The Comprehensive Guide to NFT Books
NFTs seem to be the newest trend in the blockchain technology. By the end of 2021, the NFT market surpassed $40 billion in value, according to an NFT market report. The sales of NFTs jumped from $350 million in 2020 to $2 billion in 2021.
But how does that affect writers? What do NFT books mean exactly and how do they differ from digital ebooks? And what are the best platforms for NFT book publishing? We are going to explore all these questions, and more, in this article.
What Is an NFT?
Before going into the details of NFT books, let’s first explain what NFTs actually are. Think of an NFT as the ownership of a digital file. The term itself stands for non-fungible token which is a digital asset that exists and is traded on a blockchain. This token, by definition, is irreplaceable, which gives it more value because of its digital scarcity. It could be anything digital, from artwork to video games and music.
The act of adding these digital files as NFTs on a blockchain is known as minting. The most known blockchain that hosts NFTs currently is Ethereum. The process of minting puts the data in a public ledger, which can’t be changed or deleted. This allows for the track of all the transactions and sales of NFTs.
Minting the NFTs isn’t for free, however; there is a fee that has to be paid in order to add these transactions to the public ledger. This cost is known as gas fees and is paid in cryptocurrency.
There are now many online marketplaces where these tokens are sold to investors. The transaction that takes place between the seller and the buyer is governed by smart contracts, as well as royalties.
What Is an NFT Book? And How Different Is It from Digital Ebooks?
Now that we understand what an NFT is, let’s take a look at NFT books. Just like ebooks, NFT books can contain multimedia and interactive elements. While ebooks exist as downloadable files that anyone can buy from online ebook retailers, NFT books can only be purchased from marketplaces on the blockchain, moving the ownership of the book from the seller to the buyer–this doesn’t include the copyrights. This makes it more like a unique digital asset, just like buying a first edition of a printed book, or a copy that is signed by the author.
Unlike ebooks, the number of copies of an NFT book is limited, usually about 100 copies only. This applies the digital scarcity concept of NFTs. These books are also usually offered as special editions with some unique advantages. For example, by buying the NFT book, the reader also unlocks a master class, or gets a one-on-one interview with the author.
The other great thing about publishing an NFT for authors is that there can be a secondary market for resale, where the author gets a percentage of every resale done. And since there are limited copies of this book, it’s more valuable than normal ebooks.
Why Should Authors Consider Releasing NFT Books?
The NFT market is currently booming, and this is only the beginning. So might want to consider making a special NFT edition of your book, to get the best of this emerging market and benefit from its many advantages, which include:
Once you’ve minted your book as an NFT, it belongs to you; this means you can sell it independent of a publishing company.
Unlike publishing platforms where the author has to wait for weeks or even months to get royalties for their book, when you sell an NFT book, you get compensated immediately. This happens through the smart contract that exists on the blockchain, and is executed once the sale takes place.
Additional Value for Your Fans
You can add value to your NFT book by making it come with additional perks such as an exclusive course, a one-on-one consultation, or some kind of collaborative opportunity. This will both increase your fan base and increase the value of your NFT for your fans.
Increasing Value Over Time
NFTs are treated more like memorabilia. This means that they usually increase in value and popularity over time.
There is no room for piracy when it comes to NFT books, as each copy of the book, as well as its owner, is recorded on the blockchain. Once the ownership changes, the royalties are paid.
Royalties with Each Resale
Secondary market sales have a royalty that you, as an author, can receive. So when the person who bought your book decides to sell it, you get a percentage of that sales and every subsequent transaction. This empowers the authors as well as the fans, giving them a sense of acuity and ownership in your brand.
What Are Things Authors Should Consider When Creating an NFT book?
If you decide to create an NFT book, you should think beyond the writing and publishing process; try to figure out what will make readers want to invest in your book. So before you go on this adventure, here are a few things to consider:
Create a Community
One thing you have to keep in mind, however, before starting the whole process is that it’s better to have a community that will support you. It’s hard for the books of independent, new authors to get noticed in the sea of NFTs out there without having a fan base.
Offer a Limited Number of Copies
Offering a limited number of copies increases the value of your book, making it more desirable, and hence increasing its price.
Add Extra Value
Make the NFT book a special edition by adding extra resources, such as an illustration for a scene in the books, or an interview with the author.
