Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

09/28/2012

Book Publishing To Change Drastically In Next Five Years (And On And On Ad Infinitum?)


Publishing Industry – Constantly Changing

Major publishing industry players, including newbies with new skill sets, glued their minds together and prognosticated at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). 

We all sort of realize that the hi-tech freeway will be remolding publishing, probably constantly, in the years to come — But, how often and how deeply?

Well, right now, I would say the book publishing industry is just in the process of writing the table of contents for the future chapters of the publishing industry.

I doubt there will ever be an end and epilogue. And this is good, right? Everlasting, never-ending, constantly evolving — just means dynamically immortal 🙂

  Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, covered the annual BISG meeting and relates thusly:

BISG Panelists: More Change Coming

Speakers on a panel of industry leaders at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group agreed that the publishing industry is in for much more change. “I expect there to be more dramatic, disruptive change ahead,” said Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah. Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships for Google, said he believes the industry “is not close to what it will look like five years from now.”

But Turvey said that with the right adjustments, publishers are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that change will bring. Publishers need to hire less business people “and hire more people like we hire,” he said, noting that publishers need to bring into their organizations people who understand where technology is going. Publishers on the panel said they have all made extensive changes to their staff with Raccah noting that there is not one job at her company that hasn’t been touched by digital. Maureen McMahon, president and publisher of Kaplan Publishing, said the one characteristic that her company’s always screens applicants for now is whether they can “learn and teach.”
 
Hachette Book Group president Ken Michaels said the industry needs leaders who understand technology, and are willing to not be tied to one platform. The industry is now “content-centric, not format-centric,” Michaels said. He said Hachette has hired engineers and people with new skill sets and that much of Hachette operates has been changed and more is coming. Publicity and marketing, Michaels noted, need to work closer together with better “scorecards” to see how promotion is serving their authors. “We need to brand our authors to get the widest possible reach,” he said.
 
All panelists said overseas markets represents a growth opportunity, but there are challenges. Turvey, back recently from helping to open Google digital stores in Japan and Korea, said the U.S. is many years ahead of most other countries in terms of digital. The three areas that need to be addressed before international markets can be successful exploited, Turvey said, are rights, standards and data.  He noted that while the U.S. has made good progress on those fronts (though more is needed) most other countries lack any type of digital infrastructure…
 
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12/17/2011

How To Strengthen Indie Booksellers – And Why We Should!


Strand Bookstore in NY -Still Surviving

More intrigue RE Amazon! AA doesn’t stand for Alcoholics anonymous here (although a drink wouldn’t hurt) … it stands for ‘Aggressive Amazon’.

Since Amazon is gutting the publishing industry by selling e-books (and e-book versions) at or below cost just to sell their other products … it is becoming glaringly clear that something has to be done to stop this future monopoly-in-the-making from becoming the lord and master of writers and publishers.

After all … Amazon’s core mission is NOT the art of writing and publishing … it is selling digital products [that merely deliver the true gold]! Let’s not get the true artists, creators and drivers of this  fine industry back to the slaves they were under the old exploitative traditional publishing system … just with a new digital master. The cart has been before the horse for far too long!

Now there are some out there who think the current developing digital publishing field and Amazon, in particular, is just fine because of the new emerging advantages that have been kind to some … But, BEWARE, if Amazon becomes the complete monopolistic monster it is striving for, the present advantages will vanish.

We must develop and strengthen multiple sources for the selling and distribution of our works.

Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly has this to say:

The Amazon Workaround

The best way to blunt the e-tailer’s clout is to support a diverse marketplace

Fear that Amazon will come to dominate the bookselling market is nothing new in the publishing industry. But last week, as booksellers continued to decry the company’s price check app (which could be used to access prices on booksellers’ sideline items, like toys and DVDs) and as information about Amazon’s aggressive demands to publishers regarding co-op and retail discounts surfaced (PW Daily, “Is Amazon Pushing Publishers to Brink on Terms, Co-op?” Dec. 15), some insiders began suggesting that the time had come to actively explore ways to lessen publishers’ dependence on the e-tailer. With this in mind, PW asked a number of people in the industry what the best course of action would be. The consensus was that developing and supporting initiatives that would create a more level the playing field would be the best approach to ensure a diverse marketplace.

