Five Digital Channel Management Challenges Facing Publishers
1. Balancing direct sales and e-tail partners
Currently, HBR’s largest channel of digital sales is Amazon and the publisher finds that mapping Amazon’s analytics onto HBR’s is useful and, for now, not causing any rifts.
Speaking at today’s Digital Book World Marketing + Publishing Services Conference & Expo in New York City, Dolan joked that becoming Amazon’s staunch e-tailing competitor wouldn’t be a bad situation.
2. The shifting retail landscape affects discoverability and author relationships
Addressing this challenge may require a combination of innovative experimenting and patiently waiting to see what surfaces in the marketplace.
3. Supporting the growth of international sales
This, Dolan explained, requires careful managing of a publisher’s relationship with Amazon’s global sites and having a strategy in place to cope with local pricing issues. And when it comes to handling new players, new devices, and evolving formats, Dolan has entrusted Harvard Business Review Press’s content to Constellation Digital Services.
4. Scaling the ebook business while minimizing internal e-commerce competition
Where the publisher is internally equipped to market and sell ebooks directly, they should but only insofar as it doesn’t take crucial resources away from other company initiatives.
5. Managing author and agent relationships and expectations
This could mean that not every product is customized to match an author’s vision but rather tailored within the publisher’s standardized offerings. That’s not to say a bit of agility isn’t in order here.
One title that exemplifies HRB’s flexibility is 9 Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorson. This book began as a blog post, grew into an ebook and has since been published as hardcover gift-book, selling over 30,000 copies to date.
Dolan and the HRB team will be focused on the five preceding challenges in the coming year. And, thanks to the swiftly changing digital publishing and the industry’s ability to adapt and identify solutions, she’s optimistic about the future. “It’s a great time to be working in publishing and the digital space,” said Dolan.