Five Digital Publishing Questions for Georgia McBride

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

authors indie publishing small pressesThe Digital Book World Conference + Expo, kicking off on January 13, 2015 is packed with an incredible amount of information and ideas about the digital publishing landscape at a time of remarkable transformations. To help attendees make the most out of those three days, Digital Book World is sitting down with conference speakers to help lay the groundwork for conversations that will take place at the conference and continue for many weeks and months afterward.

This is the eleventh installment in our “Digital Publishing Questions” blog series, featuring Georgia McBride, Founder of Georgia McBride Media Group.

What do you think has been the most newsworthy event in the past year around publishing and digital change?

Amazon’s commitment to the subscription model via Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime has been fascinating to watch. Certainly that’s not to say the dispute with Hachette wasn’t also interesting and very telling. Watching the giants force their positions out to the public in such a way was embarrassing and uncomfortable. Everywhere I went, non-publishing folks asked my opinion on it. But it’s certainly nothing new in terms of retailer and supplier disputes, so maybe I wasn’t as surprised by the conflict as others seemed to be.

I think we’re likely to see a consolidation of ebook subscription services or one clear market leader in 2015–2016.

We should also keep an eye out for Barnes & Noble, which seems to be breathing new life into its channels via printing for self-published authors as well as its partnership for Nook with Samsung, making the Nook a full-featured tablet.

Related: Nook Expands Publishing Services and Relaunches Audiobooks While Microsoft Cuts Out

What are you anticipating as the big change we will see in 2015?

I’m really looking forward to seeing traditional distributors embrace and give equal and adequate weight to digital releases. I would like to see more control over and regulation of data/metadata delivery and dissemination. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Kobo has up its sleeve and whether it can gain more market share in the U.S.; it’s going to take a lot more than new devices, though they do seem to be stepping up their promotion game.

Related: Four Ways the Metadata Landscape Is Changing

What is the most important thing publishers need to accomplish in 2015?

It would serve us all well to gain a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of all-in traditional vs. hybrid self-digital distribution. Not exploring these options can be the difference between a big digital release and one that fails to meet expectations–especially for small to mid-sized presses.

Will Amazon’s ebook market share grow in 2015, or will this be the year that Apple, Kobo, Google and Nook (or someone else) push them back?

Google in particular is making some significant strides in this arena, but I do believe they have a long way to go. I am still hopeful that Nook may regain some market share due to its partnership with Samsung, but I don’t think that alone will reestablish Nook as a true Kindle competitor/alternative.

I do believe Amazon’s ebook market share will continue to increase unless or until a competitor can match or beat their prices, shipping and virtual inventory. When competitors make up such a small percentage of sales compared with Amazon, publishers and self-published writers are forced to choose an Amazon-only or Amazon-centric approach to pushing their ebooks into the market. This is what makes KDP Select so attractive to many.

Are there any companies (start-up or otherwise) now flying below the radar that you think may break out in 2015?

There are so many book start-ups, from publishers to agencies to digital folks. It’s an exciting time in the publishing business. I would rather not name names, but I’m excited about companies that provide services to small or medium publishers and self-published authors, enabling them to compete on the same level as the big houses. These companies are poised to make great strides as the number of small presses and self-published authors grows.

Georgia McBride is the Founder of Georgia McBride Media Group, home of Month9Books, Swoon Romance and Tantrum Books. She’ll be speaking on a panel at Digital Book World 2015 called “New Innovative Publishers,” focusing on a rising crop of start-ups and independent publishers that are challenging traditional models and ways of thinking about the digital book market.

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3 thoughts on “Five Digital Publishing Questions for Georgia McBride

  1. Theresa M. Moore

    “When competitors make up such a small percentage of sales compared with Amazon, publishers and self-published writers are forced to choose an Amazon-only or Amazon-centric approach to pushing their ebooks into the market.”

    Really? I am not, and I don’t. I work with Ingram Spark, which is Lightning Source’s ebook distribution platform. They reach thousands of retailers, something which Amazon does not do. Most retailers will not accept Amazon published books, and Amazon will not distribute to other retailers for Ebooks. I tried Amazon for years and they yielded poor to nonexistent sales of eooks, while I sold more everywhere else. So you’re telling me that I have no choice but to work with Amazon when it comes to distribution? Think again. As a self-published author I educated myself, and even published a book on publishing. So the cookie cutter principle applied here is to capitulate and work with Amazon even if the giant does nothing for an author. No thanks.

    Reply
  2. Georgia McBride

    Hi Teresa! Thanks for taking the time to read my interview and comment. Please note that I never said self-published authors SHOULD ONLY work with Amazon, but rather that some are given that as an only choice when other sales channels are not as lucrative and servicing them cost additional resources which may not offer a good ROI.

    Amazon is not a distributor, but a retail sales channel. Additionally, everyone’s results are different. Some books and authors do well on one platform or channel while others may do better on another.

    Of course, full distribution into the various sales channels is the most comprehensive option. So, Ingram Spark and others like IPG, Inscribe Digital, etc. will make the most sense for authors like you who have not had great success with Amazon.

    But, everyone is different and every publisher and author must decide what works best for them.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
  3. Serinity Crowford

    Nice read. I am an author and use my Kindle for organizing my notes with Clippings.io. Was wondering if anyone had any other good site recommendations?

    Reply

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