Publishers readily acknowledge that, after the collapse of Borders, independent booksellers have become more important, and while the indie segment has shown signs of revival this fall, booksellers will still need to work closer with publishers to develop more profitable relationships. The changes that need to be made can’t be around the edges, but need to address the fundamental selling model between publishers and bookstores, something ABA CEO Oren Teicher called for in an address at BookExpo America this spring. Some experiments are already taking place, including extended dating. This would allow booksellers to keep titles on shelves longer and give them a chance to build an audience while helping them improve their always tight cash flow.

Selling books on consignment is another method that some independent publishers are trying, but consignment sales haven’t caught on yet with the larger publishers.

Windowing—offering print books for a period of time before e-books go on sale—while enticing is seen as impractical since it is unlikely that publishers will return to a practice they have already given up. Moreover, there is some thinking that publishers could start charging a premium to customers for e-books before the print book is released, something a sizable portion of consumers said they would like.

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01/31/2011

Amazon (Kindle store) Trumping Apple (iPad store) in eBook AND Print Sales


Amazon is still king of the book-sales world, both e-books AND printed books…and shows no sign of slowing down!

Amazon had a respectable market share of printed-book sales in the pre-Kindle era. In the post-Kindle era, sales of e-books went ballistic, as expected…but, strangely enough, Amazon held on to the same per centage of printed-book sales also, despite the supposed decline of print!

This article bt Jim Milliot of Publisher’s Weekly offers a clear (with graphics) analysis of the Amazon and Apple book sales market share… with explanations by Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, an industry study and analytical group:    

Amazon Ups Its Edge
Apple notwithstanding, trends point toward more market power for the e-tailer

Apple caused a stir last week when it announced that it sold 7.3 million iPads in the quarter ended December 25, bringing the number of devices it has sold since it released the iPad last April to nearly 15 million. But even as the iPad gains traction among book buyers, the clear winner in the first stages of the book industry’s digital transition is Amazon. A survey of 6,250 frequent book buyers conducted by the Codex Group in early November found more book buyers acquiring their e-books for the iPad from Amazon’s Kindle store rather than through Apple’s iBookstore, with the Kindle store accounting for 40% of e-book sales for the iPad and the iBookstore 29% (one factor limiting sales through the iBookstore is that Random House e-books are not directly available there because RH is not using the agency model). John’s Note: I have posted on this and other issues with Random House on my Writers Welcome Blog (WWB)  

While Apple has already sold over three times more iPads in just nine months than Amazon is estimated to have sold Kindles in three years, the sale of Kindles has had a huge impact in increasing Amazon’s “share of wallet” among book buyers, the Codex survey found. Before acquiring a Kindle, book buyers made about 14% of their unit purchases at Amazon, a figure that tripled to just over 37% after they bought a Kindle. “It’s the most amazing retail share growth strategy I’ve ever seen,” said Codex president Peter Hildick-Smith, who has also worked extensively in developing retail growth strategies for stores ranging from Wal-Mart to Harrods. The increase in market share came entirely from book buyers’ added purchase of e-books, with 28.1% of all unit buys of frequent book buyers coming from the Kindle store. But Hildick-Smith said it was equally impressive that Amazon was able to hang on to almost the same market share of book buyers’ print purchases even as buyers were substantially increasing their e-book purchases.

While e-book purchases do not appear to be cannibalizing print sales at Amazon, the Kindle store has to be taking sales away from somewhere, and Hildick-Smith believes it is from bricks-and-mortar stores. With the decline in the number of bookstores, publishers are losing not only the top sales channel but the most important showcase for their new titles. According to the Codex survey, bookstores remain, by far, the most important way book buyers learn about new books: 28% of all book buyers said they learned about the last book they bought by browsing in a bookstore or through a bookstore display, while 14.5% were discovered through a friend’s recommendation. Even among iPad users, 32% of device owners learned about their last book purchased through digital sources (an e-bookstore, author Web site, and other sources), but 23% discovered the book they bought at a bookstore.

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