New Technological Strategies

In the article Canadian Publishing 2015: Book Marketing in 2015 by Laura Godfrey, Godfrey shares about how publishers are finding new ways to compete in an ever-changing market, and reach new readers. One publisher, Dundurn Press, is selling their e-books through their own website instead of directing customers off-site, and they are offering special promotions if the books is purchased from them directly.

ECW Press is going the audiobook route since there was a demand for audiobooks from libraries, with librarians saying that audiobooks were not well represented. ECW Press is now working with voice actors and are trying to create and distribute the audiobooks themselves. They hope to have 100 audiobooks by 2016.

The most interesting of the bunch is from Second Story Press. They are combining the print and digital experience for readers. They have used Digimarc technology to place an invisible watermark on the pages of a book that will let readers scan the page with an app to bring up additional information on the content they are reading about.

Source: Digimarc.com

Each of these publishers have great ideas in expanding their market and gaining attention from current readers, while gathering new readers. Selling directly on a publishers website is a good way to direct more profit. One potential problem is that most readers, unless die-hard fans, will not think to go directly to a publishers website unless they are signed up for newsletters from the publisher, or a reader is looking for a great discount and stumbles across a publishers offer on their homepage.

Research shown in an article by the Wall Street Journal states that audiobook sales have increased since the technological boom since there are more advanced options to create audiobooks. This gains potential “readers” who can’t stand to open a book, but will listen to one. Another study done by Survey Monkey showed that 67% of young professionals actually purchased their audiobooks, and many of them were listening during commuting hours and while exercising.

My initial thoughts on Digimarc technology was that readers who buy a print book would probably not want to involve technology during their leisure time with print, and furthermore would not want to download an additional app. However, an article from 2014 showed that Digimarc technology was on the rise in the publishing industry. It seems like the technology is similar to QR codes one might see on an add in a restaurant. If a person is interested enough in the content they are reading, then it makes sense that they would want additional information on the topic.

Overall, publishers are getting very creative with their new marketing strategies that incorporate new technology every day for their readers!

Sources:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/international-book-news/article/68094-canadian-publishing-2015-book-marketing-in-2015.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323854904578637850049098298

https://www.surveymonkey.com/blog/2014/07/14/audiobooks-professional-habits/

http://www.digimarc.com/press-and-media/press-releases/2014/04/22/digimarc-report-reveals-fast-rising-growth-of-digital-watermarks-in-publishing-industry

Online Bookseller Leads Buyers to Independent Bookstores

indiebound

Amazon is convenient when it comes to buying books that you need for business and for pleasure. However, when you pass that mom and pop shop bookstore on the corner of your street, you feel a twinge of guilt for not helping them out by making your purchase behind their counter instead of over a keyboard. 

Fear no more, for Indiebound is here. This online bookseller has all the great perks of shopping online for books, with the added benefit of taking your zip code and leading you in the direction of a small independent bookseller who carries the title you’ve been searching for.

The webpage also has plenty of book recommendations, events, and when making a purchase online, a certain percentage goes to local booksellers. It’s definitely tie for Amazon users to consider making the switch.

Giving More Thought to Social Media Marketing

As the soon-to-be Social Media manager of a growing entertainment blog, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking on how websites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram can be used to build an audience. This is a plight I think many content creators (authors, companies, YouTubers) have to think about when they decide to use Social Media as a marketing device.

As Chris Syme writes in his article, you have to separate strategy from tactic.

The truth is, success is not about finding the right channel,” Syme writes, “it’s about defining strategy first, and then plugging in the right channels to reach your goals. Facebook is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.” [x]

This was something I hadn’t considered until reading his article. HyPursuit–the blog I write for–just informed me they had planned to use Facebook for the Social Media outlet. While this is a smart tactic (they have over 14,000 likes on their Facebook page as opposed to 7,000 followers on Twitter) it isn’t much of a strategy.

After reading Syme’s article, I’m now starting to think more into the “why” using Facebook is the right option to market the HyPursuit brand.  As in, “why do I want to maintain a presence on Facebook?” (Chris Syme).

It’s something I would really encourage anyone who wants to start using Social Media in this way to start doing because understanding Strategy VS. Tactic could be the deciding factor in how fast your audience grows.

For more information on this I highly recommend reading Chris Syme’s article.

Photo Credit

10 Possible Survival Strategies for Publishing Companies

Once upon a time, a publisher’s success was regulated by how long it took to print a book, how much it cost to print that book, and how many copies of the book could fit on store bookshelves. Once upon a time, the name of a publishing company helped define the quality of the books they printed. If it was HarperCollins, it had to be good, and if it was from some little mom-and-pop company, it had to be sub-par, right?

