Remember QOOP, that web-to-print play that does Searchblog’s print edition? They just cut a deal to do photo books with Flickr and Buzznet. Imagine what happens when they, or someone like them, does a deal with Google Print? Oh wait, the book industry can’t possibly want that, it’d cut them out of a new sales channel: once a book goes out of print, all the money would go to the Author and to Google. But the Print edition is based on a copy scanned by Google – a first serial copy, no doubt.
Hmmm, this is a sticky wicket. That *can’t* be good….or…could it? If you’re an author, why, that sounds pretty good. After all, thanks to Search and QOOP, your book all of sudden has a new life, and might even generate a few dollars. Question for readers more versed than I in this stuff: Would an out of print reprint of a book found via Google search and printed and sold in a one-off fashion via something like QOOP be first serial still, or would it be second serial? See why those publishers are up in arms? They make their hay in hits, sure, but the backlist is where the reliable margins are….is Google Print just an extension of the backlist, or is it a new beast, one that needs to be added to the Author’s contract with the publisher?
If you are a publisher, seems it’s time to rework those first serial North American contracts to consider this new wrinkle…..stat…. if you’re an Author, read those contracts closely…I’ve pinged my agent, to see what her take is…
(Caveat – the founder is a pal, and I have a deal with QOOP for Searchblog, as I mentioned.)
3 thoughts on “QOOP Does Deal with Flickr, Buzznet”
It seems to me that the easiest “defense” against Google, QOOP, etc. is for “traditional publishers” to make deals with print-on-demand shops to keep their backlist and otherwise “out of print” titles available and on the market. If publishers can claim that print-on-demand maintains a book “in print” then the contract triggers that fire when a book goes “out of print” would be permanently irrelevant. Also, minimal marketing efforts that publicize the availability of the print-on-demand service would allow the publisher to say that they continue to “actively market” the title.
Traditional publishers can keep Google out of the game simply by ensuring that the print-on-demand capability is pre-emptively provided and marketed.
I echo Bob’s comments. I also think traditional publishers (and unfortunately bookstores) are really really on a rapidly tipping slope to financial doom here. They are already refusing to face up to POD anyway and the blurring of lines between electronic media and print media just makes the issue even more complex and harder for them to face and even understand. They also seem to be unable to see that electronic media are an opportunity not a problem.
I started my own small publishing company, press for change publishing, just to produce a print book that is a compilation of the best writing from food blogs. I made a few mistakes in planning the business and as a result it will take me a little while to become profitable. However, I also know that it will be profitable eventually – it will just take longer than I would like. No traditional publisher would have touched the book with a bargepole but it is a unique and different book that really is worthwhile.
I’m essentially putting a year of my time and experience into rounding up a ‘best of’ and the value to the customer is saving themsleves that year. The trad publisher attitude is that the material is already available for free on the web so why would anyone pay for it. The answer is that there are lots of reasons. In fact, although sales are VERY slow I know that there is a very HIGH satisfaction level among people who have purchased it.
Anyway, your question points out the fact that the publishing industry is reluctant to face up to these issues. It isn’t really all that hard. My contracts for my authors for the book give me the right to publish just the posts selected in compilation book form worldwide forever. These are NON-exclusive rights. The only restriction to the authors is that they cannot resell them for a COMPETING compilation book. They can resell them for any other kind of book. That is the kind of flexible thinking publishers should be doing. Interestingly, it was extremely difficult to get a lawyer – publishing industry or not – to screen my proposed contract. They had a very hard time dealing with the non-standard parts of it.
PrintFu (http://printfu.org) has been doing great POD for about 5 months. They focus purely on the PDF book printing, but according to their blog, quick manuals are only the beginning.