Expert Publishing Blog

Where Innovative Publishers Need to Focus

Will an Open Web Liberate Reading Data?

At last week’s BEA, it was announced that the IDPF, the standards body for ebooks and responsible for the current EPUB specification, is considering merging with the W3C, the standards body for the web at large. This would mean that instead of having its own standards body for digital books, the publishing industry would...

ebooks, publishers, virtual reality, vr, mobile, augmented reality, self-driving cars

Are We There Yet?

Ebook sales for “traditional publishers” seem to have hit a plateau. In the latest quarterly report from Simon & Schuster, for example, digital sales (including digital audio) fell approximately 10 percent, and HarperCollins has reported drop in digital revenue, as well. In some sectors, this has become a cause for celebration: the book is...

e-reader, e-reading, ebooks

A Consumer Feature and Marketing Opportunity on E-Readers

We take it for granted that when we open our favorite ebook app it automatically jumps right to the last book we were reading. And while that’s handy, I’d like to see at least one other option when I open the app. How about a reader-customized landing page? This page should be fully configurable,...

Should Publishers See Themselves as Service Providers?

Should Publishers See Themselves as Service Providers?

Today’s publishers have it pretty rough compared to previous generations: they’ve seen the sequential rise of the Internet and ebook software upend their traditional business models, and in many cases have risen to the challenge admirably. Despite this shift, though, the last thing they want to hear is that more change is coming. Data...

So Who’s Afraid of Reader Analytics?

Reader Analytics Is No Silver Bullet

The title of this post may surprise some readers. Why is the author, who is the founder of reader analytics company Jellybooks, saying that reader analytics is not a silver bullet that solves all the acquisition, discoverability, marketing and sales problems of publishers? Well, Jellybooks is based on the principles of openness, transparency and...

Where Innovative Publishers Need to Focus

Here’s Where Innovative Publishers Need to Focus

There are a number of key attributes successful publishers will be known for in the future, and these core capabilities will be very different from the ones that have led to the modern empires of the Big Five. Some attributes will remain the same, of course. For example, it will always be crucial for...

audiobooks, authors, self-publishing, indie authors, audio

Make Audiobook Creation Your Goal for 2016

Recently, an author commented in a writer’s forum that he was just starting to create audiobooks and felt like he was coming late to the party. I could understand why he’d feel that way. After all, news sites and other authors often discuss the explosive growth in the audiobook market, noting that this industry...

books, ebooks, data, readers, publishers, authors

How to Make Reading Relevant to Today’s Consumer

In a world where users can access entertainment from their mobile devices anytime and anyplace, all forms of media are competing against each other for a resource that is quickly becoming scarce: user attention. Media consumption patterns are increasingly mobile, increasingly digital and often multi-platform. This evolution has created a “multi-tasking” form of consumption, in...

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Should Carry Indie Books

An open letter has been making the rounds the last couple days that pits the self-publishing community against one of the banners of big corporate publishing. Here’s an excerpt from indie author Cambria Herbert’s “An open letter to Barnes and Noble” (Emphasis is hers): This isn’t just an angry letter because I got another form rejection....

Why Is Text-to-Speech Only an Afterthought?

Why Is Text to Speech Only an Afterthought?

I spend a lot of time commuting to and from work in my car, and I try to use the time wisely. I cycle through a playlist of podcasts every week, but I feel like I’m missing out on other types of content. Regardless of your daily commute, I’ll bet you’d feel the same...

A New Service to Help Authors Wrangle Reviews

The Great Amazon Page Count Mystery

How Amazon pays authors for work included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) made headlines across the inter-webs recently. Ann Christy’s post “KU Scammers on KU – What’s Going On” even made it on to the homepage of Hacker News. The discussion raises many interesting questions about what reading data Amazon collects and how Amazon uses...

arcs, advance review copies, books, ebooks, authors, netgalley

Books Cannot Become Mere ‘Content’

I originally wanted to title this article “So What Is a Book Anyway?” as the last few years have seen a shift in what actually constitutes a book. Taking a step back, when we were children we were taught what a book was by being handed, naturally, a physical book. It had a cover...

How Authors Should Advertise on Facebook

Why You Should Consider Advertising to Your Own Fans on Facebook

The chatter about Facebook ads in book marketing circles these days is all about building massive email lists and selling books. And although I am in that corner, I also believe that there are many entry-level advertising opportunities for authors with smaller platforms and budgets to grow their fanbases and email lists without breaking...

ebooks, indexing, production, e-book

Here’s How Indexing Could Evolve with Ebooks

Last month I shared some thoughts about how indexes seem to be a thing of the past, at least when it comes to ebooks. I’ve given more consideration to the topic and would like to offer a possible vision for the future. Long ago I learned the value an exceptional indexer can bring to...

Automated Cleanup for Word Manuscripts

Automated Cleanup for Word Manuscripts

If you have been doing ebook development for any amount of time, you have heard a lot about XML workflows. These conversations, sometimes in hushed tones of trepidation and other times in hopeful anticipation, usually tend to end in the conclusion that an XML workflow is just not possible, is too costly, or does...

We Must Stop Wasting Time in the Attention Economy

Stop Wasting Time in the Attention Economy

For many people, web browsers and phone screens have grown to become the main sources of information. To that end, there’s a constant and massive stream of media arriving on our screens. We live in a cutthroat attention economy. As a result, every product will get more persuasive over time. Facebook must become more...

