After aggressively promoting its new social media platform Lemon8 in the US, Chinese-owned ByteDance’s Lemon has filed a trademark for a range of book publishing products and services, 8TH NOTE PRESS.
The brand name called 8TH NOTE PRESS offers an interesting insight into ByteDance’s apparent e-publishing ambitions. The list of products and services registered for 8TH NOTE PRESS includes: an application for reading, downloading and discussing fiction in an online community; retail bookstore services; ordering books in audio, printed and digital formats; publication of e-books, audio books and physical books; and the provision of online non-downloadable fiction and non-fiction books.
Publishing and distributing books seems like a logical step for ByteDance given TikTok’s success in bringing book lovers to Bookcross under the hashtag #BookTok on the short video platform. ByteDance posted record profits last year, but TikTok itself suffered huge losses and the company is likely looking for new ways to monetize its hundreds of millions of users overseas. It’s likely that the company is using TikTok to direct users to a potential book app — as was the case with Lemon8.
If ByteDance jumps into e-publishing, how will it compete with industry giant Amazon in publishing and distributing books? ByteDance’s strength in the book space lies in its offering of social networking applications where authors and fans can communicate directly and readers can share their thoughts with others.
E-books are no stranger to ByteDance. In 2020, the company acquired about 11% of Chinese e-book reader Yuewen. The company also operates one of the most popular web novel apps in China, Tomato Novel. In 2021, she attempted to launch an English-language web fiction app called Mytopia, covering the romance, horror, and fantasy genres.