Open Road Media is a six-year-old publishing company which has made a name for itself for (among other things) digitizing backlists. This is why it bought Richard Curtis's E-Reads early last year, and how it ended up in a lawsuit with HarperCollins over Julie of the Wolves.
And now Open Road is putting its expertise to the good of The Authors Guild members. Late last week The Authors Guild announced a new partnership with Open Road Media which would help members digitize their out of print backlist titles:
Today, the Authors Guild and Open Road Integrated Media announced a new partnership for the Authors Guild’s Back in Print program, one of the Guild’s most popular services. Through Open Road, Authors Guild members will be able to distribute print-on-demand, e-book, and audiobook editions of their out-of-print titles. The e-books and audio book options are new to the program.
“We’re excited to work with Open Road,” the Guild’s Executive Director, Mary Rasenberger, said in the press release, “and to offer our members their best-in-class digitization and tremendous breadth of distribution.”
I briefly mentioned this deal last Friday when I covered the end of a similar deal with iUniverse, one of Author Solutions' many hydra heads, and I decided today that it was worth a second look (there are two stories in that one announcement, after all).
The new deal won't be going into effect until the fall, which should give the two parties time to work out details including exactly how ORM is going to handle creating the audiobooks mentioned above; that is not an option mentioned on the ORM website.
The website does make it clear, however, that ORM can help authors get their works back on the market. This startup can generate an ebook from a PDF or other source document, or even scan a print book and OCR the text.
They'll create an ebook and POD source file, distribute both to the usual channels, and pay the author 80% of net proceeds (according to the website).
That is a much better deal for authors than the one it replaced, which involved Author Solutions.
And so far as I can see, it is also the same deal that an author could get by dealing directly with Open Road Media, so I'm not sure what is gained here - other than the fact that The Authors Guild is no longer pimping out its members, but is instead directing the members to a service where they can make money.