Bonnier closes Type & Tell UK after just eight months

Bonnier closes Type & Tell UK after just eight months

Bonnier’s self-publishing platform Type & Tell has announced it is closing in the UK just eight months after launching.

It is the second self-publishing platform in as many weeks to decide to cease operations, with Pronoun, run by Macmillan Publishers in the US, announcing last week it is to discontinue in January.

The Bookseller understands that Type & Tell is also closing in Finland at the end of the year but will continue to operate in Sweden where it is more established and has been running for longer, since September 2015.

The UK’s three employees including Jon Watt, country manager of Type & Tell UK, have been made redundant and will work up until the platform’s last official day of business on 20th December 2017. It is understood Bonnier is working with the staff to find new positions within the group where possible.

The service launched in the UK in March 2017 and offered authors control over their typesetting, design, editorial teams, pricing and distribution in print and digital which they paid for up front in return for 100% of the author royalties after costs have been paid for.

It is understood the platform has 500 UK users, with opportunities for those writers to transfer to other companies offering similar services currently being negotiated.

Watt said Type & Tell’s parent company Bonnier Books in Sweden had made the decision to close the UK arm after a “reassessment of Bonnier Books’ group publishing priorities”.

“We are enormously proud of what we have achieved at Type & Tell UK,” Watt said. “We set out to create a new kind of self-publishing service – a place where authors could write, make, print and publish quality books with ease and professional help. In six months we have built it into a market leader, collaborating with publishing start-ups and exploring new possibilities for self-publishing.

“However, Type & Tell UK has been discontinued as part of a reassessment of Bonnier Books’ group publishing priorities. We will close on 20th December and, until then, the team is continuing to help Type & Tell authors find new homes and uninterrupted distribution for their titles.”

Watt added: “I think the self-publishing services market is quite a slow burner. We’re asking authors to invest money in their writing and that's rarely an instant decision. It’s not automated, it's about building a relationship and that takes time.
 
“Self-publishing is a growing area and the authors have enormous ambition, which they should do, but success is about having a quality product and bridging that discoverability and marketing gap. They have to be given the tools and knowledge to be able to find their audience.”

A message on the company’s website told users it was no longer possible to create a new account and that packages and services were no longer available for purchase.

It asked registered users to download files before 9th December 2017, after which their T&T Dashboard will no longer be available.

“This has not been an easy decision," the statement said. "It is a very sad moment for everyone in the Type & Tell team. We set out to create a new kind of self-publishing service – a place where authors could write, make, print and publish with ease and with professional help. We’re enormously proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short time and have enjoyed working with you on your projects, sharing your stories.”

Last week Macmillan Publishers in the US revealed it was shutting the Pronoun self-publishing site in January for unspecified reasons, after buying it in May last year.

In a statement the company said the challenges in self-publishing remain “unsolved”.

"Unfortunately, Pronoun’s story ends here," Macmillan said. "While many challenges in indie publishing remain unsolved, Macmillan is unable to continue Pronoun’s operation in its current form. Every option was considered before making the very difficult decision to end the business."

The platform, originally founded as Vook in 2009 and relaunched in 2015 under a new name, provided digital book publishing tools to authors for free and distributed the e-books to retailers, including Amazon, Apple and Google Play, without taking a commission.

There are several self-publishing platforms operating in the UK, one of the largest in digital being Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform and the largest in print being the e-commerce giant's CreateSpace arm. Amazon has an estimated 90% share of the e-book market in the UK.