Penguin Books adding a self-publishing division

The parent company of Penguin Books, Pearson, has bought one of the biggest self-publishing companies, Author Solutions Inc (ASI).

The £74 million deal is a big step by Penguin Books into the rapidly expanding self-publishing industry…

The growth of e-book readers and tablet computers has prompted a change in the route taken by authors, with increasing numbers choosing to bypass traditional publishers and release and market their own titles.

Some 150,000 writers have published their work through ASI since it was established in 2007…

Penguin chief executive, John Makinson, said that buying Author Solutions “will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future”…

Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller said it is “absolutely right” that Penguin is tapping into the self publishing market…”This is where writers are,” he said, adding “they have recognised a gap in the market in indie publishing.

They are not buying a franchise, they are buying an infrastructure company. There’s nothing retrograde about this decision to buy ASI…”

With access to an additional 1,600 members of staff, Penguin’s takeover of ASI will provide it with the additional resources to forge ahead with plans to digitize its back catalogue of 16,000 titles within two years.

Penguin said ASI would be integrated into Penguin’s back office, but would continue to run as a separate business.

I’m pleased to offer this post for the number of readers and followers of my personal blog who are writers and photographers. This offers another avenue for the sale and distribution of their work.

RTFA – for there is some criticism of the purchase and expansion by author’s organizations. I didn’t take the time to include quotes in the post because, frankly, I have never known any of these guilds to be worth joining – or supporting. Sorry.

New York Times starts Press Engine service for content distribution to iPads and iPhones – for other newspapers

New York Times Co., owner of the namesake newspaper, started Press Engine, a business designed to help other publishers deliver content to digital platforms such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices.

Times Co. will collect license fees and maintenance fees from publishers and media organizations that use the technology and design solutions for digital distribution. Individual publishers will continue to control and own their advertising and subscriptions, the New York-based company.

The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, and A.H. Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of the Dallas Morning News, will be among Press Engine’s customers when the product is introduced in the fourth quarter, Times Co. said.

This is part of the multi-faceted move into new technology” at Times Co., said Ed Atorino, an analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York. “They’ve got the content, they’ve got the brainpower. We’ll see if people will pay for this stuff.”

Publishers are seeking ways to replace a drop in newspaper print advertising sales, which fell 11 percent in the U.S. in the first quarter, according to Newspaper Association of America data.

The New York Times newspaper is preparing to unveil in January a new online subscription model, which will make much of its Web content available only to visitors who pay fees for access. The company is also planning to sell an enhanced application for Apple’s iPad, which will be offered in addition to the free app currently available on the device.

The free app for the iPad rocks. Informative and useful. I admit I could be tempted to pop for a subscription – well, a little tempted.

They might be second in line after GigaOm Pro which I also haven’t subscribed to. Yet.