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New wave of publishers harness the net
The Guardian reports that a new wave of publishers and writers are harnessing the power of MySpace and print on demand to bypass their bricks-and-mortar competitors to find new audiences. "Leading the charge is Heidi James, the 33-year-old owner and sole employee of Social Disease, a new kind of publishing company. It does most of its marketing and talent scouting on the internet and relies on new print on demand technology to keep its costs sufficiently low to ensure that, even if it can't compete with the publishing behemoths, it won't be crushed by them anytime soon either."
James is promising to bring back the element of risk that she claims has all but disappeared from conventional publishers' lists. The plan of how to do this is beguilingly simple: there isn't one. "James is the only person in the company, so there are no shareholders to answer to. Social Disease's costs are negligible: a small amount for cover designs and the time investment necessary to edit the books; and because it's print on demand, there are no setup costs associated with each print run, the writers receive a healthy royalty for each book sold and profits can be ploughed back into design and marketing. James claims there has been a significant takeup from independent booksellers, including such major players as Foyles."