NFTs, short for Non-Fungible Tokens, represent a new technological frontier that is still relatively unknown to the masses but holds significant opportunities in various sectors.
Currently, knowledge about NFTs is mostly limited to digital art, starting with collections like Cryptopunks or Bored Apes, which have created significant trends in the market, reaching astonishing values. Consequently, they are often mistakenly associated with pixelated men or bored monkeys. While this association might be acceptable during this experimental phase, the advent of Web 3.0 will expand their mass applications across various sectors.
The aforementioned collections focus on the social and collectible aspect, neglecting utility. Therefore, it becomes necessary to explore other sectors.
One such sector is publishing, a traditionally conservative industry associated with publishing houses, but which has seen evolutions with the rise of ebooks and self-publishing through innovative platforms.
NFTs could become an integrative technology for the publishing industry without disrupting its core fundamentals. The advantages could benefit both publishing houses and writers who decide to take their chances independently. Thanks to this technology, metadata can be associated, allowing for information such as author details or contacts to be included.
While containing an entire novel as metadata is possible, it would create complexities as there currently lacks a reader capable of rendering the reading experience enjoyable. However, since these data can be managed via blockchain, it appears feasible for future developments. To handle attachments that might be too large and risk clogging the blockchain, cloud solutions like the traditional Google Drive or cryptocurrency-related options like Filecoin come to the rescue.
As a self-published writer, I decided to experiment by connecting my publishing activity with my knowledge as a cryptocurrency enthusiast. I associated the NFT collection “Sands of Devils – Gate” with my self-published thriller novel “Sands of Devils,” making fifty copies available on Opensea.
To purchase the NFT, one needs to possess a non-custodial wallet. The safest approach is to interact with the platform using a hard wallet to ensure maximum security for private keys and transaction signatures.
Regarding my collection, I opted to utilize the low gas fees of the Polygon network. However, NFTs can also be minted on other networks like Ethereum, Solana, or BNB Chain. Users can choose the most suitable solution according to their needs.
Buyers of the NFT gain access to exclusive content. Inside the NFT, there is a link that leads to the cloud storage where the novel is saved in epub format. The buyer can then download it for free and read it on their PC or ebook reader.
The advantages are primarily economic. As Opensea is a decentralized platform, there are no intermediaries to pay, only the low fees of the Polygon network. While traditional publishers may pay authors up to 10% commission, Amazon can go up to 70%. However, an NFT allows creators to earn almost 100%. Additionally, the NFT can be resold by the first buyer, generating further profits for the creator. If the NFT becomes trendy, especially if the author gains fame, it can be resold at much higher prices than the initial ones.
This innovation can also be exploited by publishing houses, offering them a new outlet to support the promotional efforts for their novels.
However, there is a downside. NFTs remain a niche market, so those venturing into the publishing industry with them should consider aspects like building a community before making significant investments.
This community should be more oriented towards the world of cryptocurrencies than avid readers. A passionate reader without adequate knowledge of cryptocurrencies and self-custody is unlikely to be interested in purchasing an NFT. If they are interested, they will need complex training to avoid potential usage errors.
On the other hand, those who are already familiar with NFTs might be attracted to a possible new trend, even if they aren’t passionate readers.
NFTs undoubtedly offer significant opportunities, but we must never forget that we are at the dawn of a new vision for the Web and markets in general. This experimental phase can lead to colossal failures as well as revolutionary successes, be it in the field of publishing or elsewhere.