Turning to the Crowd
Tuesday’s (April 12) seminar panel included leaders in the field such as Enrique Parrilla, Chief Executive Officer of Spanish book crowdfunding platform Pentian, and Jan Kasprzycki-Rosikon, Managing Director of Polish crowdsourcing site MillionYou.
According to chairperson Angus Phillips, Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, “there is clearly an appetite amongst the audience to get involved in curating content at a very early stage.”
The question the panel was trying to answer was how are authors and publishers trying to leverage this. While some of Kickstarter’s greatest successes have included exploding kittens and zombie board games [not forgetting Occulus Rift], over $22m has been raised for publishing projects, making them the third most popular category, according to Phillips.
The seminar drew its name from the book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. Published in 2004, James Surowiecki’s classic argues that the aggregation of information in groups leads to decisions that are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. And the Internet turns out to be quite good at creating these groups or communities. Out of this came the idea of crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional finance, and crowdsourcing as an alternative to asking the usual suppliers of services.
There are two main types of crowdfunding: through rewards such as dinner with the author in exchange for funding; or equity, which usually means a share of equity, but in publishing tends to mean a share of royalties. It usually involves the proposer, a platform like Kickstarter or Unbound, and the individuals or groups who support it.
Crowdsourcing is the process of acquiring services, ideas, or content by asking for contributions from among a large group of people rather than traditional sources of finance.
Like Mitchinson, Enrique Parrilla, whose tells us that company is experiencing 35-percent annual growth, says he “wants to meet needs that the traditional industry doesn’t fulfill.