Personalized Content and New Revenue Streams

Dominique RaccahDominique 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.

Digital Book World recently released a white paper titled “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation,” which you can download here. The report offers an insider’s look at both the current state and the future of digital publishing, and is filled with interviews and articles.

Below is an excerpt from an interview we conducted with Raccah, in which she discusses experimentation and new business models at Sourcebooks, new revenue streams for authors, and more. To read the entire interview, please download the the white paper.

What was your motivation for launching your new business models?

For the last decade, I’ve been interested in how can we use digital to expand the field of publishing for authors, agents and retail partners. Can we create new revenue streams, new discovery mechanisms, new ways of reaching readers, and more innovative expansion strategies for our retail partners? As a result, Sourcebooks has tried dozens of major experiments and hundreds of smaller ones. Much of what we tried didn’t work. But we’ve now found a number of new business models that are complex to implement and ripe with opportunity.

What new revenue streams do you see now and in the future for authors and licensors?

Personalized books are just one successful execution within a world of possibilities, and even there the opportunities seem pretty limitless. We’re finding new, additive readers for authors and licensors through our direct sales mechanism, which includes finding them online, in the app space, in our large base of email subscribers, through a variety of SEO/SEM strategies, through online and social ads, through major deal sites, through traditional media (our books were just featured on The View, the Today Show and Good Morning America), and the list goes on. We have partnerships with traditional retailers, both online and bricks-and-mortar. We’re working on scores of other ways of putting books in front of people where they are. It’s really so much more than just building a website. Additionally, I mentioned that this is a gift opportunity, not just books. So we’re helping our authors, illustrators and license partners add revenue beyond just the book with things like personalized wall art, growth charts, lunchboxes, and whatever else customers want next. “Personalized” is a key for many of those, and our existing and growing customer base make for a robust marketplace. But it all starts with creating a GREAT experience for the reader/user. You want to create something that’s “pretty damn cool” (as BuzzFeed just called our personalized coloring books).

The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is March 7th-9th in New York at the Hilton Midtown.

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