Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
On the news that Sourcebooks had signed yet another deal to bring a big brand to its Put Me in the Story book personalization platform, I wanted to write a blog post about it for Forbes. To be frank, I felt it was something that was kinda “neat” and should be brought to the attention of non-book-publishing folks.
So, I spoke with Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah about it as well as some digital publishing analysts. Raccah is really bullish on the concept and predicts that personaliztion, agile publishing and a few other of the company’s innovative products will make up 20% of the company’s revenue next year.
The analysts are less enthusiastic, calling it “niche.” Raccah later told me that based on exit surveys of buyers of the product, 95% thought it was a “good idea” and 85% planned on coming back and buying again.
One person I spoke with who didn’t make it into the Forbes piece was Forrester principal analyst and Ph.D. James McQuivey. His thoughts didn’t really fit into the post but I wanted to share them here because I think they’re interesting:
“There are many platforms where we could more easily test whether personalization matters. Mobile games, for example, could be easily developed to make them more personal, including inserting pictures of yourself into the game environment right from the phone.
“The fact that none of these things are happening in environments where it would be much easier to introduce suggests that either people don’t really want it all that much or that there’s a huge opportunity that is being missed. I am inclined to believe it’s the former — other than the sweet notion of giving a child a personalized gift (oddly American, the idea that you should be the center of everything, don’t you think?), it seems like a lot of work for a very minimal benefit.
“At this point, it’s more likely that the array of media someone owns or accesses is enough of a personal mark, the way your personal library used to say something about you. Today it’s your phone that says something about you that makes you feel unique. A single piece of content personalized to you is probably not going to create enough of a separate pull to make it a category all its own. Unless of course you are a doting grandparent, then the message is less about personalization and more about my undying love for you expressed across the generations and the technology just happens to be good grandparent bait.
“In this particular case, if the Hello Kitty personalized experiences sell well, it will be more on the strength of the Hello Kitty brand than on the unique value of the personalization.”
Just food for thought as you get ready for your weekend.