Should Publishers Rely More on Data or Instinct?

Should Publishers Rely More on Data or Instinct?“It might as well be time to address the elephant in the room,” writes Andrew Rhomberg in a blog post for Digital Book World. “The pachyderm that is causing fear, uncertainty and doubt among authors, agents and publishers is the prospect of how data, and reading data in particular, may affect the creative process of writing, editing and marketing books.

“My starting point shall be the data-smart publishing workshop I led at the Digital Book World Conference in New York last week. One of the attendees was publishing reporter Alexandra Alter, who reported her impressions of the issues for the New York Times in an article titled ‘Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read.’

“Her article also included expert graphics by Karl Rusell that used data provided by reader analytics company Jellybooks (that would be my company). The title of the article was borrowed from the workshop presentation of Tommy Doyle, general manager for science, technical and medical books (STM) at Elsevier (RELX), who reported on how RELX uses data to be a data-smart publisher in the 21st century, playing ‘Moneyball for Publishers.’

“The New York Times article has been discussed widely in publishing circles, and one of the key themes discussed among the literati matches a key topic of the workshop: a publisher’s struggle with using data on reading and sales versus relying on instinct or ‘Bauchgefühl’ (gut feeling), as the Germans call it.”

Much more.

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