INterview #3: Acorn Press

Today, we’ve interviewed Kristin Argall, the Senior Editor for Acorn Press. Acorn Press is one example of how the world is a little bigger because of eBooks: they come to us from Australia, and we’re proud to distribute their digital catalog. Kristin, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!

What distinguishes your company and makes you proud to work there?

KA: Acorn is a not-for-profit company that specializes in producing books written from a Christian perspective that will make a difference in people’s lives. I believe in the purpose of our product, as well as its quality. Also, I work with a bunch of people who I respect and trust – always a good thing!

What excites you about the world of digital publishing?

KA:  We can reach international markets easily – raising awareness of our product overseas.

The potential for even more ways to be creative when publishing content.

Accessibility of our product in remote areas where purchasing paper copies of our books is difficult.

Offering readers more options in terms of how they read our content.

The potential it has for people with disabilities – for example, the ease with which a book can become ‘large print’ for those with vision impairment.

women leadership and the church

What advice would you give to a new publisher or agent in this space?

KE:  Do your research. Read, newspaper and magazine articles and blogs.

The best thing we did was hand over our eBook production and distribution to INscribe. By doing this, we outsourced to a group that knew the industry much better than we did. We just didn’t have the resources to hire or ‘grow’ our own specialist.

Keep your expectations about sales low to start with.
Where did you get started in converting your titles? How did you decide to tackle your full list: in small groups, or all at once?
KA: We chose our best-sellers to start with (about five or six), and gradually started converting the rest of our backlist. Any new books automatically have a digital workflow incorporated into the publication schedule.

economics for life

What services (conversion, scanning, distribution, marketing) have you utilized through INscribe and how have they been?

KA: Conversion and distribution.

How has your workflow changed with eBooks?

KA:  eBooks have basically added to my workflow, in that I now have to include the eBook uploading/conversion/distribution aspects as well as all the usual parts of the paper book production process.

Requesting legal permission from authors for sale of their books as eBooks (our later contracts have this already incorporated into the general contract).

I also now spend time analyzing monthly sales and trends, so that I can inform the Board of how this is all going.

I also spend time reading articles and attending seminars, to keep abreast of what is taking place in the industry.

What are some the characteristics that you value most about the INscribe team?

KA: No question of mine is ‘too dumb’!

Patience and friendliness.

god next door

Tell us about the titles that you have pushed through INscribe (series? hits? back catalog?) What exciting books are on the horizon?

Our best seller is a book that won a major industry award in 2008 – ‘God Next Door’. We have more international interest in this book than any of our other books, and sales in the US are most encouraging.

We have some exciting projects on the horizon, but nothing settled in concrete yet. We are focusing on commissioning authors to write on issues we think need to be written on, rather than accepting unsolicited manuscripts. We hope that by changing how we acquire manuscripts, we will be producing books that meet current needs in our community.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next few years of digital publishing?

KA: Maybe things settling down a little so that I can catch my breath and just edit!

We’d like to thank Kristin for her time, and hope she gets a little time to catch her breath before her next blockbuster.  We think her ideas about how to get new books in this space are really compelling!  And of course…the bolding is ours.  We couldn’t help ourselves! We’re very proud to be part of Acorn Press’ story.