Boldwood Books goes energetically global with simultaneous ebook, audiobook and POD, but will they still be leaving money on the table?

With a name like Boldwood Books one really wouldn’t expect anything less than a bold launch of a new publishing operation, and that’s exactly what Amanda Ridout has delivered.

While many bigger publishers have chosen to window releases, eschew the benefits of POD, downplay ebooks and carry on with archaic territorial restrictions, Amanda Ridout’s Boldwood Books has a refreshingly 2020s approach to publishing.

Wrote The Bookseller back in January,

Amanda Ridout is to return to publishing with the launch of Boldwood Books focused on commercial fiction published globally and “energetically”.

Ridout has secured funding from six private investors to launch the press, with its employees also taking a stake. Ridout, who left her role as c.e.o. of Head of Zeus (HoZ) in November 2017 and stepped down from the HoZ board last summer, will be joined by two HoZ refugees, publisher Caroline Ridding, and sales/marketing and publishing director Nia Beynon.

Boldwood Books plans to launch 20 titles in 2019, rising to 50 in 2020.

The press will look to acquire World English rights as standard, publishing initially in e-book, audio and print-on-demand, and other physical editions when required.

The name Boldwood Books derives from the farmer of the same name (Boldwood, not Books) in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd.

That was The Bookseller in January, and this week comes news from same that all twenty of the initial books published are by female authors.

Amanda Ridout has announced a “thrilling” 20-strong, all-female launch list for her new commercial fiction press Boldwood with plans to publish in e-book, audio and print-on-demand simultaneously on a global scale.

Head over to the OP for the details of the authors and titles.

Ridout told The Bookseller the all-female list (selected by an all-female editorial team) was not by design, rather “just the way the cookie crumbles,” and that the press was open to male authors. That’s refreshing in itself at a time when many publishers are so busy trying to be inclusive and have a balanced author lists that tick all the right boxes, that the most important box of all – a good book – is sidelined.

All the titles will be published simultaneously as ebooks, digital and CD audio, and as POD in all English-language territories.

Ridout told The Bookseller,

What we want to do is capitalise on when the noise as the greatest around the launch. Certainly, readers don’t understand why they can’t get all the formats on the same day.

More details about the venture over at The Bookseller, and of course on the Boldwood Books website.

Here, I’d propose to venture in a slightly different direction, and ask, what exactly does “all English-language territories” even mean in 2019?

Of course we all know what it meant under the 20th century publishing model. US and Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and maybe South Africa and India on a good day.

But we’re months away from the 2020s. POD distribution still presents many hurdles at a global level, but for ebooks and audiobooks English language territories really can, subject to the publisher ticking the right boxes and engaging with the right distributors, mean all English-language territories.

Will Boldwood Books titles be available here in The Gambia, West Africa? English is the official language, yet I can’t buy from the Kindle store, Apple Books or Google Play Books here, and while Kobo is available most English-language books from mainstream publishers are not. Why? Because of archaic territorial rights.

And then of course there’s “English-language territories” in a broader sense. As in the “Rest of the World.”

At which point it’s worth reminding ourselves of a TNPS headline just a few days ago.

Big Bad Wolf takes millions of English-language books to Taiwan, Myanmar, Indonesia and Pakistan as publishers look the other way

Of course Big Bad Wolf sells remaindered stock, so the prices are somewhat more competitive than regular publishers can compete with, but when it comes to digital books pricing is a lot more fluid than for physical books that require printing, warehousing, distribution and returns factored into the final price.

Which means that “English-language territories” can very much mean everywhere on the planet, and publishers adhering to archaic twentieth century ideas about book distribution really need to wake up and smell the coffee, because they are leaving money on the table every time they restrict a territory from sale.

That’s not to say Boldwood Books has missed this opportunity. Too soon to say. The book aren’t due to go on sale until September.

But at which point I’m not enthused by the fact that the audiobooks will be produced by Britain’s Ulverscroft, whose website suggests distribution is limited to US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

I am impressed that Boldwood Books is (looking at one title picked at random) selling the print edition at £12.99 and the ebook at £1.99 (GBP).

But will I be able to buy it here in The Gambia without having to hide behind my ex-pat credentials and using my UK store privileges?

Will “English language territories” really mean English language territories. Will global really mean global?

Now that would be bold.

One Reply to “Boldwood Books goes energetically global with simultaneous ebook, audiobook and POD, but will they still be leaving money on the table?”

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