PUBLISHING AGENCY ←Ebooks WEBSITES→ONLINE WRITERS
Generally, the value chain runs as follows. Writers who can be anyone (You don’t have to be a professional or a full-time writer) register an account on the website and will have a blog online. Then they begin to post their writings, most of which are novels and update regularly. The users / readers can read the new or updated novels and their click rate will be recorded. If some novel is really popular among the readers, the editors of the websites will review it and then recommend it to publishers. Publishers will re-evaluate whether it is valuable or profitable to have the novel published. If the novel is to be on market, the online part will be locked which means that online users will have to pay to read it or just wait to buy the hard copy.
Website plays a significant role in the value chain since it seems like a bridge which connects the publishing agency and the writers. Editors employed by the websites work as writer-hunters.
The new value chain enjoys several competitive advantages in my personal perspective:
1) Regular interaction with the readers – If some new novel is posted, writers will get the instant feedback or comments and can revise it immediately.
2) Mutual support among writers-If someone is writing a novel on Qing Dynasty, another who might have done some research about Qing Dynasty could share the research summary.
3) More vivid writing style-Some new icons or even new mandarin characters have been created because of the online writing. (- _ -||| means embarrassing, @_@ means confusing, $_$ means that the guy is a moneygrubber.)
However, there are critiques. Some scholars criticized that the writing style is not mature or formal enough and the writings are more like fast-food reading materials. That might not do good to readers in the long run. Copy right is another issue that someone’s novel will be stolen or borrowed easily by others without being noticed. Further, ethical problems are concerned. Is it ethical to write your neighbor’s story without being consented by him or her?
By and large, I think that the business model of publishing industry has been changed inevitably, which is a sound situation as long as the problems mentioned above are being fixed.