Navigating the modern business of book publishing

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Publisher Subscription Services

Selling Direct: Why book publishers are offering subscriptions & how it will change their brand

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March 21, 2013

In my previous post I discussed how eBook subscription services such as Oyster and 24symbols are receiving a lot of attention with their promise of becoming the “Spotify for eBooks”. But publishers are getting in on the act as well, with a number of niche publishers in particular offering discounted access to their list of titles to subscriber members.

Book Subscription Services

Are eBook subscription sites going to change the way we buy books?

The book publishing industry has been riding a rising wave of digital disruption for a number of years now, and the previously accepted revenue stream from Reader – Bookshop – Publisher – Author is now being completely restructured. New entrants to the book trade, including tech start-ups, online retailers and self-publishing services, not to mention Amazon, Google and Apple, are rapidly changing how readers consume books and where they go to discover and buy them. Publishers (and authors and retailers) who want to stay relevant in the changing marketplace need to innovate in two directions, summed up nicely by Chris McVeigh on Future Book:

Refocusing on Bookstores in 2013

Last week I questioned whether a post-bookstore world was inevitable and suggested 5 ways bookstores might be able to fight back. The future of bookselling has be en a hot topic for a number of years now but with each fresh round of store closures the prospects for our remaining bookshops seem bleaker and bleaker. So what’s the industry buzz about bookstores in 2013? Here’s a quick round up of some of the views put forward by publishing commentators in the last week.

Is the post-bookstore world inevitable? 5 ways bookshops can fight back

The Digital Bookworld Conference took place last week in New York and as usual produced some fascinating discussion and ideas about the future of digital publishing. Front and centre this year was issue of online book discoverability and sales and the challenges publishers now face in promoting their books to readers. One of the more disturbing undercurrents of the conference, however, was the implicit acceptance of what Quarto CEO Marcus Leaver referred to as “post-bookstore book world”. While speculation about the demise of the bookshop is nothing new, the bluntness with which publishers are now openly discussing and planning for life after bookstores is particularly ominous. But is a post-bookstore world inevitable? Do bookshops offer enough value to the community of readers, publisher and authors to be worth protecting? And what can bookshops do to regain their relevance?

Small Business Breakthrough Workshop & Book Publishing as a Marketing Tool

In October last year I was invited as a guest speaker to a Small Business seminar run by Business Coach, Sabrina Domenosky. At the seminar I presented the idea of writing and publishing a book as a marketing tool to help promote your small business and discussed the most effective ways to produce, market and sell your book. The response from the seminar was fantastic and I’m very pleased to say that Sabrina has invited me back to her next Small Business seminar on Sunday February 3rd to talk more about about Book Publishing as a Marketing Tool.

The Author and the Reader and The Philadelphia Story

A local cinema has been showing classic movies recently and I had the great pleasure of watching The Philadelphia Story on the big screen – the original 1940 version with a very young Jimmy Stewart playing a tabloid journalist, Macaulay Connor, and Katherine Hepburn as the reclusive heiress, Tracy Lord. Both characters despise each other on contact but there follows a wonderful scene in a library that illustrates beautifully the complex relationship and dialogue that exists between author and reader and I couldn’t help thinking about how true it still felt 72 years later.

The Forgotten Sales Channel Part 2: Australia’s Top 3 Book Distribution options for Self-Publishers

In Part 1 of our discussion of book distribution options in Australia we examined why self-published authors should not limit their sales channels to a small number of online retailers at the expense of brick & mortar bookshops. Today we are going to dig deeper into the book distribution options in Australia and take a look at three of the leading book distributors that are worth partnering with.

Bookshop browsing

The Forgotten Sales Channel Part 1 – Book distribution for self-publishers

As any regular reader of Digireado will know, it’s an exciting time to be an author. Yet, as the ranks of independent authors rapidly grow, very few self-publishers are bothering with brick and mortar bookshops anymore. It’s not difficult to see why—sales and distribution into bookstores has always been a notoriously difficult and costly task, while the closures of large chains and cherished independents alike have led to widespread speculation that high street bookselling is obsolete.

Looking into Paragraph Structure

Self-publishing Part 9: Justifying the Humble Paragraph

Spare a thought for the humble paragraph, the unappreciated middle-child of book structure. While authors lavish attention upon each sentence and fuss over chapter headings and cliff-hangers, the paragraph is often just an afterthought—a bite-sized chunk of text defined by line breaks.

E-Books for Dummiess Cover Image

Great podcast episode from the Creative Penn for self-published authors

A lot of first time authors are opting to self-publish digitally rather than go through the traditional print process. In fact, the number of writers taking up the opportunity has created an entirely new market in self-publishing services, as I’ve often discussed. With so many people offering their opinions and recipes for success, it can be hard to sift out the good advice from the bad, but I wanted to highlight this particular podcast episode from The Creative Penn as a great example of GOOD ADVICE.

