Expert Publishing Blog

digital publishing strategies book editors Inkling Matt MacInnis

Tipping the Editorial Apple Cart

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first post in this three-part series, I discussed a few key ways the market has changed. In this second post, I’ll share my tech-centric perspective on the challenges publishers face in transforming themselves. In...

Emma Barnes Bibliocloud coding ebook publishers

Publishers Can Learn a Few Things from Programmers

As both a publisher and a programmer, I’m a member of a very select club. It consists of both those who started out as coders and went into publishing and those who did the reverse. I’m in the latter group, having co-founded a little indie press called Snowbooks in 2003. When I needed a system...

ebook developers digital production Joshua Tallent

Seven Ways to Get Ebook Production Training

My colleague and fellow ebook developer Laura Brady wrote recently about the challenging job prospects facing would-be ebook production professionals. As she pointed out, learning how to create ebooks is neither an easy process nor a cheap one. But Brady also noted that there’s still a range of ways to acquire production training—to which...

Goodreads Otis Chandler ebook readers book discovery authors digital marketing

How to Work with Influencers to Drive Book Discovery

Ask authors and publishers about the biggest challenge they face, and chances are the top answer you’ll get is book discovery. Yes, it’s been the No. 1 issue in the industry for years, but it’s getting increasingly difficult. Millions of books are now published every year. Mass media, already the preserve of the rarified...

Inkling digital publishing start-ups innovation

How to Survive the Death of the Book

As founder and CEO of Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In this three-part series, I’ll share my tech-centric perspective on the industry. This first post addresses the changes I’ve seen in the book market and the key trends driving them. Second, I’ll discuss the challenges I’ve observed...

Gareth Cuddy Vearsa data book publishing innovation BEA15

Four Digital Publishing Questions for Gareth Cuddy

BookExpo America 2015, held in New York City last month, served as focal point for questions about digital discovery, authors’ roles and outcomes in the publishing ecosystem, publishers’ relationships with readers and the speed of innovation. Conversations on those and other issues are ongoing within the industry, but which ones are publishers most in need of...

ebook developers digital production Laura Brady

Are Good Jobs for Good Ebook Developers Drying up?

Lately there have been rumors within the profession that it’s becoming harder and harder to hire a good ebook developer. Is this true? In my personal experience, it is. But I also think there are broader issues at play than just a shortage of talent. A conversation on the subject during a recent #eprdctn...

Emma Barnes Bibliocloud ebook publishing production editorial workflows IT

No Computer System Can Fix a Broken Publisher

With stability taking hold of the hybrid print-digital market after years of rapid ebook growth, many publishers are turning to evaluate how workflow automation and other IT solutions can streamline their businesses and make them more efficient. That’s undeniably a good thing, but as I’ve written before, the allure of a new digital system...

mobile apps book publishers responsive web design

Not All Publishers Need Mobile Apps

Back in 2010, at the European Tools of Change Conference in Frankfurt, I took part in a research group evaluating the pros and cons of mobile apps for book publishers. I remember one of the speakers saying something along these lines: “Before you put $10,000 aside to make an app, have a look at...

pastgenre

Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions

The growth of ebook publishing has heralded the growth of genre publishing—and it’s no wonder: Readers gravitate toward online communities that mirror their interests. By publishing genre-oriented ebooks, publishers and authors can cater to established communities of readers. And since ebooks can often be produced inexpensively and sold at lower prices than many of...

EPUB ebook formats Firebrand

Why Proprietary Ebook Formats Work

As someone who has been creating ebooks for more than a decade, I am often asked whether I think Amazon will someday let go of its proprietary Kindle format and switch to EPUB. My response has been the same since the question was first posed to me in 2009: I don’t see any reason...

Happenings on the Library Ebook Front

I’m pleased to bring you some news today from the American Library Association (ALA). First, I’d like to announce the release of Digital Futures, our fifth supplement to American Libraries magazine, focused on digital content issues. Two members of the publishing community are contributors, both to the report itself and to our guiding theme...

customersfeature

Customer as King: How to Get an Audience

I often stress in my posts here that the consumer runs the publishing business. It’s always sad when you hear those in the industry patronizing or criticizing the customer, even if it’s just a defensive response to readers failing to show enough interest in publishers’ own output. That the customer holds all of the power is clearer...

Emma Barnes Bibliocloud Digital Book World publishing solutions ebook workflows

Why ‘Easy’ Publishing Solutions Hardly Ever Are

Almost every week, a new technological innovation comes to market, promising to save publishers money, streamline workflow, reduce administrative burdens or reach more readers. These innovations are diverse, but they share one thing in common: each promises to make our lives easier. The unique selling propositions vary. Some offer easy enhancement of ebooks (CircularFlo,...

Amazon Google mobile e-commerce direct-to-consumer ebook publishers

The Mobile Future Is Now and Amazon Is Winning It

No, I’m not talking about the Fire Phone. Two recent moves by Google drive home an e-commerce lesson many book publishers worried about Amazon’s market dominance are beginning to learn themselves—that a great deal depends on owning customer relationships with mobile users. Last month Google updated its search algorithm to give priority to mobile-responsive websites, and on Friday the Wall...

EPUB digital ebook production workflow

The Pros and Cons of Single-EPUB Workflows

Many publishers and ebook creation companies strive to create a single EPUB file they can deliver to all of the different retailers, rather than producing different files for each one. While there are pros and cons to this approach to ebook production, my own view is that the pros outweigh the cons. But first,...

