Enthusiast diversified media company and book publisher F+W Media sold products and services directly to 20 million consumers in 2013, according to CEO David Nussbaum, speaking at the Digital Book World 2014 conference in New York.
F+W, which owns and operates Digital Book World, is unique among book publishers in having a large direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, though many other publishers are starting to develop these kinds of businesses.
Direct-to-consumer sales is a controversial topic in book publishing as most publishers have long-standing business relationships with retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Selling directly to consumers could undermine those relationships. Developing these kinds of businesses is also a complex proposition and very different than developing book publishing operations.
Despite the hurdles, publishers like HarperCollins are going down this road. The company has recently partnered with consultancy Accenture to build its own e-commerce platform and has launched Narnia.com, among other sites, to put this new platform to work, selling directly to consumers.