Reedsy: Bending into digital self-publishing

Image - iStockphoto: Noppharat05081977
Image – iStockphoto: Noppharat05081977

In the graphics for Reedsy, you sometimes spot “cattails,” as we call them in the sea islands of South Carolina. Reeds.

Thus one can go into an interview here hoping that the cutesy name for this new company isn’t a misspelling of “read.”

Big relief: “The name is meant to refer to reeds,” says chief operating officer Ricardo Fayet when pinned down on the matter. “We thought about reeds while thinking about papyrus. And the story is also connected to our logo,” Fayet says, “for which we use the ‘reeds’ heiroglyph to create a parrot.”

For reasons not well understood, many people behind publishing start-ups have a great fondness for cutesy company names. For example: Jellybooks, Bookigee, Bookshout, Flooved, Libboo, Jottify, Bublish, Publification, Varytale — and “Readfy” already is taken.

“So Reedsy is a cutesy name and a cutesy logo,” Fayet says, good sport that he is. “But we have put a lot of thought into it.”

ParrotAnd had the naming of the company been a terrible mistake, Fayet and his associates would have been rescued by editors ready to help: The company has just started inviting a curated list of editors and designers to join the Reedsy marketplace.

It may surprise some that this start-up working from IDEALondon, Shoreditch, is only now actively…starting up. For months, the players — most visibly Fayet, along with “chief everything officer” Emmanuel Nataf; lead designer Matthew Cobb; and chief technical officer Vincent Durand — have been a presence in The community’s #FutureChat sessions via the @ReedsyHQ handle. Only now, however, has the call gone out for a first wave of participation.

Reedsy was founded just this year. Since May, they’ve been with micro-seed investment fund Seedcamp, which is backing them in a 50-50 split with DC Thomson Ventures. It’s in the July announcement of that funding that you get a sense for the reach of ambition here. DC Thomson’s Nick Verkroost is quoted saying:

Consumer reading habits are changing. In the UK alone, self-publishing accounts for 20% of all ebooks and as barriers to entry come down the market is only going to accelerate. This new approach to reading needs a new kind of publisher – we believe that Reedsy could define the next generation of publishing.

Of course, because many self-publishers don’t use ISBNs — as covered in The FutureBook’s #FutureChat —  it’s not known whether self-publishing accounts for 20 percent of all ebooks. No one knows how many ebooks have been self-published. They cannot be fully counted. But what’s clear from the commentary attached to the backing is that the money sees stark opportunity in Reedsy, a key line in the investment statement reading:

The platform, which will launch soon, is looking to disrupt the publishing industry. 

Some might suggest that Reedsy take a number and queue up for that chance to “disrupt the publishing industry.” But it’s undeniable that the new company’s pace now begins picking up sharply.

“The next milestone,” Fayet says, “is opening up the site to authors. They’re going to be able to see the freelancers on our marketplace and message them directly in around two weeks.”

And when they message those freelancers, they can set a price to work together. Initially, freelancers and authors will handle financial transactions, contracts, and collaboration off-site. But contract and payment systems are expected to be functional on the site in October, Fayet says.

Reedsy will take 10 percent of each transaction. “We’re taking a cut because we actually [intend to] add value to the collaboration” between author and freelancer, “not as a finder’s fee.”

Read the Full Story at The FutureBook

Join us each Friday for a #FutureChat session with The Bookseller’s FutureBook community. We’ll be live on Twitter, at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York time, 8 a.m. Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Berlin, 3 p.m. GMT. 

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

The FutureBook: Reedsy: Bending into digital self-publishing

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