Kobo gets into publishing

I’m a bit slow on the draw here, but Kobo announced yesterday that it’s going into the publishing business. (I find it a bit curious that, a day later, none of this information seems to be on the main Kobo site—at least not in any of the obvious places, such as its blog or press centre.)

Apparently Kobo will be actively acquiring new titles and editing as well as designing them. I wonder what rates the company will be willing to pay its editors and whether they will be competitive with those of traditional publishers. Will Kobo bother to hire top-notch editors? Or will it take advantage of the low-cost outsourcing opportunities available on such sites as Elance and oDesk? It’ll also be interesting to see what the workflow will look like and whether this further addition to the burgeoning ebook medium will lead to formal, systematized professional development opportunities to train editors on ebook best practices.

Generally I’d say that the recent growth of ebooks is good news for editors; as many of my colleagues have discovered, helping self-publishing authors with their manuscripts can be huge business. However, with the glut of uncurated content, it can also be hard to impress upon the authors the importance of professional standards (I take heart in the fact that people on social networks still bother to correct others’ spellings—though Muphry’s Law does apply), and being an editor for a self-publisher can also mean becoming de facto project manager—a role you may or may not have wanted.

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