Creating an Electronic Bestseller
Once accepted for virtual publication, all incoming manuscripts are checked for spelling and grammar errors, as well as formatting, but the staff is instructed not to edit for style or content. After the manuscript is converted into an accepted format, a virtual book jacket is designed by an in-house designer, Snow explains. Each book gets one, custom-designed. Then, based on subject matter, the book is categorized and later logged into the database under the appropriate category. After the book is assigned a unique product ID number in order to track the credit card purchases to pay the authors their royalties, it's ready to be sold online.
Regnery may be the first large publisher to use 1stBooks to publish online, but certainly not the last one. Although Snow can't discuss the specifics, more titles from Regnery and other publishers are to be distributed through The 1stBooks Library this year. Currently, the company is servicing about 1,200 author-publishers and a number of presses, with more than 1,600 titles available online and 100 to 200 new titles coming in every month (400 to 500 of the titles are public-domain classics, which are free. Snow says he hopes to bring the number up to 2,000 by the end of March). Going a step further and beyond the realm of book publishing, Snow summarizes, "When modems get a little faster, you could also download a music CD or a videotape," suggesting that books may be just one of many virtual products available in the future.