Swedish company Bonnier is launching a new self-publishing platform, Type & Tell, in the UK.
The platform has been running in Sweden since September 2015 and is now being pushed out internationally to the UK's "more mature" self-publishing market. It is not run by Bonnier Publishing, but by Bonnier Book Ventures (BBV), a separate company launched this year by Bonnier Books. The English beta version of the site launches during the London Book Fair next week.
Type & Tell will give authors control over their typesetting, design and editorial teams, pricing and distribution via an à la carte model, which they will pay for up front. In return, authors will get "100%" of the author royalties after costs have been paid for, Bonnier said. The company will offer self-publising services in both print and digital.
According to Jon Watt, country manager for Type & Tell, the "new high-tech, hybrid" model has been made possible by investing in "pioneering" writing and typesetting technology - an investment representing, he said, "a statement of intent" for Bonnier and its commitment to the future of self-publishing.
He told The Bookseller self-publishing had come into a "golden era", with the costs of digital printing improving dramatically in recent times, actually giving self-published authors an advantage over traditionally published authors.
"For Bonnier, investment in this self-publishing platform is a statement of intent; not only in Type & Tell’s commitment to affordable quality, but also to the future of self-publishing," he said. "We see self-publishing’s growth partly as a reflection of a social change – society’s desire to share more and a sense of entitlement to speak and be heard – and partly as a result of the recent democratisation of publishing.
"Very simply, people publish because they can. Anyone can. Prices have come down and digital retail outlets have expanded. It’s a golden era for self-publishing: the quality and cost of digital printing has improved so dramatically that these books can genuinely compete with traditionally-published products. And the digitisation of the publishing process means that book metadata can also be globally distributed and amended at short notice."
He said self-published authors had an "advantage" over traditionally-published authors because they retained control of their own price levers, manipulating r.r.p, and by extension, their own royalty.
Type & Tell is the product of Bonnier Book Ventures (BBV), a separate company launched this year by Bonnier Books, headed up by BBV c.e.o. Rebecka Leffler focused on digital and technical innovation.
Leffler told The Bookseller that behind Type & Tell is the conviction that "anyone should be able to publish a book if they want to", in support of the democratisation of publishing. She also said self-publishing was growing and, while there are more players in the UK market than in Sweden, Type & Tell was offering "something new".
"With Type & Tell we want to help writers become authors and we truly believe in the fact that anyone should be able to publish a book if they want to," she said. "Type & Tell offers the tools to create professional looking books and the support our users need. Self publishing is growing and it has never been a better time to publish on your own, we support the democratic view that everyone has a story to tell and should be able to do so."
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.