This morning we woke up to the news that Penguin had bought Author Solutions for $116 million. So of course Twitter and various listervs promptly erupted: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Some things appear fairly evident, others not so much.
- Penguin has Book Country. Led by Molly Barton, a rapidly-rising executive whose current title is “Global Digital Director” (and a fellow Staten Islander!), Book Country’s day-to-day is expertly run by Colleen Lindsay, a former literary agent and genre lit publicist with deep background in audience development and social media. Book Country’s focus is on building a community of writers.
- Penguin emphasizes infrastructure. This is something I know from previous experience with them – as an institution, as part of its corporate culture, Penguin is actively investing in workflow and interoperability between divisions. To a company who values infrastructure, $116 million for services and tools that are proven in the marketplace is a solid investment.
- Author Solutions makes the bulk of its revenue from services to authors, not book sales. This makes sense for two reasons: (1) these are self-published books, and sales are not going to go through the roof except in very specific instances (2) the tools are good. Which brings us back to the infrastructure.
- Book Country has been in need of tools/platform on the back end for quite some time. The question in situations like that is whether a company should build those tools itself or buy them.
- Author Solutions certainly has its own brand(s), but one of its core strengths is providing white-label solutions.
This is what I know so far. I’ll update this post as things develop. Meanwhile, other links:
Publishers Lunch (requires subscription)