Blurb Announces New CEO; Gittins Stays on as Chairman

Blurb Announces New CEO; Gittins Stays on as ChairmanBook and magazine self-publishing platform Blurb announced on Tuesday that Todd Larsen has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Larsen succeeds Founder and CEO Eileen Gittins, who becomes Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors as well as an advisor to the company.

“I am honored and excited to lead Blurb into its next phase of growth, expanding the company’s leadership position,” said Larsen.

Prior to joining Blurb, Larsen had been serving as Executive Vice President of Time, Inc., where he oversaw global operations of major media brands, including Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. Larsen had previously served as President of Dow Jones & Co., where he oversaw The Wall Street Journal and the company’s other brands, including MarketWatch, Factiva and Dow Jones Newswires.

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The Final SEO Factor for Publishers (DBW)
For the final factor of our multi-step evaluation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) factors, we will be turning to security. In May of 2015, The Washington Post provided a timeline of the history of Internet security, ranging from Cold War communication strategies of the 1960s to hacking car navigation and other vehicle systems in 2015. One thing that they did not touch on was the use of an “S” at the end of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)—the origin of the URL address that allows you to access the Internet every day.

Book Publishing Has Always Been Shaped by Larger Forces (Mike Shatzkin)
Publishers now live in a world where more than half the sales for most of them occur online through varying combinations of print and ebooks. Their two biggest accounts—Amazon for online sales and Barnes & Noble for stores—each reign supreme for their channel of the business. (And although Amazon has opened a store and Barnes & Noble has an online sales capability, they are likely to remain the leading player where they are now and much less important in the other channel.) Because they’re so important, they can be increasingly aggressive in how much margin they insist on as discount from the publishers’ price and various merchandising fees.

How Writers Can Optimize Their Book’s Description on Amazon (Jane Friedman)
If you’re an author, you may not like thinking about your published books as products, but that’s what they are. And the description section on your book’s product page is the most important selling tool you have. Once a potential customer lands on an author’s product page, that description has to be written in a way that entices. Sure, some customers may have already decided to buy a particular book, so they may not even bother to read the description. But most shoppers are on the hunt for their next read or cookbook or exercise guide. They’re going to consider a number of books, and the one with the best description—that fits closest to what they’re looking for—is the one they’ll buy.

Harlequin Hopes to Find ‘Binge’ Readers with New E-Serial (PW)
Harlequin is taking a new approach to the serialized release of its Tough Justice mystery-suspense series. Each of the eight installments of the digital-first series, which were all released on January 12th, is written by a different author and ends with a cliffhanger. By publishing all the installments on the same day, the publisher is trying to mimic the “binge-watching” consumption model created by streaming television.

When Is the Right Time to Discount Your Book? (BookBub)
Discounting an ebook can be an effective way to drive a high volume of downloads, increase revenue, boost a book up the retailer rankings, build author buzz, and more. And promoting that discount via services like BookBub can expose the book to millions of power readers eager for a good deal. But when should you consider dropping the price of one of your books?

David Bowie’s 100 Essential Books (Melville House)
It should surprise no one to learn that the late David Bowie was a voracious reader. A few years ago, David Bowie Is, an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, displayed many of Bowie’s favorite books alongside other rare items from his own archives and wardrobe. The gallery also released a longer list that ranges across all manner of fiction, non-fiction and other curiosities.

13 (Made Up) Terms to Help You Understand Publishing in 2016 (Pub Exec)
Although we’re in the words business, we publishers often can’t find the words to explain what’s going on in our industry. I’ve already presented a dozen terms that are key to understanding magazine media publishing this year. Now here are 13 made-up terms that get to the heart of what’s really happening in this business.

Germany: Strong Finish for Holiday Book Sales (Pub Perspectives)
After a slow start to Germany’s holiday book sales, shopping picked up during December. In the end, the bookstores managed to finish with a slight surplus compared to last year.


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