Macmillan Acquires Self-Pub Distributor Pronoun

unnamedWhen Vook announced last May that it was reorganizing as Pronoun and pivoting to offer a distribution platform which was free to authors, many people were left wondering just how Pronoun would keep the lights on.

They said they were going to generate revenue from outside development work, which didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Now it looks like Pronoun had another plan.

Pronoun has sent out an email to authors who signed up with the platform, informing them that the company had been acquired:

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Pronoun is joining Macmillan Publishers, a global trade book publishing company with over 100 years experience, and amazing imprints around the world. Macmillan shares our philosophy that publishing exists to serve the full spectrum of authors. By joining forces, we’ll be able to invest even more in improving and growing Pronoun’s self-publishing platform, all while giving successful independent authors a path towards more opportunity.

As a division of Macmillan, we’ll be doubling down on Pronoun’s free core platform, while also investing in additional levels of service and support. We will continue to make the best products we can, starting with the needs of authors and building from there. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on lately!

That's an oddly appropriate next step for a company that has more pivots in the past 7 years than any other in the digital publishing space.

Pronoun got its start as Vook in 2009. At the time, it was a publisher which made enhanced ebook apps for the iPhone. It later expanded to include the iPad and Android apps, and enhanced ebooks for Kindle and other platforms, and then pivoted to making the enhanced ebooks as a service for authors and publishers.

And then in 2012 it pivoted to focus on distributing ebooks, including all types, before finally rebranding in 2015 itself as Pronoun.

And now it's a Macmillan sub.

How long do you think it will be before Macmillan kills it?

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11585 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Macmillan Acquires Self-Pub Distributor Pronoun

  1. It would make a lot of sense for a big traditional publishing company to co-opt self-publishing rather than fight it. If they offered a really good service, with a fair cut and nice promotion, they could be on the ground floor of any new popular writers and be in a position to offer the reasonable contracts to shift into traditional publishing. It could be a great minor league. That would be the smart thing to do.

    So, yeah, they’ll probably screw it up, waste a lot of money, and then shut it down.

  2. The most likely use for it will be as yet another feeder for Author Solutions. Anybody on their mailing list had better beware.

    • That was going to be my comment too.

      What’s the over/under for number of weeks to the announcement?

      I’ll guess about 5 weeks near the end of the quarter in June. If not there then sometime about 10 weeks in the first week or two of August.

  3. This.

    The mention of “additional levels of service and support” made me very, very suspicious. Those certainly won’t come without fees…

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