The Wall Street Journal has a piece out on the growing trend of people reading on their phones. In a Nielsen survey of 2,000 people from late last year, about 54 percent of ebook buyers said they also read on their smartphones “at least some of the time.” That figure is up from 24 percent in 2012, according to another Nielsen study.
What’s more, the number of people who read primarily on their phones has risen to 14 percent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 9 percent in 2012.
The trend of readers migrating to their phones and reading on small screens is forcing publishers to rethink the way books are designed, marketed and sold. But it’s also prompting some concern about whether deep, concentrated thinking is possible amid the ringing, buzzing and alerts that come with phones.
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Are Publishers Making a Global Push? (Mike Shatzkin)
Mike Shatzkin’s latest column looks at the recent promotions of executives at HarperCollins and Holtzbrinck and details what might happen as publishers look to publish globally rather than simply sell rights. “The structural impediments to publishing this way are not trivial,” Shatzkin writes. “It will be a very long time—not in the working careers of any of today’s executives—before coordinated global publishing is important for any but the biggest books on the list.”
Whose Job Is It to Innovate? (Publishing Perspectives)
Jerome Goerke takes a step back and and wonders why ”publishers seem to have assumed the onus of innovator as the industry seeks to bridge the difficult ‘Analog-Digital Divide.’” In a thorough analysis of how content creation might change going forward, Goerke says the goal should be for authors “to experiment with well-considered, broad-reaching and viable projects, and this in turn will make it easier to feed that innovation down the pipeline from supply side to demand.”
What’s Really Going on in Publishing (Scholarly Kitchen)
In a rebuttal to the piece “Harper Lee and Dr. Seuss Won’t Save Publishing” from a few weeks ago in the Harvard Business Review, one writer says: “What’s really going on in book publishing today is that publishers are consolidating their market positions through mergers and acquisitions… Book publishers for the most part are faced with the dominant position of Amazon, which puts upstream pressure on its vendors. Publishers in turn consolidate both to fend off Amazon and to squeeze down the share that authors take. Indeed, from a margin point of view, all the benefits of the migration from print to digital books have accrued to publishers. Authors are worse off (except for the very biggest) because the publishers thus far have been able to get away with this.”
4 Promotion Strategies That No Longer Work (BookBub)
“The Internet, social media, and instant communication processes have radically streamlined the relaying of newsworthy information, forging a leaner media corps in which fewer producers and editors create more and more content,” writes one publishing publicist. “Unsurprisingly, these changes also prompted a shift in how books are promoted and marketed.” To help clear through the clutter, BookBub has a list of four outdated book promotion strategies that you should stop using.
HarperCollins Reports Growth in 2015 (PW)
HarperCollins’s annual revenue increased 16 percent from last year to $1.67 billion and profit was up 12 percent to $221 million. Excluding the company’s Harlequin purchase from last year, though, revenue at the publisher was down 2 percent while earnings also fell 2 percent, according to parent company News Corp. Sales of both ebooks and digital audio accounted for 22 percent of consumer revenue.
BooksOnDemand Adds New DRM Options (Digital Reader)
The German ebook distributor BooksonDemand (BoD) announced that it was adding new DRM options to its distribution platform. According to The Digital Reader, “authors who distribute ebooks through BoD can now choose to either use encryption DRM, digital watermarks, or release their works with no DRM at all.”