Back in March, Digital Book World contributor Murray Izenwasser made an offer “to perform a free, quick analysis of independent publishers’ websites and determine their current levels of ‘having a modern website and search engine optimization (SEO).’”
Izenwasser and his team received an overwhelming number of requests before settling on 12 publishers.
This analysis, according to Izenwasser, “is an important step in direct-to-consumer publishing optimization—reaching your current customer base, finding new customers and converting customer site visits into book purchases.”
Over the next several months, DBW will be publishing the results of this analysis in Izenwasser’s new column, The Optimized Publisher.
Let’s take a look at how this analysis was put together and which publishers took the plunge.
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Germans Ask for Second Investigation, into Amazon’s Audio Empire (Pub Lunch)
After helping to spur a European Commission investigation into Amazon’s ebook contracts with publishers, announced this June, Germany’s Publishers and Booksellers Association filed a new complaint with Germany’s Cartel Office and the EC. Now they are asking for additional scrutiny of Amazon’s Audible subsidiary, accusing the company of misusing the leverage from a near-monopoly in digital audiobooks. German accounts claim Audible wants to move publishers to a “flat-rate” service, and has threatened to stop offering publishers’ product if they do not agree to the new terms.
Oyster to Shut Down “over the Next Several Months” (Pub Lunch)
Ebook subscription service Oyster announced that the company would wind down operations “over the next several months” in the wake of what is understood to be the company’s sale to an undisclosed buyer, which intends to close the business. Oyster’s impending shutdown comes two months after Entitle wound down operations, and Scribd’s recent cutbacks on unlimited offerings of romance titles and audiobooks.
Why Ad Blockers Will Help Content Evolve (Joe Wikert)
As ad blockers become more mainstream, it forces publishers to make a strategic choice with their free content. Some will continue what they’ve always done: offering free content and now accepting the fact that more reading is taking place without the benefit of ad impression income. Others will push more of their content behind a paywall, reducing consumption but enjoying a false sense of contentment knowing that they aren’t being gamed by the ad-blocking crowd.
Reidy Hails Metadata, Ebook Subscription at BISG (PW)
Delivering the keynote address at the BISG annual meeting, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said that readers of literary fiction purchase ebooks just as much as readers of commercial fiction do, though both remain attached to the physical book. “The book is a permanent keepsake,” Reidy said, “unlike a YouTube video.” Most readers, she said, seem to want ebooks to be a “replica of the print book.” Enhanced ebooks loaded with videos or other digital gimmicks, have been a failure, although it’s unclear why. “Is it because of the interruptions to the text or because we, the publishers, have failed to make them good enough?”
Reedsy on Rethinking How to Create and Publish Books (Forbes)
Every author, no matter how many books they may have sold, has experienced the same sinking feeling when the manuscript they have worked on for months, if not years, is returned by a publisher with a polite rejection note. It’s a curiously old-fashioned way of doing things, and one that is increasingly easy for authors to bypass thanks to sites like self-publishing startup Reedsy.
Amazon’s Echo Reads You the Headlines (Engadget)
Amazon just made it easier to catch up on the news while you’re getting chores done around the home. A newly-added option for its voice-guided Echo speaker, Trove, lets you ask the device to read the top news headlines on a given subject.
BookWeather App Offers Unique Take on Discovery (Publishing Perspectives)
BookWeather is a French social media book recommendation engine for readers that uses calculations based on your friends, wish lists, and a variety of other user data to send you book recommendations. You can register your own titles (much like Goodreads) or scan books via barcode, which will reveal the “weather”—the social media ‘temperature’ or rating, what is trending, etc.—for that particular title.
Mexico Needs Government Policy to Promote Publishing (Publishing Perspectives)
“Mexico is a country with huge, unconverted potential as a publishing market,” says Deborah Holtz, co-founder and director of Mexico’s Trilce Ediciones. “Our editors and publishers are well-trained, and our unique geographical position makes us an ideal point from which to export both to the U.S. and Latin America. Two obstacles holding back the country are poor government decisions and the absence of strong agencies to support publishing. Almost all publishers receive little to no support for production. There are no specific bank credits, nor do we have support on book exports.”
Measurement Is About People (Social Times)
According to Brian Boland, Facebook’s vice president of ads product marketing, “people-based marketing is the future. We understand the billion-and-a-half people on Facebook. And we can learn so much from all of them; their likes, their online behavior and how they interact with each other. This opens up amazing opportunities for brands, as they build their marketing strategies for today and for a future which is only going to be more fragmented, more agile and even more mobile.”