direct to consumer

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...

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Why the Amazon Question Is Also a Mobile One

Not long after upgrading its search algorithm to give pride of place to mobile-optimized sites, Google develops a plan to add ‘buy’ buttons to certain search results appearing on mobile devices. The move is reportedly aimed at stemming the tide of shoppers who get irritated trying to make purchases through retailers’...

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...

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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...

BookNetCanada ebook publishers direct-to-consumer sales

More Publishers Selling Ebooks Direct

For the first time, the majority of Canadian publishers now sell ebooks directly to readers, a new study by BookNet Canada finds. 66% of the publishers surveyed have direct sales programs in place, a figure that’s shot up from 42% in 2013. Publishing ebooks is now the norm, with most publishers...

BookNetCanada ebook publishers direct-to-consumer sales

Most Canadian Publishers Now Selling Ebooks Direct

66% of Canadian publishers are now selling ebooks directly to consumers, according to a new survey by BookNet Canada. That share rose 24% since 2013, when 42% of Canadian publishers reported offering direct sales. Ebook retailers remain the primary distribution channels for most publishers, BookNet Canada finds, but the sharp growth in direct-to-consumer sales methods...

Booktrack enhanced ebooks

Booktrack Adds Retailing and Embedding Functions

The ebook soundtracking start-up Booktrack yesterday introduced monetization and embedding functionality to its platform. The move turns Booktrack into a retailer for what it considers to be “a new ebook genre,” according to the company’s Co-founder and CEO Paul Cameron: the ebook enhanced with immersive audio. Booktrack’s soundtrack-generating tools remains free to use and thousands of...

Penguin Random House direct-to-consumer ebook publisher

Penguin Random House Launches Discovery-Focused Website

It was said back in January that 2015 would be the year of the customer, with publishers thinking afresh about how to build direct relationships with readers. And sure enough, Penguin Random House today launches a new website that greatly expands its consumer-facing marketing and discovery efforts. As CEO Markus Dohle put...

Penguin Random House Brings Ebooks to Acela Passengers

Penguin Random House adds free samples of some of its best-selling ebooks to the digital content platform Amtrak is launching for Acela Express passengers. Similar to a partnership HarperCollins reached with JetBlue in November 2014, the Penguin Random House program allows passengers who like the excerpts they read to purchase the complete title. The offering also includes Penguin...

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What Publishers Pay to Change Strategy

Adjusting to the digital market means continuously recalibrating investments to support strategic goals and the organizational resources for pursuing them. Bibliocloud founder Emma Barnes sees those costs as amounting to a “strategy tax” publishers and booksellers shoulder in order to compete. But more than just the “toll a business must pay in order...

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...

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Closing the Gaps in Readers’ Sales Journeys

Few publishers have marketing programs in place at every stage of a reader’s path toward making a book purchase. That’s partly because most publishers are still figuring out how to build meaningful relationships directly with their readers. But as marketing expert Murray Izenwasser and others have recently argued, a great discoverability...

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...

children's publishing digital kids apps picture books authors

Few Children’s Authors Writing for Apps

“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,” an expert in digital children’s content observes. “One reason why is because they aren’t authoring them.” According to Sandy McDowell, who studies the growing market for picture...

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...

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Google Pushing Publishers to Go Mobile

If many publishers have yet to catch up with where their readers are, Google plans to pressure them to. A few weeks ago, Google made a rare announcement of a change set to weight mobile-responsive websites more favorably in searches. “It’s a push to make mobile responsiveness the new normal for...

Google publishers direct-to-consumer search SEO

Publishers Getting Left Behind on Mobile

Did you feel it? Did you feel the change? If you’re in the publishing world there’s a chance you didn’t. One reason for that could be you’ve been existing on the industry’s shifting sands for a while now. Maybe you’ve grown so used to change that it doesn’t even phase you...

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Android, Apple and Mobile Ebooks: A Roundtable

After Apple released its most recent financial results earlier this month, several online outlets jumped to publish headlines like this one on TechCrunch: “Apple’s iPhone Overtakes Android in U.S. Sales for the First Time Since 2012.” That headline was rather breathless by comparison with the report the article draws on, which...

direct-to-consumer ebook publishers

The Business Case for Publishers Going Direct

Many publishers agree direct-to-consumer strategies are critical for building a brand identity and connecting with customers in novel ways. In other words, the marketing case for going direct is pretty widely understood. But fewer publishers are as convinced they can establish revenue streams on their own that are substantial enough to...

direct-to-consumer ebook publishers

To Go Direct, Publishers Must Mean Business

The arithmetic of publishing is fairly straightforward: Sell plenty of books at as high a margin as you can manage, and don’t spend all that margin on overheads. To make that sum work, there are a number of levers a business can pull in order to improve its fortunes. You can...

SEO book publishers ebooks direct-to-consumer

The Two Sides of SEO for Book Publishers

Here’s a scenario: A reader hears about a book you publish from someone they trust. They decide they want to buy it and read it. So how do they find it? It’s possible they go directly to their favorite bookseller (let’s assume this is all happening online), find it there and...

readers customers direct-to-consumer publishers

How to Know Your Readers Better

First, head down to your local grocer. Small neighborhood shops tend to intuit something about cultivating customer relationships that other businesses, including many publishers, often miss. To be fair, it’s only quite recently that that’s begun to change. As digital marketing expert Murray Izenwasser recently pointed out, most publishers experimenting with...

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When Low Ebook Prices Aren’t Enough

As the economics of digital bookselling evolve, bargain prices don’t always pack the punch they once did in terms of driving sales. That’s partly a function of the sheer volume of titles being pumped into the market, but major publishers’ willingness to experiment with price promotions is also influencing readers’ buying...

direct-to-consumer retail ebook publishing

Three Steps to Direct-to-Consumer Publishing

Many publishers tend to think of direct-to-consumer publishing as being about either e-commerce or marketing. In fact, it’s about both ingredients–plus one more. Earlier this week Biztegra co-founder Murray Izenwasser argued that establishing a direct-to-consumer strategy is achievable for every publisher regardless of its size and that doing so is more important than...

Three Direct-to-Consumer Steps Every Publisher Can Take

In my last post, I made the argument that not only should all publishers establish robust direct-to-consumer (D2C) programs regardless of their size, but that small and mid-size presses are in some ways better positioned to do so than large trade publishers. In this post I’ll break down the components of...

Why All Publishers Can and Should Go Direct-to-Consumer

Many publishers think direct-to-consumer (D2C) programs are difficult to implement, expensive to operate and generate heaps of extra work that their bottom lines can never justify, leaving those initiatives the exclusive territory of only the biggest players in the industry. But all publishers can and should be developing D2C strategies, including—and...

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Gumroad Takes Ebooks to Android Users

The e-commerce platform that recently helped Hachette sell ebooks on Twitter launches a mobile app for Android. Gumroad says its December pilot program with Hachette was a success, in one case allowing author and musician Amanda Palmer to sell 100 copies of her book within twenty minutes of tweeting a ‘buy’...

Gumroad Takes Direct Sales Platform to Android

E-commerce platform Gumroad launches an Android mobile app today, as it promised to do four months ago after rolling out an iOS app. As with that version, the new Android app allows users to build custom libraries of digital content sold by partnering content creators over an array of social media channels and websites. Extending the same offering...