HarperCollins, Goodreads & PRH on How the Book Discoverability Game Has Changed
Market to the Non-readers
Peter McCarthy, co-founder of consultancy firm Logical Marketing, argued that marketing efforts must include those high-funnel potential readers. "Hard core readers are a narrow casting that publishers are pretty good at reaching at this point. It's the other people out there who are just living their lives, not looking for their next book to read that publishers need to reach." One thing to consider in this pursuit of the non-reader or occasional reader, added McCarthy, is what people do when they aren't reading. Are they avid travelers, politicians, entrepreneurs? There are books out there that can provide value to these folks.
And What About Free?
Often advocated by services like BitLit, giving away ebooks for free does not always sit well with book publishers. Panelists were asked what they thought about the practice, and overwhelmingly they cautioned to go into a free ebook promotion with a specific goal in mind. Amanda Close, SVP and director of marketing and development & operations group at Penguin Random House said "Free doesn't take you very far unless you are doing some sort of engagement program." At PRH, Close will offer free titles and early access to certain users in order to get book reviews. The reviews will live on book description pages on Goodreads or Amazon. And regardless of whether they are positive or negative reviews, they actually boost conversion, said Close.
Ultimately, the panel hit home for me a truth we've discussed here quite a bit on Book Business -- reader data is crucial for solving problems of discoverability. Publishers can collect that data in a number of ways but by far the most effective is creating a direct channel to interact with the reader, ie. through a newsletter, website, social platform, or ecommerce shop. HarperCollins has experimented with a number of new platforms, from its ebook discount newsletter Bookperk to specialized ecommerce sites. And Tribelli actually spoke with Book Business about those initiatives in our Data Issue last winter. It's a worthwhile read and I believe offers a glimpse into the future of book marketing and provides a number of solutions for the digital discoverability problem.