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Where Does Book Publishing Go from Here?

“This is not a zero-sum game and it isn’t simple,” writes Mike Shatzkin. “It’s Rubik’s Cube complicated.” In Shatzkin’s latest deep dive, he analyzes a slew of factors that are propelling the publishing industry into rapid change, including the return to agency pricing, declining ebook sales, the rise of subscription services, and, perhaps biggest...

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How YouTube Can Help Self-Published Authors

New York writer Teymour Shahabi wanted to self-publish his novel. But how would he do so without the necessary push, judgment and intimidation that an editor from a traditional publisher might give him? As Shahabi writes, “Enter YouTube.” Shahabi, an admitted self-publishing novice, turned to the video-sharing platform and spoke into the camera about...

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The Life of an Ebook Developer

“Finding community as an ebook developer is a weird challenge,” writes Laura Brady, as “some of us work in complete isolation in our remote offices.” So where do these people go to commiserate with like-minded folks? To get help and to ask questions? To find that community? “Believe it or not, Twitter.” The social...

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The Ebook Developer in the Corner

Finding community as an ebook developer is a weird challenge. Most small- and medium-sized publishers have only one or two in-house people who do this kind of work (if that), and the in-house web specialist might be around to talk HTML and CSS, but really, that person mostly just laughs at the quirks and...

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Scribd Selects New VP of Strategy

The subscription content platform Scribd announced today that it has hired its first Vice President of Strategy and New Content Verticals, Theresa Horner. Horner comes most recently from Barnes & Noble, where she served as Vice President of Digital Content and worked on the Nook ereader. Before that, she was Senior Director of Operations...

Why the Future Is Freelance

Smart outsourcing, according to John Bond, “helps bring about effective change as and when you need it, and it empowers your internal team.” Bond, the CEO of whitefox, a UK network of publishing freelancers, argues in this DBW post that when it comes to keeping everything in-house, “this particular ship has already sailed. The...

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...

How Analytics Will Change Publishing

“There’s a brave new world in book publishing,” writes Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg, “and it’s being shaped by and around audience insights.” In the inaugural post of his new column for Digital Book World, “Audience+Insight,” Rhomberg details why code is so critical to the publishing industry and merits careful consideration and unpacking. Technology, according...

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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...

How Authors Should Market Themselves Online

A website, according to industry guru Mike Shatzkin, is an “anchor”—”it is the only web presence the author knows s/he will always control.” Yes, authors must have a presence on other sites, including GoodReads, Library Thing, Amazon, Google+ and more traditional social media, but the personal site is the only “real estate an author...

New York to Partner with Amazon on Ebooks

New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) is set to approve a $34.5 million contract with Amazon to create an ebook marketplace for the city’s 1,800 public schools. Amazon will provide the school system with contracted content, such as widely used textbooks, as well as with non-contracted content, largely books and texts that individual...

Can Enhanced Ebooks Make a Comeback?

“Just as the print market has accommodated the ebook,” writes Philip Jones of Futurebook, “so the enhanced ebook might yet carve out a space outside of what may be a robust but largely established e-ink market.” Ebook sales among the big five publishers have increased 5.3 percent in the first six months of 2015,...

Don’t Outsource Your Publishing Business Away

When a task needs to be performed for your business, you have two options: you can either do the job in house or you can outsource it to another party. In the long run, writes Emma Barnes, founder and CEO of Bibliocloud, the better choice is option number one. Not only do you and...

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...

Digital Downloads Fueling Strong Audio Sales

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results of its annual sales survey, and based on data collected, the APA estimates that audiobook sales in 2014 totaled more than $1.47 billion, up 13.5 percent over the previous year. The APA credits industry growth to the increasing popularity of digital downloads as well as the...

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Amazon Doing More for Authors than Publishers Are

“Most of Amazon’s success is due to their own stellar performance: innovating, investing, executing, and having a vision of what could happen as they grew,” writes Mike Shatzkin. Moreover, most of what Amazon has done to boost its business has “benefited most publishers and helped them grow their sales and their profitability.” These two...

