Expert Publishing Blog

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...

print digital ebook production workflows publishing

Twelve Ways to Update Print Production Habits

I was reading a novel today on a Kindle Paperwhite—or “dogfooding” as some would like this habit to be called. Despite the engaging content, I kept getting jarred out of the ebook by its low production quality. The formatting wasn’t even so horrible, but small mistakes kept punching me out of my immersive experience....

ebook publishers direct-to-consumer strategy

The Real Price of a Strategy Shift

Whatever your strategy, you need to pay a “strategy tax.” That’s the name I give to the cost you’ll end up paying to support your business strategy. Take Amazon. It has a hands-off strategy. Amazon doesn’t want to pay staff to answer phones; it wants publishers to be self-service. We don’t phone them or...

d2c ebook discoverability readers

It’s Not (Just) about Discoverability

The Five Stops on Your Customer’s Journey In the course of planning and developing a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy, it can be easy to lose sight of how the technical components fit into the broader strategic picture. So let’s zoom out for a moment and return the focus on customers—the people who are (or will...

youngreadersfeature

Young Readers Say No Thanks to Enhanced E-Reading

How do younger readers want to read? If you go by the numbers, so-called digital natives are just about as frumpy as their analog elders. One recent survey shows U.S. readers ages 18–34 almost twice as likely to read a print book as an ebook on any device. And while Pew researchers found ebooks’ popularity...

changefeature

A Vantage Point on a Decade of Change

As of April 20th it will have been ten years since, aged 25, I set up Legend Press from an Internet shop under my shared flat in Stoke Newington. The last decade has been a challenging but unforgettable personal journey, but it has also inadvertently coincided with an industry that has irreversibly changed. When...

children's publishing digital kids apps picture books authors

Picture Book Apps and the Case of the Vanishing Author

Many children’s book authors aren’t huge fans of the so-called “picture book apps” or “story apps” entering the children’s market at ever increasing volumes. One reason why is because they aren’t authoring them. I recently spent a lot of time with children’s authors while completing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults...

richnavfeature

How to Build Rich Navigation in EPUB3

EPUB3 is no longer all that new, but there still seems to be some reluctance among digital publishers to make the final move to a full-fledged EPUB3 workflow. In just the last two months I’ve been asked several times about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of making the switch. And I’ve offered my opinion, unasked,...

SEO publishers websites

This Is Not a Blog Post

It’s an offer for those of you who are publishers or work for one. One of the things I want to do in this column is highlight real-world examples of the direct-to-consumer publishing initiatives whose components I write about each week. If you’ve been reading along, you know one of them is optimization, and...

indie authors self-publishing ebooks Lulu

The Trouble with Indie Math

The self-publishing platform Lulu.com recently published this infographic drawing on data from the latest report based on the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey as well as from the Author Earnings project: Lulu’s intent is to tout the benefits of going indie—and indeed, the service makes a lot of good points, many of...