Perhaps the biggest disruption in the world of printing and books was the introduction of paper and of course, the establishment of the first printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. These events were a revolution in themselves. They not only affected people individually but also ideas, politics, and empires, including long-term effects for the description of which this article is too short. In his book, Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson cites the coming of the printing press as a major force behind the creation of the modern nation-states.
Today the publishing industry is one of the biggest in the world and it encompasses many forms. Despite this, or maybe because of it, there are many issues it continues to face. At this point, another disruption seems both necessary and inevitable. But the question that we examine here is whether blockchain would lead this revolution?
5 Ways in Which Blockchain Can Transform the Publishing Industry
Changing the ‘Hungry Artist’ Scenario
It is really difficult to establish oneself as an author and in the present time, with the world of publication becoming more and more commercialized, only a handful of writers live the dream. Self-published authors are the worst hit of all.
A number of platforms are working to change this to the benefit of the authors. A good example is that of websites like Medium which give more power to the authors by paying on the basis of the number of ‘likes’, ‘claps’ or ‘hearts’ the post receives.
Blockchain could prove to be the next rung of the ladder. Digital wallets could be tied to such online websites. As a result, the authors could be paid as soon as they gain an audience. Furthermore, blockchain can prevent piracy and illegal sharing by using cryptographic identifiers, thus empowering the authors in the long run. Communities like Narrator are already trying to make the system more favorable for the authors.
Eliminating the Middleman (And Hence Empowering the Reader)
It is totally upon the publishing house to reject or accept a work. As a result, a lot of good writers end up never getting published at all. Even if they do, publishing a work means to a new writer running from post to pillar, from literary agents to the editors. And even if they succeed in getting a book published, they get a very little share of the profits, if any. Typically, the publishing houses only pay the authors less than 15% of the list price amount.
Blockchain can create a more direct kind of business relationship between the author and the reader. In fact, book ICOs can transform the publishing industry like nothing else. Crowdfunding can be used to launch a work and readers can buy the tokens issued by the writer and then redeem them in the end when the book is complete in order to get a copy. This would be to the benefit of both the writer and the readers as the latter would help build the kind of work they would like to read without the interference of a third party like a publishing house or a literary agent. A platform called Publica is already ahead with book ICOs.
Better Digital Advertisement
Digital advertising is the thing these days. A lot of people like to spend more time reading digital magazines and news websites and even books on websites like Wattpad. According to estimates, digital magazines have earned about three million readers in less than three years. As a result, the value of digital advertising has soared considerably.
A room for improvement for digital publishing could be blockchain platforms that compensate consumers for interacting with the advertisement. It would, on one hand, empower the consumers who would only see the advertisements they want to without unnecessary interruption and on the other, an attentive and willing audience could prove to be of more consequence. AminoPay is a platform which is working for a blockchain-based transparent digital advertising for publishers.
Expanse: Not All Histories Are Written Down in Ink
Although a few startups are working their way to clear the problems of the publishing industry, there is room for much more. And there is no platform better to give a start than Expanse.
Expanse is an Ethereum based platform that allows the creation of dApps for solving the existing problems of the industries ranging from food to education. It is faster, more secure and more reliable— it is everything that could empower the writers and readers. The only other thing that is needed is an innovative mind that can give birth to brilliant technical creations in order to better support the writer and the world of books. Maybe this much-needed mind is yours.