3 Facebook Marketing Tools Publishers and Authors Must Use

3 Facebook Marketing Tools Publishers and Authors Must Use

With 1.44 billion monthly active users, according to a Pew report and Sprout Social, Facebook is the market leader for social networking sites. That statistic alone makes a compelling case for why publishers and authors should use Facebook to connect with their readership community and promote their books. Yet While Facebook ads are a...

Another Way to Monetize Ebooks

Another Way to Monetize Ebooks

In today’s market there are typically two methods for ebook distribution: free and paid. I’ve said before that one day we’ll see an ad-subsidized model take hold. Purists generally reject that concept, saying they won’t let advertisements interfere with their reading experience. That’s fine. They can pay full price, but I’ll sometimes opt for the...

audiobooks, books, content, iphone

4 Ways Planning Your Audiobook Can Make You a Better Writer

As an audiobook narrator, I encourage every author to get her work into audio. However, regardless of whether you ever want to create audiobooks of your titles, these four tips from other authors about planning your audiobook will make you a better writer. 1. Listen to audiobooks. This first piece of advice surprises many writers....

Foreign Rights and Reader Analytics

Foreign Rights and Reader Analytics

Next week the London Book Fair will take place at Olympia in Kensington. This is one of the preeminent events for trading foreign rights in literary works, and I will therefore take the opportunity to discuss foreign rights as it relates to reader analytics this week. Lets have a look at Germany to explore further:...

facebook, amazon, bookstores, ebooks, e-reading

Facebook: The World’s Largest Bookstore?

A month or so ago, Facebook reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, and let’s just say they crushed the ball. Knocked the cover off. Pointed to the bleachers and then hit it out of the park. The big moneymaker was its burgeoning video ad business. Facebook states that people are watching...

What’s the Missing Ingredient for Unlimited Reading Services?

What’s the Missing Ingredient for Unlimited Reading Services?

I’ve been a fan of unlimited e-reading services for at least a couple years now. When Oyster Books went under I shifted to Kindle Unlimited. For short-form magazine content I use Texture, the offering formerly known as Next Issue. Prices for these services are typically in the $10-15/month range and, for the most part,...

How Are Books Changing Today?

How Are Books Changing?

Working in this industry, I frequently think about the state of reading today. Given that many of us now read more on digital devices than we do with physical books, I find myself wondering how that shift has affected our reading habits. Do we skim more and retain less? Does it matter what type...

Amazon

Why Is Amazon So Weird?

There isn’t a company that more directly affects book publishing than Amazon. The e-commerce giant’s tentacles are firmly wrapped around all publishers, just waiting to tighten when its terms are deemed a speck below satisfactory. And in recent years it has taken a further jab at publishers by being largely responsible for the self-publishing boom...

author, indie author, self-publishing, indie publishing

Why Fiction Authors Benefit from Indie Publishing

Independent publishing has changed the way authors look at the industry, with many questioning whether it’s worthwhile to play the waiting game and pray for the payoff from a traditional publisher, or instead take their fate into their own hands. There are clearly benefits and pitfalls to either choice. What authors need to seriously...

ebooks, sales, publisher

A New Take on Ebook Windowing

Ebook windowing is a technique designed to prevent ebooks from cannibalizing print book sales. The original thinking went something like this: release a new title in print format only, thereby preventing e-cannibalization. The result? Frustrated consumers. If you’re an ebook reader, there’s nothing worse than realizing a digital edition doesn’t exist for that new...

e-reader, ebook, e-reading, tablet, e-ink

No, I Don’t Want a Bigger E-Reader. I Want an Even Smaller One.

There’s been some discussion lately around large-screen e-readers. Michael Kozlowski of Good E-Reader launched an Indiegogo campaign for a larger-than-normal e-reader—13.3 inches—and TeleRead offered a couple different takes (here and here) on the hefty price point Kozlowski is proposing: $699. I should say up front that I don’t use e-readers as often as I’d like...

ebook, ebook design, e-reader, ipad, kindle

Some Tips to Make Your Ebook Look Great

In my previous post, I offered a few ideas on how to make ebooks feel unique by taking advantage of some visual design cues. But I neglected to mention one crucial step: test, test, test your EPUB and MOBI files on multiple devices and apps. A simple example: try using a very light blue...

Should Publishers Rely More on Data or Instinct?

Data Vs. Instinct – The Publisher’s Dilemma

It might as well be time to address the elephant in the room. 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 Author's Three-Step Test for Sellability

The Author’s Three-Step Test for Sellability

When it comes to choosing a social media channel for marketing, how often do we consider the channel’s selling potential? If our marketing goal is to build loyal fans and sell more books, a social media channel’s ability to actually sell books should be at the top of the list. And when it comes...

The Lost Art of Indexes in Ebooks

The Lost Art of Indexes in Ebooks

When was the last time you used an index in an ebook? Maybe the better question is this: Have you ever used an index in an ebook? One of the challenges here is that most ebooks don’t have indexes—the result of the misguided notion that text search is a better solution. Every so often...

How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels to Sell Books

How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels to Sell Books

Confused by all the differing opinions about social media? You’re not alone. There is a whimsical idea gaining ground in the author community that social media is an a la carte menu and that you should just choose a channel you like and stick with it. The truth is, social media is a marketing...