Literary Angels, a Facebook (with other social media to come) book socialising, tracking and selling tool, could be exactly what the publishing industry has been looking for.
LA sets up a unique identity for a hard copy or e-book, allowing readers to recommend, and give away a single copy. It also allows an author and/or publisher to see how much engagement fans and potential fans have, and whether indeed a purchase has been made.
The Angel’s co-founder Lisa Buchan and her business partner Mike Peters, have been involved in authorship over the past couple of years through their rights trading platform, Sparkabook.com.
They were aware that the book industry itself is on the cusp of experiencing similar internet/digital revolutions that has turned other industries such as media and (some) manufacturing upsidedown.
“For book publishers, the big difference is that where they used to completely rely on retailers and distribution, is completely turned on its head with e-books,” Buchan says.
“Publishers are well-aware they need to communicate directly with readers and do their own sales, marketing and promotion to find an audience. The question has been how; and we think we’re the answer.”
Unlike other consumer brands, who have both a budget and can target certain segments of people, book publishers are different.
Consumers don’t buy brands, they buy authors, which is where the value lies. And all books have a different target. With fewer bookshops (and the enthusiastic salespeople within), the whole previous ecosystem is being stripped away. E-books mean publishers are losing the ability to target a book at the right audience.
Which are among the reasons publishers have been very very interested in the www.vangelizer.com offer through Literary Angels.
“They’re at this point in time where they’re grappling with what they’ll do,” she says. “They know they have to do something, but they can’t figure out what, or how to communicate and get in touch with fans. What we’re saying is here is a social media tool to help.”
So far they’ve talked to New Zealand, Australian and a few USA and UK publishers. One Brit immediately demanded the Literary Angel Q.R. code (and Facebook recommendation and tracking) his a reprint of his ‘Harry Potter on Location’ guide.
Publishers will be expected to pay to use LA, be they big or self-publishing. Such self-promoters will have the ability to get their books into the hands of those who would most enjoy it.
The four month old venture is getting better and better as it learns about the book reading and recommending ecosystem, with such learnings being incorporated in succeeding generations of the software.
The Twitter, Linkedin and Good Reads social networks will be added to the LA landscape over the next few months.
Buchan has already been to a couple of Frankfurt book fair’s, and, knowing her way around the show and the publishing industry’s infrastructure, is looking forward to spruiking the book socialising Angel’s abilities to the same in early October.
“We’re trying to edge publishers to the territory where the person to person communication happens, and where they can continue to make money through being part of the process,” she says.
And just as the Literary Angels’ ‘job’ is to go forth and promote a book, this is exactly what Buchan and Peters will be doing for their social media oriented tool in a month’s time.
As a kind of MusicHype for books, as a way of enabling publishers to stay in business, Literary Angels may be the type of guardian they’re looking for. Keep reading.