Friday, March 25, 2011

A Publisher's Perspective on Piracy

Tim O'Reilly was interviewed about digital publishing in the most recent issue of Forbes magazine. Anyone considering selling their own ebooks or other digital content should read the article and consider what he says about building direct sales channels to buyers.

"I see publishers bemoaning their fate and saying that this is the end of publishing. No! Publishers will recreate themselves. My entire class, if you like, of computer book publishers were all self-published authors who then extended their services to other people. O’Reilly, Peachpit, Ventana Press, Waite Group Press—we all emerged about the same time in the mid-eighties and all of the others were eventually bought; we’re the only one that’s still around as an independent publisher. But all of them were self-published authors that turned into publishers. And I will guarantee you that the next crop of publishers will be successful self-published e-book authors who start offering services to other authors."

The full interview transcript suggests the value of building channels to buyers.

"If you look at our channels today in e-books, our direct sales are our largest channel. Our second-largest e-book channel is Safari, which we also control. So we’ve been building channels for some time."