How Publishers Need to Rethink Marketing

By Danielle Desjardins

It’s clear that digital publishing has completely changed the way publishers look at their products. But writer Mike Shatzkin suggests in this piece for “Digital Book World” that they’re slow in evaluating the ways their marketing must change, as well.

According to Shatzkin, no longer are we living in a time when marketing copy is best left to those who have deep knowledge of what is inside the book, and marketing efforts best directed toward booksellers and reviewers.

“Both of those ideas are now anachronisms, artifacts of a time when the primary ways a consumer would find out about a book were by seeing it in a bookstore or reading or hearing about it from relatively few review media. Now that half or more of the books, including ebooks, are not bought in stores, and even the most important review media reach people by links emailed to them by their friends or posted on Facebook, the old ways make no sense.”

The solution for publishers? Adopting the type of audience-centric — and research-heavy — forms of advertisement that marketing firms have long built their businesses around. Publishers can no longer write to intermediaries, but instead must research the perceived audiences of each text — in fact, build extensive marketing segments for them, including where they can be found online — and create copy that must always be applicable to these audiences’ methods of reading and sharing, even if it that copy is only intended for use in a publisher’s catalog.

This, of course, comes with natural problems. Many publishers don’t have the resources to devote to this type of time- and labor-intensive type of marketing — and may not have the skill set in-house to do it as successfully as the firms they should be emulating, despite being skilled at identifying the best audience for any single text.

If publishing is to successfully transition into this new phase of digital content, however, these are skills they must develop — or disappear into an anachronistic landscape of unseen print advertisements and unread reviews.

Read his piece here:


One thought on “How Publishers Need to Rethink Marketing”

  1. The “audience-centric — and research-heavy — forms of advertisement that marketing firms have long built their businesses around” is the right marketing approach publishers should be taking. Readers can have such an impact on the sale and marketing of books via platforms such as and The ability for a reader to share with friends hen they have found a “good read” with friend via social media, is an area that publishers should be focusing on. More so they need to find ways to reward those audience members for their promotional work.


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