Blogs

Making Sense of the Turmoil at HMH

The headlines announcing Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s disappointing third-quarter results were the kind that readers of the business press are used to seeing: “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Sales Declined 7% in Q3 2016,” read one. “Houghton Slashes Expectations Again After Poor Quarter; Stock Falls Sharply,” read another. Was HMH’s stumble just another sign of how hard it…

The Future of Bookstores May Rest on “Guerilla Retailing”

When you look into the rearview mirror of book retailing what do you see? A path littered with failed national chains, including Borders, Hastings, and B. Dalton, along with the rising dominance of Amazon. When you look into the future, what do you see? A path where Barnes & Noble believes smaller concept stores with…

How to Pitch a Book From the Corporate Buyer’s Perspective

Making a large-quantity book sale (5,000 copies or more) to corporate buyers typically entails a formal presentation describing how your content can help the company in some way. You can improve your chances of making the sale with an analogy to the game of baseball. In any one game there may be several different pitchers…

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales, Marketing & Data Intel

When you look into the rearview mirror of book retailing what do you see? A path littered with failed national chains, including Borders, Hastings, and B. Dalton, along with the rising dominance of Amazon. When you look into the future, what do you see? A path where Barnes & Noble believes smaller concept stores with…

Making a large-quantity book sale (5,000 copies or more) to corporate buyers typically entails a formal presentation describing how your content can help the company in some way. You can improve your chances of making the sale with an analogy to the game of baseball. In any one game there may be several different pitchers…

What is the process you follow when you go to a store to buy something? You probably go to the most convenient place (bricks or clicks) and peruse the assortment available. You may search for a particular brand if you are aware of it. If not, you look at the prices to compare the value…

Ebooks & Digital Media

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…

At first I thought it was an SNL parody about ebooks for kids. We’re so addicted to info snacking, seemingly less able (and interested) in focusing on long form reading, so let’s create a new platform that helps foster even shorter attention spans for our kids. Amazon Rapids is nothing more than a series of…

How are you helping consumers find the perfect book for their needs or interests? If you’re like most publishers, you offer a search function on your site. Visitors simply type in a topic and relevant titles from your catalog are displayed. This is pretty similar to how search works on Amazon. In both cases, book…

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…

Business Strategy

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…

Publishers limit their book sales when they see bookstores — bricks and/or clicks — as the only place through which to sell their books. If you want to sell 10,000 books through any retailer, you must get 10,000 people to go there and buy one. But if you want to sell 10,000 books in non-retail…

When an organization that has created open educational resources (OER), informally known as “free stuff,” and sues FedEx, how much should publishers care about the outcome? The answer: a lot. In case you hadn’t heard, a non-profit curriculum provider called Great Minds has filed a federal lawsuit against FedEx. Here’s the background. Great Minds is…

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.