Is Pentian’s “Investment Model” for Books a Sure Bet?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

With Pentian’s model for crowdsourcing books, it turns the backer into a self-interested investor. But like with any investment, one must be willing to gamble.

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

Today’s feature article looks at the US launch of Pentian, a book crowdfunding site that pays backers of a book 50% of the profits from the sale of the title, with 40% going to the author and the remaining 10% to Pentian.

Co-founder Enrique Parrilla told our reporter Dennis Abrams that the platform offers a win/win for authors and investors: previously it was up to self-published authors to support their own promotion and publicity, now backers are financially invested in helping to promote book sales as well.

Pentian launched their US campaign at BEA.

Pentian launched their US campaign at BEA.

In essence, it turns the backers themselves into the de-facto publisher, with an interest in choosing the titles and working to move copies.

Let’s call it the “investment model” for publishing. By backing a book, you pay for a share — and that share’s value rises only if it is supported by the market. The risk is that all you get back is a book, but the potential upside is greater, provided you have an instinct to back winners.

Will the investment model for crowdfunding books work in the United States? But do investors really have enough information to make smart decisions? I expect as Pentian becomes more sophisticated, they will be able to offer more sophisticated investment tools over time — analytics, deeper information about the titles and authors on offer, etc.

Until then, it’s just like any new investment opportunity — part hope, part dream, part gamble.

But as anyone who has ever entered a casino knows, there is no shortage of people who like to gamble. “When we launched, we hoped to do 200 books in the first year,” Parrilla told Mercy Pilkington at Goodereader. “We did 200 books in the first eight weeks.”

Tell us, what tools and information would you like to see to enable you to make smarter choices in investing in Pentian’s titles?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.