Barnsley: Direct to the consumer

<p>Publishers are becoming &quot;direct consumer&quot; businesses, according to HarperCollins chief executive Victoria Barnsley. Speaking to the Independent, Barnsley says: &quot;We&#39;ve got to embrace the fact that we&#39;re becoming a direct consumer business. We have a website and we can have a direct dialogue with our readers. We can capture your name and ultimately sell you something. That&#39;s a complete change.&quot;<br /><br />In the past, publishers had to rely on persuading a bookseller to stock their product, in the hope the right reader would stumble across it. Now, internet search engines mean that people can immediately identify books on subjects that interest them. With this in mind, HarperCollins is about to launch a new website, Authonomy.co.uk, which will allow unpublished authors to upload their manuscripts for others to read and comment on. The website will provide an opportunity to spot promising new work, but also, more importantly from the publisher&#39;s point of view, will create an online community of readers and writers.<br /><br />&quot;Our whole business model will change,&quot; says Barnsley. &quot;Up until now we have received unsolicited manuscripts. This is about encouraging people to build a community where they will judge each other&#39;s content.&quot; She adds: &quot;My view is more people want to write a book than read a book.&quot;</p>