Is Peer-to-Peer Content Distribution on the Horizon?

What if you could instantly see a list of the popular ebooks being read around you, and if you were interested in one of them you could pull up a sample directly from someone else’s device onto yours? That’s just one of the questions Joe Wikert asks in his essay that considers the possibilities...

Booktrack Gets Another $5 Million to Add Soundtracks to Books

The New Zealand-based startup Booktrack, which creates soundtracks for e-books that sync with the reader’s pace, raised another $5 million, bringing its total funding to $10 million. Booktrack released its first tracks two years ago, and today has a library of 15,000 tracks available for its 2.5 million users. Book publishers are able to...

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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...

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Steering Discovery with Readers in the Driver’s Seat

By some accounts, the book discovery landscape is much more fragmented and reader-driven than it’s ever been. And by certain measures, it’s also more difficult for authors and publishers. “Millions of books are now published every year,” Goodreads co-founder and CEO Otis Chandler acknowledges. “Mass media, already the preserve of the rarified best-selling book...

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Mobile Putting New Focus on Customer Relationships

There’s reason to believe the major tech companies understand a lesson outside publishing that’s steadily reshaping the rules of the game within it. Google recently took steps to sharpen its e-commerce edge against Amazon among mobile users. Yet few observers believe Google wants to become an e-tailer itself. Rather, the race is for relationships...

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New Combinations for Digital Fiction

With ebook growth flattening out, publishers “can’t afford not to think more creatively about how they acquire new content,” one independent publisher argues. “Genre fiction in particular risks becoming a victim of its own success,” explains Samatha Streger, Director of Publishing at Full Fathom Five. Standing out in an “over-saturated” market is no longer...

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Screwdrivers, Hacksaws and Other Ebook Production Tools

Every ebook developer has a favorite set of tools, but according to one expert in the space, not every ebook developer remembers to ask why they use the ones they do. As Keith Snyder puts it, “On deadline, we choose the devil we know.” But one largely neglected software, in Snyder’s view, is a...

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Digital Disruption: When, Whether, Whence?

Is the worst of the digital transition over? Some expect mostly smooth sailing for publishers in the next few years, while others say more change is coming that few are prepared to weather. Rather than referee that debate, Digital Book World is putting it under the microscope. Our latest issue in the “DBW In...

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The Industry’s Latest Thinking on Disruption and Innovation

With the digital transition slowing down, many publishers may find themselves with more breathing room than they did just a few years ago, when ebooks were growing at a rapid clip. That’s leading some to make important adjustments to core processes, while others are seeking growth opportunities through acquisitions. But for all those who welcome the stability...

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Macmillan Wades Deeper into Subscription Ebooks

What began at Macmillan as a tentative (and even downright reluctant) experiment with subscription ebooks early this year is now steadily expanding. The publisher adds more than 1,000 additional back-list titles apiece to both Scribd and Oyster’s subscription-based catalogs, expansions that roughly double its offerings on the two platforms. A portion of both new batches...

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Macmillan Doubles Ebook Offerings on Scribd and Oyster

In an expansion of the partnerships with the leading subscription ebook platforms it kicked off in January this year, Macmillan doubles its offerings on both Scribd and Oyster, adding roughly 1,000 titles apiece to the two platforms. Both of those contributions cover popular back-list fiction and nonfiction ebooks, which Scribd says includes best-selling titles by Grace Paley, Hilary Mantel, John McPhee and...

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Training to Win as the Publishing Game Changes

Inkling’s Matt MacInnis has had some strong words for publishers lately. He’s argued that their key product—the book—is losing its value to consumers and that, as a result, “the software industry is eating publishing for breakfast.” But by his own account, there’s more to that story. “Every established publisher has pockets of innovation,” MacInnis...

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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...

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Friction as Book Reviews’ Roles Widen

Book reviews’ importance to discovery is arguably growing, and Amazon has taken note, cracking down on fake reviews and launching a platform to surface more relevant reviews to customers over time. Yet the e-tailer’s approach to book reviews is causing friction with some indie authors who say their reviews of other writers’ books are...

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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...