Thursday, December 03, 2015

Reading list: commercializing fanworks in the US and Japan

Nele Noppe, Mechanisms of control in online fanwork sales: A comparison of Kindle Worlds and, 12 Participations 218, 231 (2015) (citations and footnote omitted):
This research also suggests that while the establishment of Kindle Worlds may have been a watershed moment for fanwork sales in the U.S., its apparent failure should not be taken as proof that all fans are inherently opposed to the monetization of their works. alone serves hundreds of thousands of fans that are interested in selling and buying digital fanworks, including many English-speaking fans. Fanwork monetization is neither new nor exceptional even in parts of English-speaking fan culture. To provide just one example, ‘filing off the serial numbers,’ or changing identifying names from fan fiction in order to publish it as an ‘original’ novel, is a practice with a long and storied history that is currently popular especially in the Twilight fandom from which Fifty Shades of Grey hailed. The existence of ‘filing off the serial numbers’ and other strategies of fanwork monetization suggests that Kindle Worlds is not failing because all fans are uninterested in selling fanworks, or because all fans believe that fanwork exchange should only be ‘non-commercial’. I would argue that Kindle Worlds is failing because it does not add enough value for fans – value to their fannish experience, or to their commercial aspirations. This implies that fanwork sales could be successful on the English-speaking Internet if a better business model were found.

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