10 Ways Publishers Can Beat Amazon

10 Ways Publishers Can Beat AmazonRecently, I’ve been talking to people in the book industry about a new program my company is launching that allows individuals and organizations to retail ebooks and audiobooks like the big three do: Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. One of the most common questions I get asked, though, is, “How can anyone compete against Amazon?”

As you likely know, Amazon has made a number of forays beyond bookselling and into book publishing. The company currently lists a baker’s dozen of imprints, is responsible for 85 percent of self-published titles, and has long been bragging about its bestselling authors, including Hugh Howey and Barry Eisler. Add to this the fact that, with its 185-million customer base—47 million of whom are fee-paying members—Amazon controls a reported 65 percent of the retail book market.

How, then, could anyone in the industry not be concerned by the influence such a company wields?

Is it just time to throw in the towel?

No, not yet. Publishers can compete with Amazon and even compete effectively.

SpotlightMuch more.

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Penguin Blames Likely Job Losses on Rise of Ebooks (Guardian)
Readers’ preference for ebooks has been blamed for 225 potential job losses after publisher Penguin Random House announced cuts that leave staff facing an anxious Christmas. The publisher wants to cut jobs at its warehouse in Rugby, Warwickshire. It put its decision down to a fall-off in demand for physical books, which are distributed from the warehouse, and consolidation among publishers.

Scribd Introduces Sheet Music (DBW)
Scribd announced today that it has added a new vertical to its subscription service: sheet music.
Subscribers can now receive access to more than 2,600 sheet music selections from renowned songbook publisher Hal Leonard. These range from contemporary hits to classics, and users have the ability to browse by song, artist, genre, instrument or difficulty level.

Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? (PW)
Publishers Weekly recently gave LeeAnn Brook’s debut art book, Points of Inspiration: An Artist’s Journey with Painting and Photography, a starred review, calling it “magnificent.” The author, who has been a graphic designer for more than 40 years, admits the self-publishing process is not without its challenges, noting the difficulties she had finding a self-publishing guidebook with start-to-finish, step-by-step instructions. “Many [books] say that they do” she says, “but I found gaps in most all of them, and wound up combining information that I gleaned from about three.”

Launch Kids, Masterclasses, and More Added for Digital Book World (Pub Lunch)
We’re starting to add more details on the full programming line-up for the next big Digital Book World, running March 7–9. For the first day, before the main DBW conference begins, Launch Kids—the country’s biggest event for children’s publishing—returns. Covering both the consumer and education markets, Launch Kids looks at the latest generation of ideas and content, from the best strategies in book marketing to what’s happening in the physical—and digital—library market, to the trends driving editorial decisions. The program is still in formation, but as usual includes everything from original data on children and digital media to case-study lessons in digital marketing, start-ups, selling adult authors into the children’s market, and more.

SpotlightB&N Education Falters During Key Back-to-School Quarter (Pub Lunch)
Barnes & Noble Education followed in the footsteps of their former parent company with a disappointing second quarter sales report—only it matters more to BNED, since this was supposed to be their big “fall rush” season.

SpotlightAmazon Ups Its Content Game with ‘Expert Articles’ (TechCrunch)
Amazon has been developing an expanded content platform, helping consumers learn more about select products on its site with recommendations and write-ups from a number of experts. The program started very quietly around April, and in recent days, Amazon has expanded this panel of experts to include several notable names in their own niches, like home improvement guru Bob Vila, floral designer Lila B. Design, home style blogger Laura Trevey, curated Amazon shop Canopy, interior design resource Remodelista, and several others.

SpotlightAmazon Explains Why It Gives Away Apps for Free (Business Insider)
Amazon’s Underground App Store, which launched in August, gives away thousands of paid-for apps for free. The store pays a developer for each minute a user uses the app. The model costs Amazon a lot of money, but the company hopes it will put it ahead of the offerings from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

FutureBook Conference 2015: A Recap (Bookseller)
The FutureBook Conference 2015—the fifth anniversary of the digital conference—brought together more than 50 speakers from across publishing and media for a day of reckoning, realization and revivification. In his keynote address, Faber & Faber CEO Stephen Page told publishers they have to “up their game” in partnering with all areas of the book trade and give the “new generation” room to adapt and develop the industry.

How Publishers Are Using Slack as a Content Tool (Digiday)
Publishers adopted Slack to cut down on email and open up communication, but many are now finding that Slack can also enable forms of publishing. Slack’s real-time nature has made it a viable way for publishers to keep track of breaking-news stories, for example, while other publishers are finding that Slack can be a viable alternative to run-of-the-mill live-blogging software.

PCG Signs Agreements with Three New Publishers (DBW)
Publishers Communication Group (PCG) today announced representation agreements with Berrett-Koehler Publishers, The MIT Press and Morgan & Claypool Publishers for direct sales into new global markets, including one or more of India, China and Latin America. PCG continues to broaden its portfolio with the addition of social science and ebook content from these new clients to its established sales programs for journals and databases in the life and physical sciences.

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