Verso Books, “the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world,” has announced a new direct sales model from its website “in a way that will shake up how publishers relate to their readership, and help to support independent publishing. For all new titles and hundreds of recent ones, Verso will bundle the corresponding ebook with every print copy purchased, and offer free postage to anywhere in the world.”
Verso lists off its partners in the new platform, including “developers Fastest Crayon, payment provider Braintree, social DRM publisher Booxtream, and Verso¹s distributors Random House in the US and Marston in the UK.” And continuing with the radical theme (even when Random House is on the distributor list), Verso will be using “social DRM” technology developed by Booxtream, which is compatible with all reading devices and software. Each book is visibly and invisibly watermarked with details of the purchaser and license, and can be re-downloaded from the Verso website.”
According to Verso MD Jacob Stevens: “We know that our core readership would like to support radical publishing directly, and we hope that this new approach will benefit our writers, readers, and colleagues across the industry.”
Whether other publishers less wedded to Verso’s purpose-driven approach adopt a similar model remains to be seen. But it’s certainly one worth watching.