Oftentimes when we hear the word “NFT”, our minds immediately begin to imagine a collection of 10,000 customized characters with a unique set of properties, or remember a quirky “.eth” domain name that could be worth millions one day. Artists have utilized NFTs as a medium for several years through photography, graphic design, and by designing avatars for Twitter profile pictures. Although artists have received mass exposure and on-going royalties for their art for the first time in history, there still seems to be one sub-group of creatives who remain underground: Writers.
A common misconception is that NFTs can solely be used for digital collectables, ticket vouchers, MP3 files, or domain names, but for some reason the writers who meticulously curate each syllable of content on the internet are left out of the equation. Similar to visual art, without writers the world would quite literally have no meaning. Writing is the fuel that drives communication, and a writer’s dialogue serves society as a whole.
While there is a real shortage and lack of recognition for writers in Web3, this also presents a niche opportunity. At the time of writing, there is no option to mint a PDF file on OpenSea, or any other major NFT marketplaces. This means writers are left without a platform to publish their works or have their words live infinitely on the blockchain. NFTs are still a blossoming industry, and several platforms have been established to help writers scale and gain recognition for their work, most notably Mirror and Creatokia.
What would separate an NFT book from a traditional Amazon or Barnes & Noble ebook, is that the ownership of the digital ebook belongs to the distributor (i.e. Amazon). If Amazon’s platform were to shut down tomorrow, so would access to the ebook. NFT books are more similar to physical books because they are solely in the buyer's possession, and you would own a specific copy within the collection of copies.
Book NFTs have massive potential for the publishing industry, and are more economically and sentimentally feasible for readers and writers alike. Unlike traditional ebook royalties through Amazon and other platforms, writers can continue receiving royalties even after their work is resold on the market (which is impossible in the traditional publishing industry).
Books have been an integral part of preserving knowledge and history for centuries, and blockchain technology makes it possible to continue preserving documentation in the age of digital content. We’ll explore several advantages writers can benefit from when they publish their works through NFTs.
Ownership for Readers
As we mentioned earlier, owning a digital copy of an NFT book makes it nearly impossible for it to disappear at the hands of an outside party. Digital NFT books can be used as proof of ownership over a certain edition for readers, and each edition can resell at a higher price based on its rarity, similar to the antique book market.
Revenue and Royalties
In the traditional publishing industry, an author would spend months, or even years going through the qualms of getting their work edited, approved, and printed by a publishing house. Authors would then have to settle on a fixed royalty fee for their intellectual property, which is oftentimes less than 15%. By self-publishing via NFTs, authors have the freedom to set their own prices and royalties for book sales. Currently Amazon’s royalty rate of 70% stops at $9.99 per ebook. Above or below that price is 35%, and these rates have been unchanged for ten years, despite inflation.
NFTs have revolutionized royalties in ways that were unknown since the dawn of the internet. Traditionally, authors would receive no royalties after their books were resold, however blockchain technology changes this. Authors can utilize smart contracts to receive a percentage each time their NFT book is resold. Even educational textbook publishers such as Pearson, are moving towards implementing NFTs into their business model to make up for the lost income from second hand sales.
Opportunities for Fan Utility
More renowned authors with established fandoms can go beyond selling digital copies of their work. Authors have the ability to bundle digital files (videos, audio files, graphics) with their work so readers can have a more pleasurable reading experience. Fans would gladly pay more to get inside the head of their favorite author, and go as far as buying digital NFT characters from the book, or even a rare piece of book cover art. Authors can also consider selling signed copies of their books as a utility, and even offering special additions with the author’s notes and a unique forward attached. Fans, especially younger generations are beginning to see digital collectables similar to physical ones, and with ownership being recorded forever on the blockchain, authors can build entire NFT collections to further expand and monetize their literary universe.
With the ability to mint their writing in multiple formats, writers have endless opportunities to profit from publishing their work as NFTs. Even educational journals and whitepapers can be minted as NFTs on select platforms. While traditional book formats such as PDF files, are still incompatible with major NFT marketplaces, there is a huge opportunity to build a platform for writers who wish to share their work on Web3. Services such as Chain NFTs offer support from market strategy to design direction for writers, authors, and poets who wish to publish their work on the blockchain. As the NFT market slowly matures and gains widespread acceptance, it’s inevitable that authors and readers will play a massive role in the space.
Chain is a blockchain infrastructure solution company that has been on a mission to enable a smarter and more connected economy since 2014. Chain offers builders in the Web3 industry services that help streamline the process of developing, and maintaining their blockchain infrastructures. Chain implements a SaaS model for its products that addresses the complexities of overall blockchain management. Chain offers a variety of products such as Ledger, Cloud, and NFTs as a service. Companies who choose to utilize Chain’s services will be able to free up resources for developers and cut costs so that clients can focus on their own products and customer experience. Learn more: https://chain.com.
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