Have you ever wanted to write a novel but were afraid to be turned down by a fussy publisher? Or maybe you are tired of paying extra money to Amazon for selling you the piece you love? Well Publica, an upstart blockchain publisher, is about to revolutionize the whole concept of publishing and book distribution. And tomorrow it will launch an ICO which will allow Matthew Kepnes, a.k.a Nomadic Matt ,to pre-sell his travel guide “Backpacker’s Guide to Europe” on an Ethereum-based platform. The countdown has started.
The excitement does not concern Matt only who is ready to sell copies of his piece in the form of readable tokens. It also gives a chance to multiple authors out there who want to find and reward their early fans and receive the funds so that they can complete their books.
Sukhi Jutla, author of “Escape The Cubicle: Quit The Job You Hate”, already knows what this is like. At the 2018 London Book Fair, Josef Marc, CEO of Publica, announced that her book officially became the world’s first Number 1 title on the “blockchain bestseller” list.
“As an author and entrepreneur, I am always looking for new ways to reach my readers. The blockchain allows authors an unprecedented and original way to crowdfund and distribute their books,” says Jutla while Marc adds that the authors get to “control exactly how their audience enjoys their content.”
So what is the trick behind Publica? Quite a few aspects, for instance, that this blockchain business model factually discards the intermediary when trying to reach a customer. Companies have long been employing marketing models that rely on word-of-mouth, brand ambassadors, and social media trying to establish a closer connection with their customer base and develop loyalty. Publica is doing precisely that and successfully. The fact that the company has managed to raise $1 million dollars within hours proves that “when customers connect with your brand, they not only back the idea but also invest financially,” writes Forbes.com.
The site also adds, “with Publica, entrepreneurs will be able to sell digital keys to ebooks themselves, making the self-publishing process easier and more accessible. And to avoid copyright infringement and pirating, the company’s e-reader app can confirm ownership of digital ebook keys.”
A whitepaper on blockchain for books published by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), which was presented at the London Book Fair 2018, elaborates what happens once an author creates a blockchain-based digital book. Hence there is more to it than just the text. There is also the so-called smart contract that, among other things, includes commercial terms of sale and resale, how much the author gets, and so on. The transaction itself includes two parties, the seller and the author. Again that means that middlemen, like Amazon, are excluded.
Trend Following further explains what this exclusion means, “for years Amazon has had a monopoly on book sales. Amazon relies on customer reviews to promote books and get others to buy. There is one small problem with this process – it is almost impossible to track the legitimacy of these customer reviews. How are reviews more accountable through blockchain? Everything is tracked and users have “tokenized” accountability.”
Transparency and legitimacy are undoubtedly critical. Ashok Giri, chief technology officer at PageMajik, for example, believes that “blockchain could potentially solve many problems currently plaguing publishers, from rights management to piracy.”
Then there is another tangible benefit for an author-in-question: If s/he makes a killing, Publica will get only a very small percent of the income. In most cases, the big publishing houses are the ones to take most of the profit.
But authors are not the only ones who benefit here. The prices of books on Publica are significantly lower than on Amazon, both when it comes to the print editions and to Kindle versions. If you would like to dig in deeper into deciphering the underlying motives of human’s behavior, a General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud is available for PBL 2,96 ($0,69). Or if today you feel like getting yourself acquainted with the so far non-encountered species on the planet Earth, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde would be a good read for PBL 1,67 only ($0,39). On Amazon, a paperback of Wilde’s classic would cost you $2,60 with Kindle offering it for $0,60.
Backpacker’s Guide to Europe
If you do not feel like reading just yet, you can start investing in “Backpacker’s Guide to Europe.” Previously Nomadic Matt’s pieces were featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and BBC. Matt has about quarter-million followers on his travel blog and is confident that you can travel cheaply explaining the basics in his “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.”
In a recent tweet, he says, “the idea that travel is always expensive is simply not true. There are plenty of great travel destinations in the world that won’t break your bank once you’re there!” In his latest budget traveling piece “Backpacker’s Guide to Europe” promises to “share my very best budget tips, money saving advice, tips on places to stay, things to see and do, and where to eat.”
The plan is to allocate 1,000 tokens with one token equaling $10. The token, in return, will grant you access to the book’s content and once you are done (otherwise you will lose the access to the piece) you can share it with your friends. The book will be available on Publica’s e-reader app on their Android or iOS devices.
If you are willing to participate in the ICO, you will need to install the Publica app (follow these instructions), create a wallet, and buy PBL tokens. Or you can use any other ERC20 compatible wallet, like MyEtherWallet. Alternatively, you can import an already existing cryptocurrency wallet. Pebbles are available on such exchanges as Kucoin, Cryptopia and Cryptology exchanges.
Or maybe after reading this piece you feel like you want to create a book yourself and want to ask Publica for details on Book ICO? Then write directly to Josef, Anton and Alex on Publica.com And while you are at it, tune in to find out about the Author’s Journey on Publica.