Wattpad, the Toronto-based online community of writers and readers, closed a $3.5 million Series A funding round led by Union Square Ventures together with W Media Ventures, Golden Venture Partners and existing angel investors.
Wattpad’s goal is to eliminate the need for publishers all together, allowing writers to post their works for free online. The online book publishing service has gained popularity amongst its core demographic, as it allows members of the community provide feedback to authors and written work, sometimes even suggesting next topics, or improvements to their writing style.
A blog posted in Wattpad’s site stated that “the additional capital will allow us to move a whole lot quicker. We can hire more great people to create an even stronger mobile presence and user experience and start working on some of the amazing ideas we can’t wait to show you. We think we’re in a great position to fully take advantage of the growing number of mobile users, social networks, the rise in eReading, the global Internet and cloud services to continue to build Wattpad into the best platform.”
More and more writers turn to digital publishing these days, especially with sites like Wattpad offering their services for free. It’s an important segment of a gaining market, and it’s Wattpad’s community that’s enabled it to survive an industry in the midst of transition.
Even as Wattpad tells a tale of survival, some of the bigger players are developing more services around the digital publishing sector. Adobe supports digital publishing with their Digital Publishing Suite which is used by publishers to manage digital magazines. Apple’s iOS 5 will include a new magazine subscription manager called Newsstand in which Adobe aims to include support for their DPS.
“Digital Publishing Suite support for Newsstand will provide Adobe’s publishing customers the ability to deliver engaging content directly to the digital doorstep of subscribers on their iPads,” commented Todd Teresi, Adobe’s vice president and general manager of Media Solutions.
The ongoing activity from the larger players, however, indicates a market in turmoil, settling on business practices and monetization methods. Some online services like Apple require customers to pay for the book rental service, wherein they take a percentage of the total rental fee, 30%, then give the rest to publishers which then lowers the money earned by the writers as publishers also take their cut. The Amazon Digital Library is trying to get publishers to agree to a similar setup, but publishers aren’t jumping at the idea, for fear of straining relationship with other publishers as well as possibly lowering the value of books.
But other serious writers like Patricia Ruth took things into her own hands as she self-published her first book Holly Heights. Ruth said that she tried going to publishers to have her book published but most turned her down or took too long to send her a reply. So she got tired of waiting and just did everything by herself. Though this might sound appealing to struggling new writers who might want to self-publish their works, know that this too entails enough funding to publish your own work. To do so with any real integrity, you also have to consider the look of your book cover. There’s a market building around the digital publishing industry, with services like CreateSpace to help you self-publish.
The sixth annual AJC Decatur Book Festival welcomed everyone from authors, publishers and readers to their festivities. The Festival supports writers who wish to self-publish and there are even companies present that offer their services to them like BookLogix and Bookbaby. E-books are projected to dominate in the next 20 years but book fairs such as Decatur’s will help keep writers putting actual books in our shelves.