Penguin House - New Logo?

Penguin Random House – dawn of the mega-publisher?

The publishing world is abuzz with the news that two of the world’s largest publishers, Random House and Penguin, have agreed to merge, potentially creating a mega-sized publisher that looks to dwarf its competitors. Monday’s announcement confirmed several days of rumours and speculation following the Financial Times report on Thursday that Random House and Penguin’s parent companies, Bertelsmann and Pearson, had entered merger talks. The size of the deal and its implications for the industry have sparked frenzied discussion on everything from the fate of existing staff to the design of the new logo

Self-Publishing in the United States, 2006-2011: Print vs. Ebook by Bowker

Self-publishing triples in 5 years

The growth in self-publishing over the last five years is well recognised but an analysis released yesterday by Bowker, has put a startling figure on that rise, indicating that the number of self-published books produced in the USA has grown 287% since 2006. The gross figures give a sense of the scale, with 235,625 self-published print and eBook titles released in 2011, including 148,424 print books and 87,201 eBooks. But dig deeper in Bowker’s Press Release and you’ll find some even more interesting stories.

Your Ad Here In-book Advertising

Is in-book advertising inevitable?

Just a few days after I argued that books should remain advertisement free, a new survey by start-up eBook publishing service eBook Plus indicates in-book advertising for eBooks may be inevitable. The survey queried 5,000 people from the US and UK about their preferred mix of eBook pricing and in-book advertising and the results suggest that around 50% of readers are willing to accept advertising in eBooks in exchange for free content. But how will in-book advertising affect the reading experience and the relationship between author and readers?

Random House Corporate Logo

Random House opens its doors in New York

Digital Bookworld reported the news yesterday the Random House in New York was going to open its doors to the general public on Nov 2 as part of its ongoing campaign to grow the publisher’s brand outside of the trade. It follows the release of a series of videos by Random House that give insight into their business and publishing processes (see one of the videos embedded below). It’s an interesting move by Random House and shows that they are considering new ways to relate not only to the reading public, but also to authors and book industry “influencers” such as bloggers.

Why do books make great marketing tools?

Using books as a marketing tool, not a marketing flier

Have you seen the stats on how many advertisements we are subjected to every day? One of the only safe havens left are books. What other media allows you to immerse yourself for hours, even days at a time without ever once sneaking in a word from a sponsor or turning over space to paid advertising?

Posts of the Week – The Blog Round-up Sep 21

I read a huge number of blogs and articles each week about the book industry, including thoughts on creative writing, publishing, book reviews and everything in between. With so many very talented people approaching these subjects in so many new and interesting ways, I wanted to share some of the posts and articles that I find most thought provoking and insightful each week. It’s also a great chance to meet new writer’s, bloggers and publishing professionals.

Happy International Bibliodiversity Day!

Today, September 21, is the second International Bibliodiversity Day, or EldiaB, a wonderful new initiative aimed at celebrating the diversity of literary cultures around the world. One of its key messages is the critical importance of independent publishing and bookselling in protecting and fostering local literary ‘habitats’ that generate a rich diversity of ideas.

Marketing for Small Business 1-day Workshop + Using Books as a Marketing Tool

Business Coach, Sabrina Domenosky, has been attending a lot of writing workshops recently. She’s not planning a book of her own but many of her clients are, and they want to know how to write and publish a book that will enhance their business. By popular request, Sabrina is holding a one-day intensive small business seminar on October 7th in Sydney and she has invited me as a guest speaker to talk about Book Publishing as a Marketing Tool.

So, if you are in the Sydney area and would like to know more about book publishing in the context of growing your business, along with some hugely useful small business advice, then join Sabrina and me for a Small Business Breakthrough Workshop.

2012 Booker Shortlist and 3 Small Publishers on the Big Stage

The 2012 Booker shortlist is out and the big winner this year seems to be Small Independent Publishing. This year there are three novels from publishers that have never before had a Booker shortlisted title to boast about. Amazingly, this is the first time that this has happened since the third annual Booker Prize way back in 1971.

Typographic Anatomy

Self Publishing Part 8: The Wisdom of Fonts – 10 book typefaces that can’t go wrong

A typical book has between 25,000 and 100,000 words, which of course is the feature of the book that readers interact with the most, spending hours poring over it. But when was the last time you read a book and thought “Wow, that ending blew me away and the font choice of 11pt Baskerville Old Face was a masterful touch!”

About Richard

Richard Bilkey has been selling, marketing and distributing books for over ten years, managing independent bookshops, a major online retailer and, most recently, one of Australia's largest Independent Book Distributors, Brumby Books.

Contact Richard directly at richard@fictionetal.com.au