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Oct 20, 2008

eBook, Self-Publishing, Starving Writers Gain Ad-Supported ePublishing

eBook, self-publishing, on-demand publishing - these ideas have been proposed for a dozen years. 

Rather than sell books, can an author earn enough from advertising to compensate his/her sweat equity?

The Writing Ecosystem

Ten years ago, BLOSM (i.e. By the Light of the Silvery Moon) analyzed the book publishing funnel. In rough figures, 10 million authors have the ability and would like to be published. 100,000 get published each year. 1,000 make more than $10,000 per book. The rest earn a small advance.

The ecosystem fails authors, publishers, and the reading public. Only book retailers, with full rights to return unsold books, benefit. 

How the Internet Changed Writing

Today, the publishing business is still centric around selling a bound volume. Internet success stories include:
  • Amazon extended the life of Long-Tail books through on-demand publishing and a huge inventory of titles.
  • Amazon has gained traction with the Kindle. Sony has had some success with their eBook reader.
  • Bloggers have gained fans and tested ideas through their blog; and won publishing contracts as a result. Problogger has reported on his and other successes as a book author.
  • Hundreds of top writers have blogs - to extend the marketing of their works beyond the publisher efforts. 
  • Thousands of great writers have published online, gaining millions of fans. But, at eCPM of $1.00 or less from CPC ads, these popular writers have not been able to sustain via advertising alone.
BTW, ebook is green. We save trees; gasoline to drive to the library or the book store; the massive waste to move books from forests, to print shops, warehouses, retailers, and a home; and equal waste to recycle or dispose of old books. If you prefer the form factor of a book, for the sake of the environment, buy an iPhone or an eReader.

The Ad-Supported Book Model

An author and his friends approached tEarn with the idea for ad-supported books. Rather than ads that clutter the pages of his work, exitmercials appear between the chapters of a work. Sample works online include the classic works of Jane Austen and some non-fictional works

We extended our exitmerical features to support the effort. This includes better display on an iPhone as an eBook reader (i.e. 10 million and growing) and large screen TV's (i.e. 26% of home users) where one can read while sitting in the comfort of a couch.
  • At estimated mature value of $0.30 per adpack view and a 10 chapter book, we estimate that each reader is worth $3.00 gross. This beats the royalties of less than $1.00 earned through book publishing.
  • With just a few thousand readers, success of the model beats the advances available through publishing. Thus, niche non-fiction and fictional works can benefit - without print. 
  • Further, the model scales. Works can become best-sellers scaling through the Internet to reach millions of fans. Low-friction access to content requires no credit-card commerce. Great works can be supported solely by advertising revenues. 
Can Exitmercials Support Starving Writers

Can high eCPM exitmercials support starving writers? 

We're monitoring the results with this group of authors. Success brings benefits to both readers and writers without friction. Let's wish all the best.

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