Ruby on Rails ebook publishers websites coding

What Publishers Need to Know about Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails—or just “Rails” for short—is my web development framework of choice. If your job has anything to do with the Internet—which if you’re reading this it does—then you’ve likely used a Rails application already today. Groupon, Airbnb, Shopify, Bloomberg, Indiegogo and hundreds of thousands of other websites are all written in Rails. Since so...

ebook marketing book publishers SEO websites direct-to-consumer

Twelve Publishers’ Websites Go under the SEO Microscope

For publishers, a fully search engine–optimized website is the first step in improving discoverability and in building out a direct-to-consumer program. It’s usually the piece of the puzzle that’s fairly straightforward to implement and brings a pretty good return on investment. And since it’s the part of SEO that publishers themselves control, I recently...

children's apps publishing BolognaRagazzi

Less Glitz Makes for More Magic in Children’s Apps

At the end of March, a fortunate group of children’s authors, book publishers and app developers from around the world gathered at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where the Children’s Technology Review hosted talks and workshops on children’s apps and announced the winners of the BolognaRagazzi Digital Prize. This year’s winner, My Very Hungry...

multi-channel publishing authors multimedia

Where Authors Fit into Multi-Channel Publishing

In many ways, some authors already excel at multi-channel content development. I recently argued that the digital publishing ecosystem is creating ever more lucrative, practical opportunities to deliver content across a wide range of media formats. Now I’d like to turn to consider how authors fit into that picture. Consider an illustrated children’s title, whether...

seatfeature

Ebook Developers Need a Seat at the Planning Table

When was the last time you invited an ebook developer to an acquisitions meeting? I venture to say that it’s the rare publisher who thinks that far in advance. The in-house crew responsible for the ebook will have a perspective that’s different than the editor’s, the sales manager’s, or the marketing team’s. Planning for...

multi-channel digital content publishing

How to Make Multi-Channel Publishing Profitable

The digital environment opens up new ways for people to enjoy the information that interests them. Publishing still dominates one long-established format: print on paper. But it’s not the oldest; storytelling, performance and music all predate it. These still thrive today and hold their own alongside newer forms like radio, film, television and online...

datafeature

Is Agency Ebook Pricing Suppressing Sales? Hard to Say

The latest monthly data from the Association of American Publishers (AAP), for January 2015, show ebook sales in slump. Comprising just 20% of trade sales, digital formats clocked in at $100.3 million, down more than 10% to what Publishers Lunch notes is the lowest monthly sales figure since April 2012, when the AAP reported...

LBF15 LBF London Book Fair

London Shines a Light on the Role of Book Fairs

With the new venue of Olympia, this year’s London Book Fair was of particular interest. I had a word with myself an hour in, acknowledging that publishers hate change, so stop moaning that things weren’t where you expected them to be. Thereafter (and a slightly confusing numbering system aside), it was a great event....

authors

Which Authors Do Subscription Services Benefit?

Subscriptions services may yet turn out to be a next game-changer in publishing, but for the moment that market is in a state of flux and expansion. Oyster recently added an ebookstore loaded with Big Five titles, a move that could in turn bolster the subscription model, potentially attracting new readers and making the brand more competitive...

fivemorewaysfeature

Five More Ways to Make Digital Pay

In my last post, I argued that publishers looking to invest in elements of a more robust digital strategy have to balance the costs of technology and the costs of implementing it with the expected savings in the overall publishing process. I also suggested that there’s a timing factor, too, and taking incremental steps...

Gareth Cuddy digital disruption ebooks publishing Vearsa Sinofsky

Publishing’s Digital Disruption Hasn’t Even Started

Imperceptible, invisible almost, but it was there at the London Book Fair this year—publishers quietly clapping each other on the back and breathing a collective sigh of relief: Phew, thank goodness that ebook thing is over. Now let’s get back to real publishing. I’m being a little facetious, of course. But this year’s trade...

book marketing strategies readers Peter McCarthy

Audience Research Needn’t Be Costly or Time Consuming

The line between “conventional wisdom” and “misconception” is often thin, blurry and easy to stumble over. As the book marketing world sharpens its digital chops, misconceptions tend to result from insufficient experience with, and incomplete understanding of, a particular tactic. In my experience, it’s that holistic sort of nuance that makes all the difference. This...

reins

Publishers Finally Taking the Reins on Web Marketing

By the end of the London Book Fair last week, I had spoken to over 100 publishers, most of them mid-sized, (by going booth to booth—and yes, my feet are tired) as well as a handful of distributors, and I’ve noticed that for the first time there is nearly universal agreement on the following...

EPUB ebook production Sigil FlightDeck

Ten Great Ebook Production Tools

There are many ways to get at the insides of an EPUB—many of them idiosyncratic and unique to the particular needs of a given ebook developer. And not all tools are created equally. So while this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a quick guide to some of the best tools for...

fivewaysfeature

Five Ways to Make Digital Pay

Few doubt ebooks’ importance to publishers’ bottom line, particularly as print sales decline, but with ebook growth mostly flat, many still question how much further a digital strategy should go within a modern publishing business. For every good reason publishers have to expand their digital strategies, there seems to be at least one skeptical objection....

video streaming meerkat periscope publishers ebooks social media

Pressing Pause on the New Streaming Platforms

Two similar apps recently took the social media universe by storm: Meerkat and Periscope. Both allow you to live-stream video directly from your mobile phone to the web. The real difference between them is that Periscope is from Twitter Inc. while Meerkat isn’t, but Meerkat launched first and received $12 million in funding. If...