Rodale SVP, Publisher: ‘We’re Building on Something Great’

Rodale SVP, Publisher: 'We're Building on Something Great'Digital Book World is launching a new series, “Interviews in Innovation,” in which we speak with key figures in publishing who are doing things a bit differently.

In our first entry, we talk to Mary Ann Naples, SVP, Publisher of Rodale Books, which publishes all things health and wellness. Before taking the helm at Rodale, Naples held a variety of positions that informed her approach to steering the publisher, including nearly a decade of editorial work, more than a decade of being a literary agent, and a sizable amount of time working in business development.

Amidst the flurry of publishers scrambling to innovate and find new revenue streams to support their book business, Rodale recently launched Rodale Wellness, a content and e-commerce website for wellness seekers—the same audience that comprises the bulk of the publisher’s readership.

Much more.


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The Martian Proves Movies Are Now Better Than Their Books (Wired)
Film always will be a more efficient way to tell stories. The reason we read, and luxuriate in doing so, is because books provide a beauty in the telling. Decades ago, adapting literature like Gone with the Wind or Hamlet was a way for film to prove its legitimacy as an art—to show it could tell stories as grandly as great novels and plays. But filmmakers now have so many tools—particularly when it comes to sci-fi like The Martian—that movies might be the better way to tell some stories, period.

Will Digital Books Ever Replace Print? (Aeon)
“From 2009 to 2013, every book I read, I read on a screen,” writes Craig Mod. “And then I stopped. You could call my four years of devout screen‑reading an experiment. I felt a duty – not to anyone or anything specifically, but more vaguely to the idea of ‘books’. I wanted to understand how their boundaries were changing and being affected by technology. Committing myself to the screen felt like the best way to do it.”

Publishing Startup Pronoun Looks for Path Around Amazon (Forbes)
To startup companies looking to enter the book publishing field, Amazon is a huge immovable object in the middle of the road. Most publishing startups don’t really try to compete with Amazon; instead they try to succeed by complementing it, building some capability in hopes of being acquired by it, or pretending it doesn’t exist. Pronoun, which officially launched last week has a different strategy in mind.

Amazon Dropping Apple TV and Chromecast Is Understandable, But Dumb (Fortune)
Amazon has told its marketplace resellers in an email that it will no longer be selling Google’s Chromecast streaming TV adapter or Apple’s new Apple TV device, claiming they aren’t compatible with its Prime Video service. This seems more than a little disingenuous, however. The main reason Amazon doesn’t want to sell them is that they are the company’s biggest competitors when it comes to streaming TV. But by trying to injure its opponents, Amazon could also wind up hurting itself.

Amazon to Announce Deal That Should Terrify Microsoft (Business Insider)
Amazon’s huge tech conference for its cloud computing business is this week in Las Vegas, and the company is going to announce a partnership with Rackspace that will shock the industry, according to Business Insider. Rackspace will partner with Amazon to help enterprise customers move their tech into Amazon’s cloud. Rackspace had previously made a similar deal with Microsoft.

To Defy Amazon, Japanese Bookstore to Monopolize More Titles (Pub Perspectives)
In the wake of the positive response to its direct purchase of Haruki Murakami’s latest book, the Japanese bookstore chain Kinokuniya plans to increase direct purchases of books from publishers, as opposed to the conventional practice of buying them through wholesale booksellers. As reported last month, Kinokuniya purchased 90,000 copies (out of 100,000 copies printed) of Murakami’s latest book direct from Switch Publishing Co. when it was released on September 10th.

Can We Put an End to the Textbook Racket? (Newsweek)
Paying for college is not like paying for other goods and services. The eventual customers, college students, may not always feel the impact of rising college costs. Instead, parents and taxpayers often subsidize much of students’ tuition. However, any student today could point to at least one area in which the price tag is clear and the impact on them is immediate: textbooks.

eCampus.com Continues to Expand (PW)
After winning a five-year contract to create an online store and a staffed kiosk for the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in August, eCampus.com continues to build a niche as a virtual campus retailer. The UWM program works much like ones that Amazon has begun rolling out on other campuses, including Purdue and UMass Amherst in which Amazon operates an online store and staffs locations for students to pick up books and other materials. In addition to the UWM partnership, eCampus.com has a staffed kiosk at National Louis University and unstaffed kiosks at 20 other colleges. It also operates 150 virtual school stores, and it sells digital textbooks directly to students; it also sells and rents physical textbooks. Altogether, the privately held company generates close to $100 million in revenue.

SpotlightBusiness Brisk at 2015 Beijing International Book Fair (PW)
The five-day 22nd Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) concluded another successful run on August 30th. According to preliminary statistics from BIBF organizers, representatives from 82 countries and regions attended this year’s event, an increase of 5 percent over 2014. The number of exhibitors rose 6.8 percent, to 2,302, and 4,721 rights deals were concluded, an increase of 8.6 percent.

When a Self-Published Book Is Done Right (PW)
It’s hard for any book, published by any outfit, to rise to the attention of readers. It takes the right push at the right time for a book to take off, and that is an art, not a science. It’s true for all books; that’s just the reality of publishing and marketing. Self-published books, however, have additional challenges.

Publishing’s Evolution Means You Need to Be Everywhere (Pub Perspectives)
If the digital revolution has had one consequence, it means you need to make your books easily available and discoverable everywhere, always. But how?

To Compete with Facebook and Google, Publishers Step Up Ad-Targeting (Digiday)
“While digital display advertising is growing overall, we are hearing from the vast majority of publishers that their ad revenues aren’t keeping pace,” said Kathy Menis, senior vp of marketing at Signal, a data-focused digital marketing platform used by brands and agencies. “They’re fighting for ad dollars with walled gardens like Facebook and Google, which can offer large, customized, addressable audiences to advertisers,” she told Digiday in an interview. “This is the new battleground.”

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