Bob Young's effort to build an e-books empire got some major media attention this morning.
In a front-page story about digital outlets that allow authors to self-publish books, the Wall Street Journal included Young in its list of "The Stars of Self-Publishing." Young is CEO of Raleigh-based Lulu, which helps authors publish more than 20,000 new titles every month.
The newspaper's list puts Young in elite company, with other "stars" such as Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The list also includes executives from smaller Lulu rivals such as Smashwords, FastPencil, Scribd and Author Solutions.
Unfortunately for Lulu and Young, most of the article focuses on Amazon's digital self-publishing push. The Internet's largest retailer this month increased the amount it pays authors to 70 percent of revenue, up from 35 percent. Lulu gives authors 80 percent.
Self-publishing, the article notes, is "the leading edge of a technological disruption that's loosening traditional publishers' grip on the book market—and giving new power to technology companies like Amazon to shape which books and authors succeed.
"Much as blogs have bitten into the news business and YouTube has challenged television, digital self-publishing is creating a powerful new niche in books that's threatening the traditional industry," the story continues. "Once derided as 'vanity' titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment."
Young is also the founder and former CEO of Raleigh-based Red Hat, a company that has shaken up the traditional market for computer-operating software with its cheaper version.
Read the full Wall Street Journal story here.