Editors, Authors, the Value of Intellectual Property, and the eBook imperative
1. Ethical ePublishing in the 21st Century
WalrusInk is a publisher much like any publisher. It’s an old-fashioned sort of business based on collaboration between authors and editorsâ€”content and presentation. We’re updating this model for the 21st century by going back to the basic concept of forging relationships, where editors and authors choose to work together toward a common goal. Essentially, we’re in this together!
WalrusInk is made up of editors and publishing professionals with a shared sense of values that has made us friends and encouraged us to find a way of working together. We’re all deeply committed to new technology in particular, ePublishing generally, and to ethical behavior. We value people above profits, quality before quantity, and what’s useful and enduring beyond what’s popular and fashionable.
We enjoy working with smart people, we believe in mutual respect, and we’re committed to producing a first-rate product. Weâ€™re convinced that ethical behavior is essential to our long-term success, and weâ€™ve identified three principles as key: Fairness, Mutual Respect, and Equity. Hereâ€™s how we intend to apply them to the WalrusInk Publishing and Business Models.
2. Fairness vs. Greedâ€”Agreeing on common goals
Honesty, openness, and an agreement to work together toward a common goal, the published work, forge the bond that tie author and publisher together. We all wish to profit from our efforts, but the effort is based on mutual commitment rather than greed.
This commitment includes embracing all that technology has to offer to help us work together efficiently, but at the same time, publishing remains a matter of custom crafting. The efficiency of greed favors assembly line automation, while fairness to both authors and readers demands attention to quality. Since neither writing nor editing can be automated, we take the time to pay attention to the details that quality work requires.
We prefer thoughtful efficiency to greed, which impedes cooperation, creates an atmosphere of mistrust, and lowers quality. Fairness, mutual respect, and shared goals constitute the glue that hold our working commitment together.
3. Mutual Respect vs. Contemptâ€”Achieving workable solutions
Publishing is collaborative and collaboration demands cooperation. Agreeing to a common goal is important, but reaching the goal together is another matter. Itâ€™s as if each book becomes part of a dialectic. We may find ourselves in disagreement over various points, but by establishing relationships based on mutual respect, every such point can lead to an open and honest discussion, and then ultimately to a workable solution.
For everyone at WalrusInk, authors are the superstars of publishing and should be accorded the greatest respect. We have expertise as editors and know book markets and the process of publishing well. Weâ€™re also able to keep authors on track and productive, but this is all part of our service as an ePublisher focused on producing a high-quality product. We will never hold an author in contempt or treat them with disrespect for missing a delivery date. Writing books is hard work and there are many legitimate reasons for taking longer than expected.
We are proud of our authors and are content to help hone, clarify, and ultimately publish their work, and then make it available to buyers, the seekers of knowledge, our loyal customers. Without mutual respect, authors become no better than writing machines that are easily replaced, and we know only too well that such is not the case!
4. Equity vs. Tyrannyâ€”ePublishing for fun and profit
At WalrusInk, we know the Publishing industry well and love being a part of. We are also passionate about technology, which is why we see ePublishing as such an exciting opportunity. ePublishing involves rapidly changing technologies that are ushering in a genuinely lighter-weight age of publishing. It is providing a fundamental shift in the way knowledge is acquired and consumed and we see this as a genuine advance.
ePublishing also makes it possible to change the old business models based on lithographic printing and binding, fulfillment and distributionâ€”expensive, heavy-weight, and riskyâ€”for more agile models. WalrusInk plans to replace the old, inequitable royalty model with revenue sharing. Instead of a six- to nine-month delay between sales and payments, we expect something closer to 30 to 60 days. Instead of 10%-15% of net sales, we think 50% of gross sales exceeding expenses should be shared with our authors.
Lest you think weâ€™re hopeless idealists, we should make it clear that we do intend to make a profit and live comfortable, middle class lives. We just don’t wish to do so at the expense of others. We believe that we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by sharing the wealth, and are convinced that we can have it both ways; that we can realize our ethical values by sharing revenue fairly with authors, and at the same time generate sufficient revenue to reward ourselves and continue to expand WalrusInk as the ePublishing world grows.