How to Know Your Readers Better

direct-to-consumer readers ebook publishersFirst, head down to your local grocer.

Small neighborhood shops tend to intuit something about cultivating customer relationships that other businesses, including many publishers, often miss.

To be fair, it’s only quite recently that that’s begun to change. As digital marketing expert Murray Izenwasser recently pointed out, most publishers experimenting with direct-to-consumer strategies are working to establish a relationship with readers “that in many cases doesn’t yet exist.”

But it isn’t necessarily a lost cause.

Reflecting on a recent trip to his local Greek grocer, Izenwasser pinpoints the kinds of similar interactions publishers must create with customers over time in order to better cater to their needs.

Much more.

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Why Global Distribution Is a Must for Publishers (DBW)
HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray told Digital Book World 2015 that the company’s expanding global footprint has been a boon to business, and many publishers agree about the commercial importance of reaching emerging markets. Tom Chalmers of IPR License makes a case for going global on different grounds, arguing, “In an age when the online-backed consumer holds all the power, publishers that ignore this reality have ship-wrecked their argument as rights-holders to receive due revenue for their content. You have to play along before you can expect to be paid.”

Rowman & Littlefield Riding High (PW)
Rowman & Littlefield’s 2014 revenue jumped 18% after a year filled will acquisitions. The publisher also saw digital sales increase 27% since 2013, leading CEO Jed Lyons to call 2014 the best year it’s ever had.

Time to Turn the Page on Pagination? (Slate)
Many of the conventions associated with the organization of book content, including pagination, came about “not as a tool for readers but a guide for those who physically produced books,” one expert observes. And since so much digital content is now reflowable or read by scrolling, page numbers could be falling into obsolescence.

Six (Spanish) Publishing Start-ups to Watch (Futurebook)
As digital publishing becomes an ever more global game, it matters less and less which markets innovators originate in. Still, it’s useful to keep track of where some of the more intriguing developments are emerging, and in this case Futurebook finds a slate of new ventures taking root in Spain.

Conflicting Accounts of Amazon Delivery Speeds (GeekWire)
Amazon says its own records show orders reached customers during the holiday season much faster than a recent survey suggests. Nevertheless, satisfaction with Amazon Prime during the period was still through the roof among respondents.

Research Libraries at Risk of Losing Digital Content (Infodocket)
A new paper on digital subscription packages for academic libraries and other research institutions points to the mounting problems posed for librarians when suppliers remove or update those collections.

Device Reseller Goes up Against Amazon, Ebay (Good E Reader)
Shop e-Readers, launched earlier this week, is angling for a slice of the used e-reader and tablet market, offering to help users buy and sell their unwanted devices online. The site accepts listings worldwide.

Six Tips for Publishing in a Crowded Market (HuffPost)
This list of strategies is meant for authors, and some of them (e.g. “become a best-seller”) are frankly easier doled out than achieved. But there’s plenty for publishers, too–like pairing a strong author platform with finely targeted marketing and being judicious about where to invest in production and promotion.
Related: Authors Playing the Long Game in a Tough Book Market


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