Re-engineering the book business: An interview with Eileen Gittins

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Sramana Mitra goes deep into the tech trenches. Her blog contemplates cleantech, convergence, design, Web 3.0, entrepreneurial insights from guest authors, the iPhone, India, and much more. Recently she interviewed Eileen, and the result was an insightful Q&A on Blurb, self-publishing, and the economics of the book business. Here are a couple excerpts from the discussion:

SM: What was the market landscape like when you founded the company?

EG: …Regarding the economics of the traditional book publishing business, there are many players in that food chain who need to get paid – the publisher, distributor, retailer, designer, and then finally – the author. In the online world, those barriers are removed. With Blurb the author creates and designs their own book and then can market it in the online bookstore for purchase, retaining 100% of the markup. Blurb takes no royalties and there are no middlemen who need to get paid…

SM: Why hasn’t self-publishing taken off? iUniverse has been around for a while.

EG: Well, to publish your own book, you have to foot the entire front-end bill of graphic design, editing, book packaging, etc. and some of the back-end, like marketing the book. This means, the author has to be an entrepreneur. If a regular publisher is involved, then that publisher sometimes plays the role of the venture capitalist. But just like VCs, they only want to fund experienced, published, successful authors. It’s a very hard business to break into…


Avoid the blog’s broken links and follow the interview below:

Re-engineering the Book Business: Blurb CEO, Eileen Gittins
(Part 1)

Re-engineering the Book Business: Blurb CEO, Eileen Gittins
(Part 2)

Re-engineering the Book Business: Blurb CEO, Eileen Gittins
(Part 3)

Re-engineering the Book Business: Blurb CEO, Eileen Gittins
(Part 4)

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