Publishing in a Reader-Powered World

ebook publishers readers BEA BookExpo IDPFPublishers are losing control over the curation of their content, Canelo’s Michael Bhasksar told attendees at IDPF’s Digital Book 2015 conference at BookExpo America yesterday.

And readers themselves, Bhaskar said, are taking over.

That’s leading publishers and retailers to rethink their marketing and discovery strategies in ways that play into readers hands.

But as experts who joined Bhasksar at yesterday’s conference explained, the fragmented landscape readers now dominate may require more targeted, partner-based efforts.

Much more.

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Reaching Readers, but Not through Direct Sales (DBW)
“With the customer now firmly holding the reins of power,” IPR License’s Tom Chalmers says, “the more foresighted in the industry are placing great emphasis on working more closely with them.” But in his view, a direct-to-consumer retail program may not be the best method at publishers’ disposal for building those crucial relationships with readers.

Kobo Pushes Booksellers to Sell Ebooks (DBW)
In collaboration with the American Booksellers Association, Kobo launches a limited-time reward program offering incentives for ABA booksellers to drive customers to Kobo’s e-reading platform.

HarperCollins Adds 18,000 Ebooks to Follett Catalog (DBW)
Framed as part of a literacy initiative, the publisher adds a selection of titles for Pre-K–12 students, which includes Harper Lee’s hotly anticipated Go Set a Watchman, to Follett’s Titlewave content platform.

Reading ≠ Book Buying (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
One observer offers a caveat for publishers trying to rethink and strengthen their ties with readers: It might be a mistake to conflate readers with book customers. Publishers might do well to consider how platforms like Wattpad engage with readers and the reading experience outside a commercial setting.
Related: Securing Customer Relationships in the Mobile Age

How to Handle Censorship in China (NYT)
That topic is top of mind among publishers gathered in New York this week at BookExpo America, where Chinese publishers are this year’s guests of honor. Four industry insiders weigh the obstacles, ethics and logistics involved in U.S.–Chinese publishing partnerships.

Libraries Open up to Open Access (Infodocket)
New research suggests academic publishers and libraries are widening their experiments with open access models, and library budgets are gradually devoting more resources to them.

Amazon to Face off with Alibaba in India (Quartz)
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is partnering with the Indian mobile payment service Paytm in order to gain a foothold in the market where Amazon has been battling the India-based Flipkart for dominance in the growing market. Here’s how the main contenders (analysts count five major players) stack up.
Related: BookBub CEO Josh Schanker on India’s Rising Potential

A Technologist’s Take on the Publishing Process (Latin Post)
Aptara’s Iris Febres characterizes her role as digital solutions architect as helping content creators understand what’s possible and what isn’t from the very beginning of the publishing process. Febres’s insider perspective includes reflections on coding, the costs of ebook and app development and diversity in her field.
Related: Ebook Developers Need a Seat at the Planning Table


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