Those days are long since over, especially because of the rise of the digital age. If a reader can download the book onto their phone or computer, they have no need of a physical copy of that book. Publisher’s names are almost obsolete—instead, readers will check Amazon or Goodreads ratings to determine if the book is of good quality.

Guy Kawasaki, twelve-time author, has come up with ten potential strategies for traditional publishing companies to thrive amid today’s economy. In no particular order of importance, they are:

  1. Give up on Data Rights Management (DRM). Essentially, Kawasaki states that DRM doesn’t stop thieves, and it only inconveniences the customers. Most importantly, “there are two kinds of companies in the world: those who try to minimize losses and those who try to maximize gains.”
  2. Embrace Amazon.com. Since Amazon has begun to flourish, it is best to learn from the example the site provides.
  3. Search through Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Unbound, and Pubslush for potential books to publish. These sites show which potential books are popular and most likely to sell, and you should try to get your publishing hands on those books first.
  4. Imitate SlideShare. LinkedIn recently purchased this site that allows people to upload their PowerPoint presentations. You could create an eBook equivalent of SlideShare for your company’s website or start up a new website for just this purpose. The point is to make the books accessible in multiple markets.
  5. Enable “buy once, read anywhere.” Readers don’t want a selective reading experience when they purchase an eBook. Make that eBook available across multiple platforms (much the way Amazon Kindle has) and you’ll see success. Additionally, if a reader purchases a print version of very popular books, it may be advantageous to provide them access to eBook versions too.
  6. Create your own freelance market. New or inexperienced authors, if not signed with a publishing company, often have difficulty finding good freelancers to do copyediting, design, book production, marketing, etc. for them. You could start up a website that links these authors with high-quality freelancers. It just might turn more heads in your company’s direction.
  7. Create a seed fund. Kawasaki recommends that, instead of partnering with a competitor or their services, allocate a decent-size dollar amount to provide authors with seed capital. You could allow potential authors to “apply” for grants or scholarships of around $5,000. That’s just enough money for them to pay someone for freelance editing, design, and marketing with a little left over for living expenses. You would receive 10-15% of all sales as compensation.
  8. Create a scouting system for self-published books. If you look around for authors that have self-published their books, you can determine through minimal effort how popular their books are. You then make a point of making those books available to a wider audience for the benefit of readers, the author, and your company.
  9. Supplement your authors’ marketing. It’s become popular to focus on authors that already do their own marketing. But if they already market for themselves, what do they need a publishing company for? By supplementing what your authors do, you provide the opportunity for a book to become infinitely more popular than it would be without your help.
  10. Support public libraries. A lot of publishers make it nearly impossible for public libraries to loan out eBooks to patrons. Publishing companies have “a moral obligation to help libraries foster literacy and enlightenment.” Plus, the more people who borrow the book, the more free advertising and sales you will likely get (especially because a lot of people prefer to buy the book instead of borrow it).

http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/01/10-strategies-for-publishers-to-succeed-and-survive/

Will Oyster Rise from the Ashes?

By Cheryl Johnson

Oyster, better known as the Netflix of books, is shutting down for reasons not provided by the company. However, successes of Amazon’s book subscription services surpass Oyster’s by approximately twenty times the number of subscribers. In a blog post released by Oyster, the company says that they “couldn’t be more excited about the future of e-books and mobile reading” and goes on to say that they believe the future of e-reading is on the phone. Oyster claims that most of their readership occurs on mobile devices. It has also been reported that Oyster declined a acquisition offer from Google a year prior.

Google has now hired founding members and CEO of Oyster to work on their book development center located in New York. Current contracts with book publishers will not be carried over, so contracts will need to be renegotiated with publishers. Oyster subscribers will be able to access their books until the end of the year through iTunes.

It is unclear what Google plans to do exactly with the help of Oyster team, but from what is known about Google’s innovation, we could expect to see new reading platform in the near future. This acquisition could mean a big change for e-readers and publishers depending on its success.

Will we see a battle of Amazon vs. Google in online subscription reading services?  Will there be a new system entirely?

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/21/9367555/oyster-shutting-down-google-hires-execs

http://fortune.com/2015/09/22/oyster-shuts-down-founders-to-lead-google-books-new-york/

picture source: http://www.fastcompany.com/3016854/tech-forecast/with-oyster-keep-100000-books-in-your-pocket-for-10-a-month

Will Facebook Dominate the News Publishing Space?

