“E-reading has come of age”, says Clare Tanner director of bookhabit.com a New Zealand website that assists fledgling authors to find a market for their work by employing a “long-tail” approach to demand aggregation. The new site is also a perfect exemplar for why we need much better Internet bandwidth across the Pacific to markets in the Northern Hemisphere.
The venture, which launches this week, allows authors to upload their works in pdf format and employs a graduated reward system as sales increase. Readers can view the first chapter for free but pay as little as US$2.50 if they choose to upload the entire book. The price of a book rises once it passes through certain sales thresholds.
Tanner says the site is ideal for new or unpublished authors wishing to test the market because it instantaneously exposes their work to a global audience and the author receives up to 40% of the sales revenue, compared to around 5-12% with traditional publishers.
To promote the site there will be a book writing competition with a top prize of US$5,000 commencing on 3rd of March. The ten authors who receives most downloads will go forward to a judging panel for final assessment on merit. Tanner says that the world of publishing is like a mine “full of undiscovered gems” because only a tiny percentage of submitted works ever make it to press.
Bookhabit.com is an early spinoff project from Stefan Korn’s Webfund initiative. Korn, a Wellington based entrepreneur with a strong e-commerce background, started Webfund to aid others in realising their online dreams. Webfund evaluates web-based business ideas, matchmakes projects with investors and then helps to build and implement the ventures cost effectively.
Korn says there is no limit to the creativity out there in terms of new business ideas. Webfund provides a one-stop shop for getting new web-based ventures up and running in double quick time as well as a means for investors to participate at entry level in highly innovative new service offerings.