Publishers Need to Manage Expectations

authors publishers amazonWhen managing a publishing business, or any business for that matter, there’s always a lot that can go wrong.

There are two “looming dangers,” Emma Barnes writes in her latest DBW post: the fact that staff, suppliers and customers can often let you down, and that the money you spend on any infrastructural changes might not be recouped for years.

The solution?

“The best approach I’ve come up with to mitigate these effects on your business,” Barnes writes, “is to try to manage people’s expectations up front.”

Much more.

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Pearson Sells Economist Stake for $730 Million (New York Times)
The British education company Pearson agreed to sell its 50-percent stake in the Economist Group, publisher of The Economist, to other shareholders of the group for $730 million. The move comes as Pearson, which sold The Financial Times last month, is trying to streamline its operations to focus primarily on its core education and assessment businesses.

How “The Girl on the Train” Became a Huge Success (Goodreads)
With Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train selling more than 3 million copies, Goodreads decided to analyze its data to find out how the book took off so quickly: “This is a story of how the passion of influential readers helped build that all-important early buzz,” Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler writes. “It’s also a story of how the twin trends of social media and our increasing time on mobile devices helped translate that initial buzz into a word-of-mouth sensation at record speeds.”

Amazon Changes Ads on Its Site (Wall Street Journal)
Amazon is ending certain pay-per-click advertisements on its site that benefitted some small retailers. The company said it will stop showing ads at the bottom of search results that feature photos of merchandise, and when clicked, take visitors to other retail sites. While Amazon didn’t offer an explanation for the change, according to The Wall Street Journal, it may have to do with a handful of blue links found on the bottom of many Amazon search results, placed there by Google. Amazon is expected to generate $1.26 billion in advertising sales this year.

Amazon’s Dash Buttons Hint at a New Future (The Verge)
“There are a couple different ways to look at Amazon’s Dash Buttons. The first, and most obvious, is that they are a gimmick,” writes Lauren Goode on The Verge. “But these buy buttons also support a shopping experience that involves almost zero interaction, whether that means browsing store shelves (IRL!) or tapping a touchscreen to browse and buy virtually.”

A Publishing Platform that Actually Pays (Digiday)
With platforms like LinkedIn and Medium allowing people to trade free content for brand cachet, there’s no shortage of places for writers to get published. What’s rare, though, is a platform that actually pay writers for their contributions. Slant, which launched in June, does pay—writers get 70 percent of the ad revenue generated by their stories—and it hopes this difference alone will attract more interest to its platform.

Iraq National Library Digitizes Holdings (Publishing Perspectives)
In order to preserve the history and culture of its country and combat terrorism and the threat posed by ISIS, the Iraq National Library has instituted a digitization project to restore and preserve its books. The intensive process involves sterilizing manuscripts and documents for 48 hours, cleaning them of dust and impurities, and then going through page by page to either fill in torn edges or layer the more delicate documents with a sheer coating to make them more durable. Once restored, the pages are photographed, transferred to microfilm and digitized.

Overdrive Adds W.W. Norton Titles (Overdrive)
Overdrive, a leading digital content platform for libraries and schools, announced that it has added nearly 2,000 titles from W.W. Norton.


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