Thursday, 5 May 2016

Booktrope to Close at the End of May

Booktrope, set up in 2015, promising to transform the book publishing world with a new ‘team publishing’ model, has announced it will be closing on the 31st May due to a lack of revenue.

Their business model brought together freelance editors, designers and marketers to collaborate through their online tools to help authors develop their manuscripts, and sell books. Freelance contributors were not paid a set fee for their contribution, but were awarded a share of the royalties for each book they worked on. Booktrope brought together the various specialist in a virtual world and handled legal issues in return for 30% of net profits.

Booktrope distributed books both digitally and through a print-on-demand model and worked with a wide range of bricks-and-mortar stores as well as Amazon and subscription e-book services like Scribd. All published books will be removed from sale as of 31st May and rights will return to authors on the 1st June.

The company started in 2015 with over $1 millon in seed money and directly employed 11 people. All employees and contributors have been contacted with details of how final royalties will be paid.

“Much has been accomplished by Booktrope and our community over the past six years,” read the email from CEO and co-founder Ken Shear; co-founder and CTO Andy Roberts; and COO Jennifer Gilbert. “But even with a collection of excellent books and with very strong contributions by creative teams who’ve provided editing, design and marketing services, Booktrope books have not generated sufficient revenues to make the business viable.”

“Booktrope has helped hundreds of authors get over 4 million copies of their books into the hands of readers. We are proud our creative teams have produced almost 1000 books using our platform. Thank you to all readers, authors, investors, partners, and creative team members who were a part of this journey with us.”

Reaction on social media to Booktrope’s closure has been mixed, with many authors thanking Booktrope for helping them get published. But understandably, there has also been a degree of anger and frustration. Ally Bishop wrote on Medium: “Neither of us have said a word publicly against Booktrope largely because we felt foolish for getting involved with them in the first place. But now, watching the flames rise from what was, at best, a foolish venture, and at worst, designed to fail, some truths should be noted, if for no other reason than to warn fellow authors and creative types.”

“Booktrope never placed a priority on qualifications when hiring. The people at the top had little-to-no book publishing or editing experience, yet those same people were their acquisitions team…They didn’t ask, didn’t check backgrounds, didn’t require their book marketing managers to have any previous marketing experience.”

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