Expert Publishing Blog

The Future Is Freelance

Here’s a good game to play in an idle moment. Imagine you are starting a new publishing company, with your own money, from scratch today. Whom would you choose to employ on fixed-term contracts, and which external services would you hire in? Focuses the mind, doesn’t it? In response to Emma Barnes’s well-intentioned post...

What Code Is Revealing About Readers

There’s a brave new world in book publishing, and it’s being shaped by and around audience insights. Not only are publishers becoming more adept at using data to work smarter, but code and algorithms are also getting better at gathering information and executing tasks without the help of humans. At Jellybooks, we recently developed...

Don’t Outsource Your Publishing Business Away

In the debate over whether to rely on outsourcing or develop skills in-house, I come down firmly on the side of learning skills yourself. A major reason for this is personal satisfaction: competence and capability make you feel good about yourself. And by extension, a happy, motivated workforce makes for better publishing. Another motivation...

Tightrope-Walker

The Benefits of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Publishers

Imagine the pressure of trying to walk on a tightrope. It’s scary enough just attempting to keep your balance. But, what if maintaining your balance isn’t your biggest worry? What if you’re afraid that the tightrope itself might break? This anxiety represents how many of my publisher clients can feel in today’s economy. Not...

Matt MacInnis Inkling book publishing digital publishers innovation

How to Win at Publishing

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first two posts in this three-part series, I discussed changing customer expectations then turned to examine the corporate culture challenges many publishers face. In this third and final post, I’ll explore the strategies that...

authorsreviews

Do Amazon’s Book Review Policies Meet Authors’ Needs?

A self-published author says a review she posted on Amazon for a fellow writer’s book was removed because, according to the e-tailer, she knows the author personally. The author, Imy Santiago, has challenged that assertion with Amazon’s customer review moderators, which she says Amazon told her it determined based on her “account activity.” Reviewing...

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Fonts and Nonsense: What Bookerly and Literata Get Wrong

There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about two recent typographic improvements to major e-reading environments, Kindle’s new Bookerly typeface and the Literata font for Google Play Books. Commentators have tossed around celebratory remarks like, “the Kindle finally gets typography that doesn’t suck” and “e-readers rejoice!” But many of us in the cheap seats—that is to...

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...