Blogs

How to Kill a New York Times Bestseller

Hundreds of bestsellers are unnoticed by shoppers on retail websites, which costs publishers a lot of book sales. There’s an easy fix.

Lessons for Publishers from the Loss of Family Christian Stores

Last month brought sad news that another national bookstore chain went out of business. This time, Family Christian Stores, the largest U.S. retailer of Christian books and merchandise, closed all of its locations. Executives throughout the industry, both mainstream and religious, hated to see another big brick-and-mortar chain go under. The sting of Borders closing…

How Book Publishers Can Navigate the Death Squeeze

The 2016 publishing sales data shared by Author Earnings at Digital Book World reminded me of all the times I have been the sad-sack tasked with managing the “death squeeze.” I went through it in the consumer photo business, the paper atlas business, and then the CD-ROM mapping software business. Each of these industries relied…

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales, Marketing & Data Intel

Hundreds of bestsellers are unnoticed by shoppers on retail websites, which costs publishers a lot of book sales. There’s an easy fix.

Last month brought sad news that another national bookstore chain went out of business. This time, Family Christian Stores, the largest U.S. retailer of Christian books and merchandise, closed all of its locations. Executives throughout the industry, both mainstream and religious, hated to see another big brick-and-mortar chain go under. The sting of Borders closing…

Selling books to corporate buyers offers independent publishers an enormous – and somewhat untapped -- opportunity for increased book sales. But many book publishers fail to approach this segment because they are unfamiliar with the steps involved in the sales process. Once you understand how the system works, making a successful transition to large, non-returnable…

Business Strategy

The 2016 publishing sales data shared by Author Earnings at Digital Book World reminded me of all the times I have been the sad-sack tasked with managing the “death squeeze.” I went through it in the consumer photo business, the paper atlas business, and then the CD-ROM mapping software business. Each of these industries relied…

A recent trip to a local brick-and-mortar bookstore helped me realize that even the best algorithms and email campaigns can’t replace in-person product discovery. I noticed a book called The Content Trap sitting face-out on the shelf and couldn’t resist picking it up. Great title. Intriguing outline. Normally I’d make a note to grab the…

Every publisher represents a storehouse of interesting content that can be used to attract readers, capture email subscribers, and increase book sales. In past articles, I’ve written about these concepts and reasons why publishers should invest in inexpensive digital marketing tactics. Free content attracts readers who become email subscribers. Those email subscribers can be converted…

Ebooks & Digital Media

I upgraded to the Apple iPhone 7 for Christmas and have already doubled my reading time. And most of that doubling is because my reading is now truly mobile. Let me offer some personal examples. My wife likes to shop. A lot. I do not. While she was shopping at Goodwill last week, I read…

As I’ve said before, the publishing industry needs to get beyond the current “print or digital” mindset and instead explore ways for one to complement the other. Plenty of industry stats show that most readers are comfortable with either format and many prefer the convenience of switching between the two (e.g., reading the news digital…

Creating or aggregating content and actually getting readers to see it are two sides of the same coin. Without both content and a reliable way for people to find it, the motivation to create or house such content becomes less. One feeds the other. So, how do content aggregators and authors find that sweet spot…

Printing & Manufacturing

No, I’m not here to trash paper. I’m here to discuss different usages of paper and the ones that are more likely to become quick trash. The recent Digital Book Printing Conference hosted by Book Business was a very interesting event with plenty of great presentations, facts, and figures. In particular, Marco Boer of IT…

Just a few years ago, there was panic among the education book publishing segment, especially with book printers. Tablets and e-readers were all the rage. Large school districts were distributing iPads and other tablets to students en masse. A 2012 Pearson Foundation survey found that 63 percent of college students and 69 percent of high…

The National Park Service turned 100 on August 25, 2016. Given this historic milestone, it seems appropriate to talk about how publishers can sell books through gift shops at parks and historic sites. Gift shops offer a significant opportunity to publishers, particularly those that create educational content about local history. Millions of consumers visit national…

News

Scholarly publishing is a technology business. That’s been true for some time, of course. Yet the technology-driven approach to business is profoundly and fundamentally different from traditional publishing practices. How can scholarly publishers reconcile that dichotomy? How should a publisher utilize today’s technology in order to drive innovation? Those were the questions recently put to…

Remember the excitement surrounding the launch of Amazon’s Kindle eight years ago? It was a clunky device, even by 2007 standards, but it was revolutionary. One of the original Kindle’s breakthrough features was the ability to download books via cellular network. The e-Ink display and extremely long battery life also led to its popularity despite…

In a trendy coffee shop called Elixr, on a side street off of Philadelphia’s toney Rittenhouse Square, there is funky décor, loud music, strong coffee, and, by the door, a small vending machine. From this machine, for two dollars, one can purchase not cigarettes or candy or any of those other typically unhealthy vending machine wares, but, instead, a short story.