When Low Ebook Prices Aren’t Enough

ebook price promotion agency pricingAs the economics of digital bookselling evolve, bargain prices don’t always pack the punch they once did in terms of driving sales.

That’s partly a function of the sheer volume of titles being pumped into the market, but major publishers’ willingness to experiment with price promotions is also influencing readers’ buying habits and expectations.

With three of the Big Five publishers now back to agency ebook pricing and many publishers widening their direct-to-consumer efforts, alternatives to the straightforward 99-cent price promotion are multiplying.

Some of the most effective approaches are deceptively simple–like adding a shopping cart to an online bookstore or deploying a good, old-fashioned email newsletter.

Much more.

Related: Three Direct-to-Consumer Steps Every Publisher Can Take

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Little, Brown Turns Social Media Site into Imprint (PW)
Little, Brown for Young Readers launched Novl in 2013 as a web community to unify the division’s various author platforms. Since then, authors and editors have generated content and an audience sufficient for the publisher to turn Novl into an imprint of its own.
Related: Why Social Media Marketing Starts with a Great Website

Amazon Prime Gains Global Edge (Business Insider)
About 25% of subscribers to Amazon’s Prime program live in one of the seven countries where the service is offered outside the U.S.

Harlequin Helps HarperCollins to 20% Revenue Hike (PW)
With parent company NewsCorp reporting second quarter earnings late last week, HarperCollins has little reason to regret its purchase of Harlequin in May 2014. The acquisition helped lift revenue abou 20%. Without the romance publisher factored in, sales at HarperCollins were flat compared with the year before, when Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy was selling like hotcakes.

Weighing What Comes Next for CBS (Pub Lunch)
What course Simon & Schuster’s parent company CBS might take after 91-year-old controlling owner Sumner Redstone is no longer around to lead it is the subject of widespread speculation. Some expect a merger with Viacom, including CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who is said to be raising funds to buy the company before that can happen.

Why Incumbents Rarely Eat Start-ups (Fortune)
Big companies like Amazon, Apple and Google are often perceived as threats to their smaller competitors, especially by would-be disruptors. But one industry watcher points out it’s seldom that
“existing tech companies…see someone else gain traction with a new idea, and then successfully copy it at scale.”

Library Ebook Prices Still Prohibitive for Many (Inside Higher Ed)
One observer puts the problem this way: “There is a fundamental difference between digitized versions of physical books and born-digital books. While the former move us closer to the ‘anyone, anytime, anywhere’ future, the economics of the latter are pushing us in the opposite direction, toward a future in which access to digitally published titles is restricted and provisional.”

Readers Live Better, Says Science (Teleread)
A recent UK study indicates people who read for 30 minutes daily are 20% likelier than those who don’t to report being “satisfied with their lives.” The researchers say that the correlation suggests readers may have better coping mechanisms. You be the judge.

Judith Regan Returns (NYT)
The first titles from the controversial publisher’s new line, Regan Arts, will begin appearing later this month. The landscape Regan reenters after a nearly eight-year hiatus is much changed. Not only has Amazon consolidated its power–in a project Regan characterizes as “total world domination”–but, as she sees it, the commercial nonfiction market is now filled with the sorts of titles Regan once took heat for publishing.

New Book Cover Tech: Judge and Be Judged (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
A cheeky but intriguing prototype for a new digital book cover collects and responds to data from readers’ expressions using facial recognition software, and it only unlocks the book once it detects a non-judgemental disposition.


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