“I’ve often marveled at the power editorial teams wield within publishers,” Matt MacInnis, co-founder and CEO of Inking, remarks. “They’ve traditionally controlled budgets, product roadmaps and sales teams, all in one. Talk about influence!”
As MacInnis sees it, the scope of that influence risks holding many publishers back from the transformations they’ll need in order to weather the next phase of the digital transition.
But he goes further still, arguing that outsize editorial power is just one of at least three key areas where the corporate cultures that prevail in today’s industry are not only stifling innovation but threatening publishers’ survival.
“The publishers that successfully shift their internal cultures to be technology-driven, rather than editorial-driven, will more quickly adopt methods and practices that favor the transition from publishing to software,” MacInnis adds.
“These companies will, in turn, attract better talent. And the virtuous cycle will accelerate.”
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Baker & Taylor Helps Librarians Buy More Wisely (DBW)
Partnering with collectionHQ, the data analytics platform for public libraries, Baker & Taylor adds tools allowing librarians to gain a quantitative snapshot of their current collections and patron demand in order to make more targeted acquisitions.
Library Platform BiblioBoard Charts Growth (Broadway World)
Founded in 2013, the digital library content platform BiblioBoard has now been adopted by four statewide library systems and says it expects to continue growing as libraries look to purchase ebooks and other digital media more economically while improving the user experience for patrons.
Amazon Rethinks Sharing on (and Beyond) Kindle (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
In an upgrade to its Kindle platform, Amazon introduces new features to enable users to share samples of certain titles among each other as well as with non-users who haven’t installed the Kindle app or don’t own an Amazon-built device.
Subscription Ebook Skeptics Stick to Their Guns (Entrepreneur)
Despite two new deals in the market for subscription ebooks and new technological and monetary changes from some of the leading providers, some still look askance at the model itself. One of them is Bookshout founder Jason Illian, who explains what’s been going wrong for subscription ebooks so far and why that could soon change.
Related: Ebooks Lag Behind Audiobooks in Modest Subscription Market
Sizing up New Ebook Typography (WSJ)
With Google’s new Literata font for Google Play Books and Amazon’s Bookerly typeface for the Kindle ecosystem, ebook readers on two of the leading platforms are getting are arguably seeing considerable improvements in the e-reading experience. Here’s a close, comparative look at both new fonts.
Who’s to Blame for Amazon’s Slender Tax Bills? (Independent)
Under pressure in the European Union, Amazon recently began recording sales through a number of national subsidiaries rather than just in Luxembourg, where it had arranged a more favorable tax deal. But while critics say the e-tailer is still paying proportionally low taxes—in the UK, £11.9 million last year compared with £5.3 billion in sales—some argue the real blame rests with policymakers and tax codes that are badly in need of reform.
Using Metadata in a Global Market (Pub Perspectives)
It’s uncertain whether “be available everywhere” and “be discoverable” count as “two new discovery strategies,” Jim Bryant, co-founder and CEO of the ebook distributor and technology company Trajectory puts it. More to the point, though, is the insight that the potential global markets for English-language titles are arguably more numerous than ever before, and the metadata practices many publishers employ so far aren’t up to the task of breaking into them. Bryant offers a few strategic recommendations for closing the gap and driving new revenue.
The Art of the Social Soft Sell (Teleread)
One author reminds others like her not to forget that lessons from the bricks-and-mortar retail experience still apply on social media. As she tells it, there’s still a plague of self-published authors who take to Twitter to blare “BUY MY BOOK!” and risk putting off readers that can otherwise be attracted in a less aggressive, more relationship-focused way.
Related: What Publishers Can Learn from Local Shopkeepers | How to Reach Millennials on Social Media
The Ethics of Book Buying (The New Yorker)
One observer writes that in the digital marketplace, bricks-and-mortar bookstores have “taken on moral significance. Buying a book and choosing the place to do so involve delicate and complicated considerations. You may fail to do the right thing.” You don’t have to agree with that premise in order to appreciate how the respective conveniences and allures of physical and online bookstores today diverge in stark and sometimes alarming ways. Here’s a meditation on the omnivorous book buyer’s dilemma.
The Authorial Undead (WSJ)
In a cheeky send-up of the practice by which publisher commission other authors to continue releasing new titles under the names of best-selling authors, like Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum, who have passed away, one commentator suggests delving deeper into the literary the canon to offer readers such reboots as A Lizzie Bennet Novel: No Pride, No Prejudice.