How Publishers Must Start Working with Data

How Publishers Must Start Working with Data“The recent slowdown in ebook sales has led some publishing observers to pronounce that the digital publishing revolution is over,” writes Andrew Rhomberg for Digital Book World. “The truth is, this is indeed the end, but merely the end of the beginning of how ebooks and online tools will affect publishing. We have now entered the next wave of publishing’s digital transformation—one that is based on the use of data that is collected digitally and allows authors and publishers to develop unique insights into readers and audiences.”

“To explore this topic further, we are holding a workshop at the Digital Book World Conference next Monday, March 7th, in New York City,” Rhomberg continues, “where we will discuss a selection of data-smart tools and outcomes and investigate how these are already affecting the existing workflows and decisions paths in publishing.

“Our first workshop speaker will be Tommy Doyle, senior vice president at RELX’s Science and Technology Book Group (RELX Group is the new name for Reed Elsevier).”

Much more.

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5 Questions with Dominique Raccah, CEO & Publisher, Sourcebooks (DBW)
Dominique Raccah is the entrepreneurial CEO of Sourcebooks, which she founded in 1987, and today is one of the largest independent book publishers in the United States and home to dozens of bestselling authors. Growing through small and large innovations, Sourcebooks has repeatedly created new ways for readers to interact with books, from Poetry Speaks (called the “definitive anthology” of poets reading their own work) to Put Me In The Story, the successful app and website that allows you to personalize bestselling books. At Digital Book World 2016, Raccah will be part of a panel called “Women at the Intersection of Publishing, Finance and Tech,” and will give a mainstage presentation in which she discusses Sourcebooks’s transformation.

Publishing in an Increasingly Data-Driven Future (Bookseller)
At The Story conference earlier this month week, Jamie Byng, CEO of the independent UK publishing house Canongate, said, “Publishing what the market wants is derivative.” It was a comment on a seemingly increasingly data-driven era for book publishers. Departments at major UK and US book publishers are now focused on understanding “audience insight,” and access to unprecedented levels of data is helping them to anticipate audience interests. As the American author Seth Godin states: “The future of publishing is about having connections to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want.”

College Bookstores Are in a Hard Place (Digital Reader)
Once a de facto monopoly, college bookstores now have to contend with increased online competition and the resulting declining revenues. They also have the problem of publishers bypassing them to deal directly with students, and now those same publishers have found a new way to sabotage college bookstores.

Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Spread the Word (PW)
After working as an architect and in the fashion industry, Andrés Quintero has found his calling: writing and illustrating picture books. His first title, Hairy Harold & His Extraordinary Trip to New York, was self-published last year and praised as an “impressive debut” by Publishers Weekly. Like many self-published books, Hairy Harold was crowdfunded. After Quintero wrote and sketched a draft, a friend suggested Kickstarter. But Quintero admits that if he had known how difficult crowdfunding was, he wouldn’t have done it. “Thank goodness I didn’t know that at the time,” he says.

A Game-Changer for Open Educational Resources? (Scholarly Kitchen)
Earlier this month, an EdWeek Market Brief reported that Amazon is preparing to beta-test a platform for open educational resources—textbooks and other classroom instructional materials that are provided online at no charge to users. Reportedly the platform will be called Amazon Inspire and is tentatively scheduled for public roll-out within the next two months.

Ebooks Are Alive and Rather Well in France (Pub Perspectives)
While some see France as the great holdout of Europe in terms of digital books and e-reading, others say adoption is moving a bit more quickly than before.

Author Solutions: My Experience (Bookseller)
In 2014 I was asked by my editor to sign up for Author Solutions so The Bookseller could independently verify some of the many claims made about the service, most importantly whether it used duplicitous means to secure a signature and how far it pushed prospective customers into deals.

Supreme Court Decision on Apple Case Delayed (PW)
The Supreme Court last week once again delayed a decision on whether to review Apple’s ebook price-fixing case. But this time, no news may be good news for Apple. Attorneys tell PW (and SCOTUSblog also notes) that the trend in such delays is toward granting certiorari, and the delay could well be a sign that the case has attracted interest from the court. However, attorneys caution, Apple’s petition was rescheduled under extraordinary circumstances, considering the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Samhain Publishing “Winding Down” (Pub Lunch)
Samhain Publishing announced to authors via email on Friday that the digital publisher is “beginning the process of winding down due to our market share’s continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.” Christina Brashear adds, “We prefer to go out gracefully and not get to the point where our overhead compromises our ability to pay the authors’ royalties. That’s would just be wrong. We want to stay on the high road and keep your respect.”


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