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What Does the Future Hold for Small-Batch Publishing?
November 2, 2017 at 8:55 am

One of the great backlashes in our era of conglomerates is the steady growth of small-batch businesses. These are very small businesses that cater mostly to customers willing to spend more for a seemingly better and more controlled product offering. There are many happy consumers who will buy a four-pack of local brew for $16,…

STM Publishers Beware: The Hunt Is on for Plagiarized Images
August 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Plagiarism in the scientific community is not new, but has become a recurring theme in the past few years due to a few scandals both in STM journals and in publications that are more general. Why now? I can offer a few explanations. For one, there is greater pressure in the academic community to publish…

Alas, Why? - The Problem With Big Publishing Rejection Letters
May 4, 2017 at 9:06 am

One would think well-educated, literate people, such as those who are attracted to and working in book publishing, would be able to write a rejection letter without using the dreaded “alas” word. But it’s always there, in letters written by veterans and rookies alike. I’d like to suggest we break the pattern and either use…

How to Kill a New York Times Bestseller
April 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

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
March 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

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
March 1, 2017 at 5:34 pm

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…

Benefits of Mobile Reading on the iPhone 7
February 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm

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…

Another Way Digital Could Complement Print Books: Print-to-Digital Highlights
January 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm

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…

3 Steps to Selling Large Book Deals to Corporate Buyers
December 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm

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…

“The Content Trap” Is a Must-Read Book for Publishers
December 12, 2016 at 9:41 am

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…

Making Sense of the Turmoil at HMH
December 7, 2016 at 2:05 pm

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”
December 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm

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
December 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

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…

If You Build Better Metadata, Readers Will Come
November 29, 2016 at 10:26 am

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…

Trashing Paper: Why We Should Consider Time Spent With Print
November 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

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…

3 Marketing Success Stories from the Publishing Trenches
November 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

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…

Amazon Rapids And the Dumbing-Down of Reading
November 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

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…

12 Ways to Find Potential Buyers for Non-Bookstore Sales
November 4, 2016 at 1:13 pm

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…

Taking Book Search and Discovery to the Next Level
October 17, 2016 at 9:03 am

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…