Booktrack CEO: We Must ‘Keep Reading at the Heart of the Experience’

Booktrack CEO: We Must ‘Keep Reading at the Heart of the Experience’In an extensive and wide-ranging interview for Digital Book World’s series, Interviews in Innovation, we sat down with Paul Cameron, CEO and co-founder of Booktrack, the e-reading platform that allows publishers and authors to sync their ebooks with movie-style soundtracks.

Since its launch, in August 2011, the service has grown to include more than 2.5 million users and has gone on to divide critics, to some extent. Some view it as singular experience that is on the cutting edge of transforming e-reading; others view it as an unnecessary obstacle that reduces the need for imagination from the reader.

Whichever camp you plant your flag in, though, one thing is for sure: Booktrack is a different experience, and there’s little else like it.

Much more.

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Books as Brands and the Opportunities to Sell Book-Branded Merchandise (Mike Shatzkin)
“It was really 20 years ago that it first occurred to me that ‘content marketing’ would, at least in part, replace ‘marketing content,’” writes Mike Shatzkin. “Or at least partly replace selling content. As the world progressed, so did my understanding of how this would play out, and I saw that publishing would increasingly be done by entities extending their brand or their audience reach. I called that the ‘atomization’ of publishing and have written about it for a few years.”

Amazon’s Retail Store Has Nothing to Do with Selling Books (Forbes)
Every book in the store has a shelf tag that includes a capsule review from the website, a star rating and a barcode. There are no prices listed. To get the price, you scan the code with the camera of your smartphone and the Amazon app. This brings up the product page for the item you’re looking at, with full reviews, specs and pricing. But here’s where it gets interesting. If you are signed into the app with your account—as is likely—Amazon is immediately able to associate its online customer records with you, the customer, browsing the shelves in its physical location. It knows your preferences, your buying history, your status as an Amazon Prime and/or Amazon credit card member, and who knows what else. Armed with that data, it can feed you recommendations, offer coupons and incentives, and do whatever it needs to do to close the sale as you are holding an item in your hand that you are considering purchasing.

Amazon’s $160 Billion Business You’ve Never Heard Of (CNN Money)
This week, Deutsche Bank estimated that Amazon Web Services sales could reach $16.2 billion by the end of 2017. That would make AWS worth $160 billion, the analysts said, and Amazon’s single most valuable business—even more than the retail unit that put Amazon on the map.

8 Book Marketing Tips for Sequels You Need to Know (BookBub)
Whether you’re publishing the next book in a duology, trilogy or longer series, launching a new sequel is a huge opportunity to capitalize on the success of the previous books while capturing new readers. You’ll already have a built-in fanbase eager for more, but you need to make sure they’re aware a sequel is getting published. To make sure you gain as much momentum as possible for your latest installment in a series, implement these effective book marketing tactics.

A Look at Marketing Trends in Children’s Publishing (PW)
Eric Huang, development director of Made in Me, a digital publisher specializing in children’s content, is one of the speakers at the Global Kids Connect Conference set for December 2nd in New York City. PW, which is producing the show along with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, talked with Huang about some of the trends he sees in the children’s market.

HMH Stumbles on Soft Education Market (Pub Lunch)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt reported a difficult third quarter and reduced their expectations for the full year. Sales were up $25 million to $576 million for the quarter, but that include $82 million from the recently-acquired EdTech business they bought from Scholastic. Without that addition, sales would have been down $58 million. Operating income fell $13.5 million to $102.6 million.

What’s So Shameful About Writing a Book and Hoping It Sells? (Guardian)
Throughout history, writers, musicians and artists have created works of art to keep the wolf from the door and satisfy their paymasters. Without that commercial imperative, there would be no Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare or Dickens. What is so shameful about writing a book and hoping it sells well? The answer is simple: nothing.

Facebook’s Q3 Ad Revenues Were up 45% to $4.3 billion (Adweek)
Facebook’s advertising sales increased 45 percent year over year in the third quarter to $4.3 billion. Mobile revenue accounted for 78 percent of all ad sales, which marks a 66-percent increase when compared to how mobile versus desktop advertising broke out during the same period last year. During the earnings call late on Wednesday, the tech giant said its mobile ad revenue was $3.4 billion.

A History of the School Backpack (NPR)
My editor, Steve Drummond, isn’t that old of a guy. He’s from Michigan—Wayne Memorial High School, class of ’79. But when he starts talking about backpacks, he dips into a “back in my day” tone that makes you think of a creaky rocking chair and suspenders: “You know, Lee, when I was in school, no one had a backpack! You just carried your books in your arms.” He says it like he’s talking about sending a telegram with Morse code. “No one really thought about it, that’s just what you did.”

Dan Poynter, the Father of Self-Publishing, Passes Away (Smashwords)
Dan Poynter led the indie author movement long before the movement had a label, and long before many of its current beneficiaries were even born. Tens of thousands of writers over the last three decades have benefited from the best practices wisdom of his Self Publishing Manual, not to mention his hundreds of presentations over the years at writers conferences around the world.

Should We Pander? (Seth Godin)
In a race to go faster, cheaper and wider, it’s tempting to strip away elegance, ornamentation or subtlety. If you want to reach more people, aim for average. The market, given a choice, often picks something that’s short-term, shoddy, inane, obvious, cheap, a quick thrill. Given the choice, the market almost never votes for the building, the monument or the civic development it ends up being so proud of a generation later. Think about it: the best way to write an instant bestseller is to aim low.

SNCF’s Ebook Subscription Service Validates the Kindle Unlimited Model (Digital Reader)
In September of last year, the French Railway SNCF launched a free digital library where passengers could read short public domain works with reading times ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. Evidently pleased with that program, SNCF expanded the program last week with the launch of a paid service that offers access to a catalog of 100,000 titles, and they’re taking a leaf from Amazon’s playbook when they do so.

The Foreign Rights and Licensing Scene in India (Pub Perspectives)
Although India is dubbed a fast-growing, “emerging” market for books, it is also a very complicated one. India has the unique distinction of being one of the largest markets for books in the English language while being a country where publishing of books is officially supported in 23 other languages. Not to forget hundreds of mother-tongues, many in which books are also published. Hindi is the official language, and English is the other official administrative language.

The 10 Commandments of Selling Rights to French Publishers (Pub Perspectives)
The first commandment of selling book rights to French publishers: know their list! Nine others follow, courtesy of Anne Michel of Albin Michel.


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