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Publishers and publishing, Book industries and trade, Crowd funding


With its utilization of an environment as fluid and innovative as the internet, it’s no wonder that the digital revolution is an ongoing phenomenon that is reinvigorated time and time again with no signs of slowing down. As advanced digital technologies and practices are rolled out by developers and embraced by consumers, commercial companies are thrust headlong into a necessitated showing of adaptability, progressiveness, and up-to-the-minute technological fluency. For the publishing industry, these expectations have been met with a slow yet relatively steady adherence—an understandable reaction considering how so many digital innovations appeared at the time to have the express goal of depreciating traditional publishers to the point of obsolescence.

One such digital innovation was the development of online crowdfunding platforms. While seemingly innocuous, these destinations for internet fundraising were actually thought by many publishers to pose one of the greatest threats of disrupting the traditional publishing business model, the likes of which had not been seen since the advent of the ebook or the rising popularity of self-publishing. However, as the crowdfunding boom continues to intensify, once-hesitant publishers have begun to take note of the two primary, enticing benefits of using these platforms: upfront capital via backer pledges, and the ability to anticipate whether readers will—or will not— respond well to a book project. While the first benefit is undeniable—money raised is money spent—the second is more nebulous. Can crowdfunding campaigns really serve as a trusted means of discerning market interest for a book pre-publication, and if so, how can traditional publishers take advantage of this growing trend in a way that is authentic and sustainable, if at all? This dissertation seeks to prove, by way of industry research and the opinions of trade professionals, that such a utilization of online crowdfunding by the publishing industry, while greatly advantageous, cannot take place without the adoption of an entirely new publishing business model.


Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree: Master of Science in Writing With a Focus in Book Publishing

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