By Sarah McArthur

Instant Articles is a new way for publishers to build fast interactive articles on Facebook. It’s been live since May 2015, but has been rolling out gradually. The Facebook news platform allows partner publishers and media companies to publish directly on users’ newsfeeds, instead of pointing users to their main websites.

What this means is that when browsing your feed, you’ll see articles posted by launch partners, such as The New York Times, National Geographic, NBC News, and others. You might also see a share in your feed from a friend who saw the article in their feed. Either way, tap on the post and the article loads instantly without departing the Facebook news platform. Fast and responsive is its main selling point. For the publishers, it’s all about speed and quick access for the user. Publishers are afraid, and maybe rightly so, that readers will bolt if the article takes more than 10 seconds, if that, to load. Instant Articles also offer interaction, scalability, as well as control and customization of content, business model, ad sales and revenue, analytics tools, and brand identity to the publishers.

And, that’s why in a major departure from the rest of the pack, The Washington Post announced this week (9/23/15) that it will post all of its news content on Facebook’s Instant Articles. That’s 1200 stories every day. The Washington Post is the first major publication to commit to publishing all of its stories through the social network.

What does this mean?

It means a solution to lengthy download times and exasperated readers. It means that we of the audience platform won’t have to leave Facebook to read Washington Post articles and soon we’ll be able to stay on the site for many other providers’ news as well. (Remember when you had to go to the corner and pay a dollar for a newspaper? No more of that, you won’t even have to change websites!)

It means more publicity for media companies as their content is on display for the millions (billions?) in Facebooks user base. This could help generate more ad revenue.

It seems a great strategy for Facebook, whose goal is to dominate the online news publishing space. Their competition is Apple News (another Post Partner) and Google and Twitter are working on news services as well.

Is it great for publishers? This is a good question. Most partner publications have chosen to post a limited number of articles on the platform, but not all. Some media outlets have put off fully committing to Instant Articles because to become a full partner requires sharing subscriber information to Facebook that they don’t want to share. Another downside is where in the past (and tentative present), news publications used Facebook to steer traffic to their sites, now readers will be more likely to stay on Facebook. They won’t read the entire newspaper or even an entire section. They won’t see the newspapers’ other offerings, but just the one article if they are lucky enough to catch it as it blazes through their feed. In the case of guinea pig The Washington Post, this strategy could extend its reach across the multitudes or it could be cutting its own throat by severing its direct links to readers.

http://www.bidnessetc.com/53364-facebook-inc-will-publish-all-washington-post-content-on-instant-articles/

Should Publishers Lower E-Book Prices?

by Brittany Biggs

Though author Brady Dale’s article discusses the dilemma over e-book prices, he begins by saying something slightly heartbreaking: “you don’t need books.” I don’t know to which “you” he’s referring (certainly not me), and sure, I don’t need books like I need food or oxygen (physically, anyway), but I can think of multiple occasions in my life where I have truly needed a book. There were times in my life where books were my only escape, and I’m sure (I hope) they serve that purpose for others. However, he makes that statement as a basis for his argument: we do not need books [to survive], so publishers will need to lower e-book prices to some extent if they want to boost readership and overall sales.

Dale cites some examples of authors whose opinions fall on both sides of the argument. He tells of Russel Blake who went from selling his e-books at $5.00 to selling them at $2.99 and sold 70 more e-books a month. He also mentioned a writer by the name of Patrick McLean, who lowered his e-book prices to $0.99 — and sold fewer e-books than when they were $2.99. The author, McLean, surmises that prices do not matter; people will buy what they want, when they want to buy it, no matter the price. However, Brady believes McLean’s book could have sold fewer copies because, first, Amazon “discourages prices below $2.99,” so his book at $0.99 may not have shown up in as many searches; second, setting the price so low could be a sign of poor quality to consumers.

Dale concludes that the only ones benefiting from higher-priced e-books are bookstores, as they’re the only ones whose livelihoods are truly at stake. Publishers do not make as much money as they once did, and bookstores are still publishers’ primary source of income. Publishers have to protect bookstores to protect themselves, or so they think, but maybe they would do better not to; if their overall e-book income increases because they’re selling them at a lower price, but selling twice as many, perhaps the loss in bookstore income could balance out with e-book sales. Some bookstores would have to remain, of course, but publishers could potentially afford to lose a few and still make a profit.

The ethical dilemma of such a decision is not discussed, but Dale does mention that a major disadvantage with e-books is you cannot resell them; they’re licensed, not bought. If we do not truly own what we presume we own (since we did, after all, pay for it), then maybe that’s how bookstores will survive. Though there may come a day when Bitcoin will allow readers to own digital content, until then people will still want to “own,” and they will go to bookstores for that opportunity.