Analyzing the Relationship Between Blockchain and Publishing

Feb 11, 2022 Ver este post en Español

Traditional distribution and revenue models aren’t cutting it anymore (and haven’t been for a while), so publishers are looking for a clever way to move forward, distribute profits, manage copyright and licensing costs, and facilitate collaboration. Blockchain accomplishes this in a less centralized way compared to traditional publishing.

Find out why blockchain and publishing are a perfect match, what smart contracts are and how publishers can benefit from them, and what fears may come up for publishers concerning blockchain. To conclude, you’ll learn about how Orvium integrates blockchain for publishers.

Why Blockchain and Publishing are a Perfect Match

In the past, fewer people focused on the digital side of publishing. However, following the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the digital publishing world and in knowing about the different technologies that are on the market. This is especially great news for blockchain.

If you read our article about how blockchain is a resource for publishers, you know that it’s a digital database that collects information, such as transactions, together in groups or blocks. If you record a transaction in a blockchain, it’s there forever; you can’t modify, delete, or tamper with it.

This is great because you can have transactions in a blockchain, and you can use those transactions to store a digital asset to ensure that it’s assigned to its respective owner. For example, if you are an author or publisher and you publish a report or book, with blockchain, everyone will know that the asset belongs to you. If a reader then purchases your report or book, they keep a copy of it, while the copyright remains with the author and publisher (you). Conversely, if you’re a customer, your transaction is recorded in the blockchain.

Because it records every move, blockchain is one of the most secure ways to electronically store data and content because no one can steal your work or wrongly profit from it. Additionally, you can add ID stamps to published materials with blockchain to protect ownership rights for creators and publishers. In this way, blockchain is a step in the right direction concerning copyright and digital piracy problems by creating “digital footprints” of your digital assets.

What are Smart Contracts and How Can Publishers Benefit From Them?

One of the cool features of blockchain is smart contracts. With smart contracts, you automate the contract rules (royalty distribution, timeframes, discounts, advertising, subscriptions, etc.) through programs or development in the blockchain. You can have multiple rules, and blockchain will apply them for you with smart contracts, significantly reducing time and cost when creating a contract. Say, for example, you have a contract with a marketplace, and you want them to receive 30% of your profits, 10% goes to charity, and you keep the rest; the smart contract automatically applies those rules for you.

Blockchain can do what you want, automatically and without third-party involvement, as soon as there’s a transaction. This is especially beneficial for authors and publishers because the transaction takes place at that moment, not weeks or months down the line, meaning you receive your money (according to your stipulations) right away. And because you can split royalty distribution as you wish, a smart contract can continue to do what you ask it to even after the death of an author or publisher.

Additionally, smart contracts allow you to set a timeline for your transactions. For example, you want to allow readers to resell an ebook on the blockchain a year after you’ve started selling it. You can set rules in your smart contract (I’ll let my readers resell for 50% of the profits), and you’ll start receiving money from those transactions a year later. This creates another sub-market and new revenue streams for you.

What are Some Fears Associated with Blockchain for Publishers?

Although blockchain has many exciting features that benefit the publishing community by securing and making payments more transparent (and not only), only about 10% of publishers incorporate it into their strategy. This is because some people in the industry equate it to cryptocurrency, downright dismiss new technology, or simply are very hesitant to try blockchain.

In his book, Transforming Scholarly Publishing With Blockchain Technologies and AI, writer and editor Darrell W. Gunter said that blockchain is a compelling technology and that the scholarly publishing industry is in the early days of digital transformation. By using blockchain, the industry “can significantly improve the flow of research, drive down costs, and introduce new efficiencies” in the industry. However, they have been resistant to change.

He continues to say that “these reasons include but are not limited to staying with legacy systems, cost of new platforms, changing cultures, and understanding and adopting new technologies.” However, “with proper research and information provided, the publishing industry can adopt these technologies for beneficial advancements and the generation of a bright future.”

How Orvium Uses Blockchain to Publishers’ Advantage

There has never been a better time for publishers to explore the benefits of blockchain than now. If you’re (understandably) cautious about getting involved in this rapidly evolving technology sector, you will have to invest some time to learn about it if you want to understand it. You can start out by joining a group on social media or opening a crypto wallet.

Orvium wants to see blockchain become a more integral part of the publishing industry, so we use blockchain to make science transparent and available to all. Whether you’re a researcher, editor, or reviewer, you can protect your work with built-in blockchain integration. This means you can save the authorship of your work directly into the blockchain. You can also use it to reward other reviewers using Orvium tokens.

If you want to see more about how we use blockchain to make your integration with blockchain easier, check out our platform.

Also, for more information, make sure you check out our article about the 7 benefits of blockchain in publishing.


Roberto Rabasco

+10 years’ experience working for Deutsche Telekom, Just Eat or Asos. Leading, designing and developing high-availability software solutions, he built his own software house in '16