Friday, May 30, 2014

What’s Behind the Recent Growth of Self-Publishing in Brazil?


Over the last five years or so self-publishing has grown to be a very stable part of the book market on a global scale. International and local businesses have offered a variety of services for self publishing authors who are willing to distribute their books in a digital format. Kobo and Amazon are two such examples. This same type of growth in self-publishing has been happening in many different regions around the world, most recently in Brazil. Ricardo Almeida is the founder and CEO of the most popular self-publishing platform in Brazil, the Clube de Autores. They have been having remarkable growth and in 2014 they won the British Council YCE award.

Inception of Clube de Autores
In 2009, Clube de Autores was started by three writers who were having a difficult time publishing their books. They basically had only two choices: find a publishing company to sponsor the book – which was very rare; or pay the outlandish publishing fees outright. The three writers didn’t think that a market as huge as it is and one that is saturated with content should be so difficult to get started in. So they began working on their own self-publishing model that would be sensible for all writers. Their basic model was designed such that an author could publish their works online for free and once a sale was made the book could be downloaded or printed. The plan took off and worked perfectly so that now, five years after its inception, Clube de Autores publishes about 10% of all of the Brazilian market.

Challenges Clube de Autores has Faced
One of the biggest challenges the partners faced was printing the books on-demand. It was difficult to negotiate prices with a print shop to print books in these tiny batches. But the organizers would not give up on their vision because it was one of the factors they knew was necessary for the success of their self-publishing platform. They also faced all of the regular challenges for a business in Brazil, such as high taxes, postal company strikes, and government red tape. But their mindset was that these were just common barriers that they had to get around.

Growth of the Self-Publishing Platform in Brazil
One of the most surprising things for the three founders was how fast the platform began to grow. They knew it was going to be successful because of the high need of self-publishing authors, but it grew up overnight, much to their surprise. They learned to work well with their authors and eventually grew into a complete marketplace including reviews, book covers and a variety of needed professional services. They even received international recognition by being awarded the YCE award for their work.