Changing Reader Habits in a Digital World

94“I have been trying to pinpoint the exact moment, or indeed the book, when I became a digital reader,” Candide Kirk writes in a blog post for DBW.

“The shift must have been subtle at first,” Kirk continues, “a gradual onset until I realized this month that I haven’t read a physical book in more than two years.”

When Kirk received a signed paperback by one of her favorite authors, she tried to dig into the physical book.

“When I finally got around to picking the book up, though, it struck me how much more I had come to rely on functionality than, well, ink on paper,” Kirk writes. “For one thing, I was suddenly uncomfortable with seeing two pages at a time;  it felt like I was cheating by seeing further ahead than a couple paragraphs, and my eyes kept skimming the opposite page.”

“It felt like someone had handed me a ‘90s flip phone.”

Much more.

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Amazon’s 20 Years of Selling Books (PW)
With Amazon having sold books for 20 years now, Publishers Weekly offers a timeline of many of the company’s milestones, along with commentary. “Books were Amazon’s largest product category as recently as 2008, but in 2015 their share of the company’s total revenue—which could hit $100 billion soon—is shrinking. As the company quietly marks its 20th year in the book business, executives said that books are still in Amazon’s DNA.”

The Non-Compete Clause in the Digital Era (Porter Anderson)
Non-compete clauses are the latest contract-reform issue to be taken up by the Author’s Guild, which issued a new white paper on the subject. In digital publishing, the non-compete clause “falls with particularly bizarre force on the author who traditionally publishes, let’s say, a strong science-fiction title,” Porter Anderson writes. “The author then decides that he or she might be able to support sales of that good-looking sci-fi novel with a series of self-published Kindle Singles… You’d think a publisher would be delighted, right? Not always. In fact, to hear authors talk about it, hardly ever does a publisher seem to understand the benefit of supplementary self-published work, and the non-compete clause is how the house may try to forestall that supplementary work.”

Walmart Carrying Self-Published Book in Store (Digital Reader)
Walmart might not have a large book section in most of its stores, but the chain can still move a lot of books. And that’s why Jamie McGuire, a hybrid author with Simon & Schuster, was pleased to announce that she had gotten one of her books onto the store’s shelves. In a blog post, McGuire wrote, “In a groundbreaking move by Wal-Mart, Beautiful Redemption: A Novel will be on the shelves in select stores! This is huge. This is pioneer stuff, friends, and this is just the beginning of your favorite self-published titles being available to you!”

Author Combines Mobile Gaming and Fantasy Fiction (PW)
In August, Alane Adams published The Red Sun, the first book in her Legend of Orkney YA fantasy series. And now, her series has become one part of a transmedia project that integrates gaming technology with the book’s fantasy and adventure narrative. BattleKasters is a free app based on The Red Sun, its characters, themes and fantasy-world locations. Adams said the game “is meant to enhance the value of the Legends of Orkney brand,” but added that it would be “easy” to monetize.

SpotlightThree Changes in Marketing (Seth Godin)
Using an economy of words, Seth Godin highlights three broad changes in marketing.

SpotlightIs Native Advertising on the Way out? (Ad Age)
When the concept of native advertising first gained widespread attention in 2012, it was expected to lift publishers’ fortunes and rescue digital advertising. Fast-forward three years, and native has largely delivered on that promise. According to an eMarketer report, spending on native is expected to reach $8.8 billion by 2018, up from $4.3 billion this year. At the rate things are going, though, native runs the risk of reviving all the familiar challenges that have made the display ad business such a challenging proposition.

SpotlightWhy Publishers Should Act Like Digital Agencies (Publishing Executive)
For today’s digital publishers, it’s not enough to simply publish; they need to be able to play the agency role, too. Digital agencies offer a central channel where an ad can be purchased on any site or device, whereas standalone publishers can only place ads on the properties they own and operate. To meet broader needs and solidify their presence in the publishing world, publishers need to adopt an agency mindset to fully appeal to advertisers’ multifaceted needs.


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