Consider the metamorphosis of self-publishing. For decades it was dismissed as the desperate refuge of authors rejected by publishing houses, wannabes who paid a fee to a musty vanity press that would dutifully typeset their words and transform them into a few boxes of books that the “writers” could hand out to their friends.
Today, thanks to ebooks and Amazon, self-publishing is a global phenomenon—an independent route intentionally chosen by more and more authors—that has spawned not only mega-bestsellers like Fifty Shades of Grey, but also hits in other realms, such as the movie version of The Martian. Ebook self-publishing has become a $1 billion industry.
But there’s a lot less “self ” in self-publishing these days.
A burgeoning ecosystem of supporting services has sprung up to serve independent authors.
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Call it the Kindle effect. Amazon opened the floodgates in 2007, the same year it released its first e-reader, when it launched Kindle Direct Publishing, allowing anyone to upload, publish, and sell his own ebook for free. This year Jeff Bezos’s company released 4 million e-titles, and 40% were self-published.
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Amazon maintains an 80% share of the electronic-book market, and its rivals have gotten the message. Apple’s iBook (AAPL, -0.78%) and Google Play (GOOGL, -1.30%) now promote self-published authors, while Canadian-based Kobo, which sells books in 180 countries, recently added author services to hire professional editors and book-cover designers. Barnes & Noble (BKS, -3.04%) started a print-on-demand service this summer for self-published writers.
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Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn says indie authors drive 20% of the platform’s ebook sales. “They’re selling better than traditional authors,” he says.
Link to the rest at Fortune