Crowdfunding in book publishing


Preparing a general overview of crowdfunding platforms I learnt about some initiatives that focus on the book publishing industry. Earlier I was under assumption that a Dutch start-up called ‘Tenpages’ was the only player in this field. So, what is deal? Who is doing what?

Crowdfunding Initiatives in Book Publishing

I have come across four different initiatives. Two of these are Dutch (Tenpages and BookaBook), one is French (Editions du Public) and Authonomy is British.

Name
Owner Short Description Review Video
TenPages Valentine van der Lande & Investors Intermediate helps aspiring authors to get published by traditional book publishers Tell Fleur In English
Authonomy HarperCollins Publishers Online Community. Using the wisdom of the crowd to spot – and sign – the next big bestseller Blog Nathan Bransford ?
ÉditionsduPublic A group of six founders Supporters of would-be authors (literature) may become co-editors who help fund publication of books. Guardian In French
BookaBook Andro Bottse and Arthur le Cosquino de Bussy Readers may become shareholders by buying shares for €15 each. When sufficient shares are sold BookaBook publishes the book. Blog Kallisti In English (bad quality)

As you can tell from the included table you can find information about the separate platforms at different locations. Here I wish to highlight some of the main differences between them.

Via Tenpages authors can upload ten pages of their manuscript hoping to convince enough readers to invest in the manuscript and become a financial supporter. Having found enough investors, TenPages submits the manuscript to one of its partners (publishing houses) to have it published.

Authonomy follows a similar route, but it is different in the fact that supported manuscripts are published by the owner of the platform, HarperCollins, not by partner organisations. The same goes for BookaBook, a somewhat questionable internet based publisher.

When I come to think of it, Authonomy is not a crowdfunding but a crowdsourcing initiative at most. Users are not funding anything. It is a online community of readers and writers that makes excellent use of tools such as ranking and recommendations. According to its FAQ Authonomy is intented to find new, talented writers HarperCollins can sign up for their traditional book publishing programmes. But Authonomy is clearly much bigger than that. Without any question it delivers the publisher many marketing advantages.

The people behind Editions du Public preselect manuscripts and make these available on the platform (if I understood correctly). Next readers can turn into co-editors. This means they help to get it published and financed. Thus, different than Tenpages, it makes a preselection and than hands the publication process over to individuals rather than publishing houses.

Competitors?

Both Authonomy and BookaBook aim for an international audience, that is English-speaking users. As far as I can tell Editions du Public has no intention to make it accessibly to users other than the French.

Currently Tenpages is entirely a Dutch entreprise but it has international ambitions. The Dutch company is seeking partners in different countries. I don’t think it has much to fear from BookaBook or EditionsduPublic (with France as the possible exception). Authonomy might be a different story.

With Authonomy HarperCollins Publishers has taken their fate in their own hands. Even though it doesn’t fall in the same category as Tenpages – being a crowdsourcing community of one publisher rather than a crowdfunding platform that works with several book publishers – they are competitors as they compete for the attention of the same target groups. However, this does not mean TenPages is in trouble. There’s enough room for both. But this situation may change in the future, when other initiatives may enter the scene. Considering the growing attention for crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, I think this day is nearing.

This post could do with crowdsourcing of its own. Do you know more about any of these initiatives? Or maybe you know about a platform I didn’t mention there? Please leave a comment!