Provide Unique Versions of the Book
Another way to add value is by making each copy of the limited NFT edition have something truly unique, like a variation in the wording of the art of the book.
How to Make (Mint) an NFT Book?
At this point, you might be saying: this is all great, but how can I create an NFT book? Well, the process of minting your book may differ from one marketplace to another. But in general, here’s what you’ve to do:
- Choose an NFT marketplace.
- Create a crypto wallet. Here are some of the most popular wallets you can use, but please note that some marketplaces require using certain wallets.
- Buy cryptocurrency to fund your wallet.
- Connect your wallet to the NFT platform.
- Upload your book, starting with the book cover, the book file, and any extra files that come with it.
- List your NFT book and start managing your sales.
How Much Does Minting an NFT Book Cost?
The cost of minting NFTs depends on the marketplace you’re using, and how busy it is on the time you’re using it. For example, the first fee for initializing an account on OpenSea could vary from $70 to $300, and the good news is that they have just announced the Collection Manager which allows sellers to make NFTs without paying gas.
This, of course, doesn’t apply to all marketplaces. That’s why you might want to keep an eye on the gas prices to know when is the best time for minting, and you can also use a gas tracker, such as Etherscan, to help you with that.
What Are the Common Royalties from Selling NFT Books?
Selling an NFT book is different from using publishers, whether for publishing digital or paper books. While publishers usually give the author royalties that vary from 15% to 70%, depending on the publisher, when you sell an NFT book you get the full price, minus the commission the marketplace takes.
When your NFT is resold, you get a percentage of every subsequent sale. This is the royalty you get, which usually varies from 5% to 10%. In most marketplaces, the creator can choose the NFT royalty percentage they want.
What Is the Best Marketplace for NFT books?
With the booming market of NFTs, it is only normal for new marketplaces that are specialized in books to appear. So besides the popular NFT marketplaces, such as OpenSea, Rarible, and SuperRare, you might like to consider minting your book on a book specialized marketplace, to give it a better chance of getting noticed.
Here are some of the emerging NFT book marketplaces:
What Are the Best NFT Book Examples?
Many famous authors have already published their books as NFTs, trying to benefit from this promising market. Other authors, known as “crypto writers” have made the best of the NFT market in more creative ways. Here are a few examples:
The WakeUp Millionaire Collection
Originally published in 2013, Patric Chan (the best-selling author) released The WakeUp Millionaire Collection NFT, which includes the digital copy of the book, access to the Wakeup Millionaire community, and a free subscription to the Patricweekly newsletter.
The Verannie Moss and the New Hideout NFT
The special edition of this children’s book has a bonus of a never-seen-before original artwork that is signed by the illustrator and the theme tune used on the Verannie Moss website.
Call Sign White Lily Special Edition
This version of the best-selling book includes an unabridged version copy of the book, the Lily Litvyak Photo Album which contains more than 50 vintage photographs, and a high-quality story video called “Dreams of Becoming Something.”
Written by Rex Shannon, each page of this novel is sold as a separate NFT. Once a page is sold, it is then made available to the public. This way, each buyer contributes to funding the access to this work of art.
Originally written in 2008 by Blake Bulter, the author has initially given up on publishing his futurefiction novel. That was until NFTs started to become popular. He then decided to turn his novel into GIFs that can be absorbed in less than 10 seconds! When the NFT of this novel is bought, a PDF version is provided to the buyer along with the GIFs.
This is only the beginning of the NFT market, and the sky is the limit for the ways authors can harness the power of NFTs. From adding additional value to the book to revolutionizing the secondhand book market, NFT books are going to benefit both the authors as well as the readers.
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JPNovember 15, 2022
Would be interesting to read about the first ever NFT Books. As far as I know it all started with Bitcoin/Counterparty in 2014 with JPJA, BOOKBAC and COMICBOOK.
KotobeeApril 10, 2023
Thank you, JP for your comment and for sharing your knowledge about the origins of NFT books. While NFT books are a relatively new concept, there have been several pioneers in the field. Determining the first-ever NFT book can be challenging since there are different interpretations of what constitutes an NFT book. However, the titles you mentioned are indeed said to be some of the early examples of NFT books.