Since the advent of blockchain technology, some of us have been waiting for a project that would revolutionize the book publishing industry. Publishing is an industry in need of decentralization. While self-publishing and e-books have taken great strides in transforming the industry, but blockchain can complete the transition and revolutionize the whole ecosystem around publishing. Thanks to the advent of the Publica ICO and its well-thought use of blockchain technology, our wait is about to be over. In just a few weeks we will be able to see how this revolution will start transforming the industry, and how blockchain-powered decentralization will open a wide variety of options for authors, editors and others in the industry. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of how this will happen from Publica itself.
The Publica ICO and the Challenges It Faces
Bitcoin Chaser: One of the most notorious challenges that Publica has, is to introduce authors, editors, marketers and many other professionals who work in the publishing industry, into a blockchain-powered platform. How are you going to tackle this challenge?
Publica: Never underestimate the people in publishing!
Step one, we’ll demonstrate the system end-to-end so the Publica can get a feel for what READ tokens are, and how they change the game of self-publishing.
Step two, we’ll launch the Publica Inaugural Set of Books. They’ll be a variety intended to illustrate that Publica is a platform for their business models, not our own. Some will crowdfund to generate an author’s advance fund. Some will be scholastic textbooks that need a more practical business model that doesn’t stress the students’ wallets and their parents’ wallets. Some will be technical experiments including video inside the book, part of the book, with a new e-reader app because Publica doesn’t need to run a walled garden environment one-size-fits-all. Some will be entertaining, some will be deeply educational. Some will be courageous in voices that no previous publisher would touch for fear of commercial censure. Publica will make news for the business models that READ tokens empower, as opposed to traditional licensing models.
The Publica Inaugural Set Of Books will be history and the public will notice. Publica is designed to be in the public eye. After all, it’s about books. Everyone cares.
We’ll tackle this challenge by talking to the authors and readers on their level and extending from what they already know. Short-form media was solved by Twitter by putting the 140-character SMS-sized text onto the Internet as a platform wider than even cellphones could reach, supporting it with advertising. Twitter founder Ev Williams then solved medium-form media, e.g., the newsletter or blog post, at Medium.com, where they’re still experimenting with subscriptions for support. Long-form media, i.e., books, need a different commercial basis than either Twitter or Medium. Publica understands the commercial needs of authors and readers, and Publica will be the platform to serve them their way.
Some people in the publishing industry don’t care about the blockchain revolution but they know first-hand that publishing needs to change. They’re book people so they see beyond this week’s trending news. 25 years ago, the Internet changed their world. They suspect the blockchain revolution will change it again. Publica is for them, and they’ll know it. They won’t have to learn any new words. For them, the blockchain revolution will just work “under the hood” to bring them what they want from the platform.
When I meet people who work in publishing, I say “Publishing will be a lot more fun and profitable once Publica removes the publisher’s dilemma from the business side.” What is the publisher’s dilemma? Whose side is a publisher on, financially speaking, the reader’s or the writer’s? Answer: Neither. A traditional publisher is a profit-seeker and has to extract cash from both sides of the publisher’s dilemma. Publica eliminates the publisher’s dilemma from the ecommerce entirely because Publica’s book READ tokens are a direct sale from owner to buyer, same as Bitcoin is a transfer from wallet to wallet. It’ll take a little getting used to but authors and readers are already excited by the possibilities.
Cooperation and Disruption
BC: Another challenge Publica might face comes from established publishers who might see the project as a threat. Amazon worked with these businesses together, instead of disrupting them to the core, eliciting cooperation. How will Publica approach that segment of the industry?
PU: Amazon’s cooperation with traditional publishers led to several lawsuits so it wasn’t all that rosy. Publica doesn’t necessarily compete with publishers, and we’ll explain to the established publishers that they can cheerfully adopt the platform for themselves. Their problem today is readers who don’t want to sign up to a walled garden to find books, yet publishers can’t promote their competitors’ books. Publica is the level playing field they can’t make for themselves, but they can use it. Traditional publishers know a good book when they see one. They’re welcome to the Publica platform where they can develop new business models for themselves, their authors, their readers and outlets. Publica’s certified book publicists will bring business to them. Their business will improve, their profits will rise. That’s a very easy value proposition for them.
Bringing the Publica ICO to People who are not Involved with Cryptocurrencies
BC: How will Publica handle the demand side of the industry in terms of introducing it to the world of blockchain?
PU: “Demand side” usually means readers, but in fact, it’s better understood as tribes, such as schools, public libraries, book clubs, institutions, podcasters, storefronts, everywhere books are found.
Publica has one simple message for all of them. “Buy Now” means you really own it. It’s a digital key to a book and the key goes in your wallet. Very different from whatever iTunes or Amazon can offer in fine print that you don’t read or fully understand.
