALLi's founder and director. “There’s a growing recognition that exclusive dependence on Amazon is no healthier for authors than exclusive dependence on trade publishers.

It’s now ten years since the Kindle was introduced but it will take more than a decade to overturn centuries of conditioning. What happens in the coming decade is key and I am hopeful. I see a great growth in confidence within the author community, thanks to self-publishing.”

Among the topics covered in the ALLi publication: How blockchain works for authors, particularly when it comes to licensing and rights management, and micropayments. And recommendations on how authors can set up sustainable publishing businesses to benefit from the direct sales opportunities already available in today's Self-Publishing 3.0 environment.

The guide also contains some warnings. ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway points out that there is no guarantee that blockchain technology will fulfill its promise to authors, as the technology is not yet fully developed and new intermediaries may emerge. He urges vigilance by authors.

“Just as the Internet threw up Amazon to take away its peer-to-peer marketplace focus without us really noticing, so blockchain will likely throw up really useful enabling platforms that will take a cut in return for the service,” Holloway writes. “Authors must educate themselves to understand what’s at stake.”

ALLi Author Member Sukhi Jutla, one of the paper's authors, compares Amazon to a giant supermarket that makes it convenient for creators and consumers, but at a price. Blockchain can help to further a more author-centric model. “If you have more direct access to your consumer, then you’re going to have greater control,” Jutla said. “I think that’s what is very exciting about blockchain: how it brings that situation closer.”

Jutla’s recent book, Escape The Cubicle: Quit The Job You Hate became the world’s first “blockchain bestseller” at the ALLi launch, when blockchain publisher, an ALLi Partner Member, set the book live on the Google Play store.

Key to availing of all that Self-Publishing 3.0 has to offer, including blockchain for books, is an independent mindset, said Ross, which she describes as an author’s most important asset.


For more information see the article Authors and the Blockchain in ALLi's Self-Publishing advice Center.


Self-Publishing 3.0 and Blockchain in the News

Meet the World’s First #1 Bestselling ‘Blockchain’ Author

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly

History was made at the 2018 London Book Fair—at a Tuesday afternoon session, Josef Marc, CEO of upstart blockchain publisher Publica, announced that the company had just gone live in the Google Play Store with author Sukhi Jutla’s Escape The Cubicle: Quit The Job You Hate—in effect, Marc said, creating the world’s first #1 title on the “blockchain bestseller” list. at a panel packed with curious authors and publishers at the 2018 London Book Fair, The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) handed out its just-released white paper “Authors and the Blockchain: Towards a Creator Centered Business Model,” and heard from a panel of experts and early adopters. More here.

Can Blockchain Write a New Chapter for Authors?

Joanne Cleaver,

The Alliance of Independent Authors just launched its Blockchain for Books campaign and has published a white paper assessing the technology’s potential. The association says blockchain and other hypertext software systems “supercede copyright protection” and prevent piracy by providing “indisputable” proof of ownership. By supporting smart contracts, the technology puts intellectual property rights back in the hands of authors, the association adds. Howard Lovy, managing editor of the Alliance of Independent Authors, tells ThirtyK that artificial intelligence and other “discoverability algorithms” could eventually bridge the author-reader gap more effectively than the current systems of keyword searches and sales figures. More here.


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