Here’s a question: when’s the last time you went to your local library? Maybe you dropped by and saw they had a promotion about ebooks. Or you stop by once in a while for audiobooks. The last few years, it seems like libraries have been playing catch up as books, movies, and media in general have gone digital. However, a new partnership with Fastpencil and Auto-Graphics is bringing a whole new option to libraries: self-publishing resources and content!
I had the chance to talk today with Steve Wilson of Fastpencil and Robert Brown of Auto-Graphics. Fastpencil is a huge self publishing company, and Auto-Graphics runs the technology tools for libraries all over the country. So together they become a formidable team to give libraries an edge in attracting consumers! As Robert kept emphasizing on our call, libraries have all the ingredients to make this a perfect ecosystem: they have access to incredible amounts of research, patrons who need and use library tools, including self publishing resources, and more patrons who can check out finished books after they are written and self published. And remember, we aren’t just talking about your local municipal library. This partnership is a way for schools and corporate libraries to leverage internal publications, syllabi, etc.
What really came through in the conversation is how excited both companies are to be creating this new business for libraries. It’s truly an untapped market, and one that fits perfectly for everyone. Libraries have an uphill battle in the ebook world, where publishers keep restricting the number of loans available and increasing purchase costs. For consumers, this doesn’t just toss them into the self publishing world on their own. Libraries will be offering Fastpencil’s impressive array of tools, both online and on location. One of the tidbits Robert tossed out in our conversation is that 87% of people surveyed believe they have an idea for a book. Imagine coming up with an idea, and instead of trying to do it on your own, you can hit up a workshop, or a monthly meeting at your local library. And the library gives you tools to self publish. Finally, you finish the book, and it can even be carried at, you guessed it, the local library, in both print and ebook form. It’s an excellent way to flow cleanly from creativity to finished product!
Personally, I think this entire idea is brilliant. This is combining an established and well known brand like Fastpencil with a community, resources, and potential writers. It offers an opportunity to give libraries and future authors the chance to shake up the status quo in publishing, and change the conversation from the red tape of publishing a book to the real story-the content. Whether it’s an educational or internal resource manual, or the next great American novel, thanks to Fastpencil and Auto-Graphics, it just might be brewing at your local library!
For those who want more information, check out the full press release below:
Auto-Graphics Partners with FastPencil to Power Libraries with Book Publishing Capabilities
Authors Can Now Design, Publish and Distribute Books in Print and Digital Formats Through Libraries for the First Time
POMONA, Calif. — October 3, 2012 – Auto-Graphics, Inc., a leading provider of tools, technologies and services that enable libraries to create, manage and provide personalized access to print and digital collections, and FastPencil today announced a partnership that provides library patrons with access to FastPencil’s book publishing engine through its Library Management Platform™. Library members will have the ability to use FastPencil’s next-generation publishing platform to write, design, publish and sell books in print and digital formats directly through their local libraries.
“We are excited about the prospect of changing the way people view the role of their libraries and we believe that self publishing presents just that opportunity,” said Robert Brown, EVP of Auto-Graphics. “Libraries can now provide this resource to any would-be author, allowing them to create, publish and distribute their musings along-side the world’s finest authors in either a traditional or ebook format. Participating libraries now have the opportunity to redefine their role as true purveyors of content by delivering new avenues to educate and advance the greater community through the writings of anyone, regardless of their social or economic status.”
“FastPencil is thrilled to partner with Auto-Graphics, a highly-respected company with six decades of service, to provide library members across North America with our book publishing engine,” said Steve Wilson, FastPencil CEO and co-founder. “Eighty percent of people aspire to write a book in this country, and we are excited to have the opportunity to offer library members all the tools necessary to publish their story, no matter what it is.”
FastPencil’s platform provides aspiring and experienced authors with the technology to publish any quantity of books with ease, have control over their content, and enjoy higher margins for revenue and increased speed to market. To start, a select group of Auto-Graphics’ customers will have access to the publishing engine and over time, patrons of the 5,500 libraries working with Auto-Graphics will have the freedom and power to publish quality books. The service is available as a standalone product or seamlessly integrated into Auto-Graphics’ VERSO® ILS, SHAREit™ interlibrary loan solution or SEARCHit™ federated search product.
Through an easy-to-use interface, libraries will offer patrons five powerful features including:
• Connect: Collaborate easily and securely within the content management system and directly connect to publishing and retail industry leaders as well as social networking platforms.
• Write: Write, edit and manage projects on the web or from any device. Track revisions and version history and work with multiple editors and contributors.
• Convert: Using the Publishing Setup wizard, convert files into multiple formats for both print books and e-books to prepare for distribution into a variety of channels.
• Publish: Through the publishing module, directly upload files as a new project or write, convert and publish directly through the content management system. This module provides a unique ISBN number and distributes to hundreds of book retailers.
• Sell: Access an independent e-commerce and order fulfillment system through FastPencil’s Marketplace. Custom URLs and BookBuy widgets are automatically generated upon publishing to assist with marketing campaigns. Royalty reporting is captured and displayed on a dashboard.
Auto-Graphics’ solutions help public and private organizations manage their data so users can find and use the most relevant content available. Auto-Graphics partners with public and academic libraries as well as several types of special libraries, including legal, medical, research, government, museum and corporate libraries.
For more information visit – http://www4.auto-graphics.com/web_newsevents/fastpencil.asp.