Everyone on the “demand side” will enjoy that fact differently. A reader will be happy they can pass on a beloved book to a dear friend or child. A business or institution will be happy they can control their own inventory and financial future. Authors will be happy if they can get recurring revenue on eBooks resold by their readers and third-party storefronts.
Only later will they learn that a blockchain made this possible. Therefore, in the Publica Inaugural Set Of Books, we intend to have at least one book that explains it all. Publica is history.
The Role of User Experience in Publica
BC: What role will user experience play in advancing the goal of bringing people who haven’t used blockchain-powered platforms into the blockchain revolution?
PU: That’s the best part! You won’t know you’re in the blockchain revolution, you’ll just open your e-reader app and buy a book and read it.
The blockchain is “under the hood.” It makes new business models possible, like really owning a book as opposed to licensing it from a walled garden.
Current eBook publishers tend to focus on high-volume high-value markets in prominent languages like USA, English, Europe. Publica’s model erases that consideration, so readers can have more choice in languages and geographical distribution. Any smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC with an Internet connection can participate, opening new markets for new books to meet their needs. Authors will respond in kind.
The user experience for the book-creators will change too.
Publica After the ICO
BC: How does Publica see its platform and the industry evolving 2 or 3 years after the ICO?
PU: New business models. Some books will innovate with atomic payments like pay-as-you-read, or pay different prices for different editions with different levels of static or dynamic video illustrations. Some book projects will innovate with book-development processes, such as agile “scrum” methods to find a book project’s minimum-viable-product (MVP) and then grow it from there based on user feedback. Some will innovate with business models to suit a particular market, like online courseware affiliated with a famous university or group of scientists.
Publica and Audio Books
BC: Are there any plans to bring audio books into the platform in the future?
PU: Yes, audio books, and video books, even virtual reality books. Those technologies are here, they just need business models. The Publica platform gives innovators freedom to find those business models for themselves. Publica will just help with the publicity and the ecommerce because that’s all these new book project ideas will need from us.
The Publica ICO Beyond Books
BC: Would Publica seek to expand the coverage of its platform beyond books just like Amazon did?
PU: In our first white paper we wrote “We’ll see where that might lead.” We don’t think the Publica platform is well suited to luggage and toothpaste, for example. But a READ token is well suited to a file that drives a 3D printer, or an app on a Smart TV.
We don’t think we need to be ambitious in that direction because the creative people who use the platform will do that for themselves. We’ll just take care of the commerce and publicity that they’ll need to be successful.
The Publica ICO and its CSR Angle
BC: One of Publica’s cornerstones is its focus on CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. This is a novelty in the blockchain industry. Which plans does Publica have, to deliver on this front?
PU: Our first step is already built in to the platform — get out of the way. The Publica platform doesn’t need to live from percentages of eBook sales, so we’re not in conflict with readers or authors desires to set their own price systems.
The second step is also already built in to the platform — no language or geography has any advantage over any other. It’s a level playing field. We facilitate, we don’t force fit books or their ecommerce into our own profit-seeking model.
The Publica platform works best with the more people it includes. Similar to how Bitcoin brings electronic cash to billions of unbanked or underbanked people, Publica will bring the magic of words to all of them too. By making Pebbles the internal currency for ecommerce, local currencies and markets will serve local people, at the prices that make sense to them where they are, in their own languages.
The Cost of Publishing on Publica
BC: In theory, the cost of producing a book on a platform like Publica should be lower than through traditional publishing. Do you expect this to have an impact on the number of authors that will seek to release their books on Publica? How so?
PU: Self-publishing is already free for anyone with access to a laptop and the Internet. We believe that by enabling trustworthy ecommerce, and open-search-engine publicity tools, authors will earn more money than they could before. They’ll spend some of it on making better books with editors, illustrators, motion graphers, and revenue-sharing with publicity channels like podcasters and so on. So yes, there will be more books because authors will have more incentive to make them, but books will also get better because they’ll get help. It takes a village.
Publica’s Role in Publishing
BC: Will Publica seek to publish classic books on its platform like perhaps “The Iliad”, “The Odyssey”, or even “The Melian Dialogue” for which IP rights would allow it to do so, or will it allow other people to publish these types of books?
PU: When Gutenberg invented the printing press, his shop published many books before they hit on publishing a trending topic, a book with no copyright — Gutenberg’s Bible. Publica will encourage book project managers, who used to be called book packagers, to come up with their own innovative business models for book projects that use copyrighted text and images, uncopyrighted text and images, in any mix they can think of.
If Publica publishes an out-of-copyright book, it would be more as an illustration of How-To, some creative business model for other book project managers to learn from. Publica is about making the platform useful, not about retail profit-seeking per title. Traditional publishers do that already. And they’re free to continue doing that using the Publica platform if they wish.
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