A year ago, I wrote a column examining the problems that occur when publishing organizations place marketing departments in technology silos, without access to digital assets and tools that would otherwise make marketing programs more effective.
Traditional marketing has taken a beating in the distressed economy, but many book publishers are relying on social media efforts to reach new, targeted audiences. While some publishers are unsure about the impact of social networking on book sales—and whether any time or monetary investment is worthwhile—other publishers who are actively engaging in social networking and building online communities around content and authors believe its impact is significant.
For better or worse, Twitter has become part of our culture. While some people still may not see the value in engaging on the online social networking tool, many do. According to ComScore Media Metrix’s October figures, Twitter had more than 20 million unique visitors in the United States in September. Many businesses find Twitter useful for connecting with customers, and publishers are no exception.
I recently became a follower of Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner,” on Twitter. I was shocked to see that he had only 920 followers. Not that 920 is necessarily a small number of followers … but it’s Khaled Hosseini, for heaven’s sake. I started looking for some of my other favorite authors. I couldn’t find Barbara Kingsolver (“The Poisonwood Bible” is one of my all-time favorites) on Twitter, but she did have a Facebook profile with 3,845 fans (now 3,846).
The problems of poetry are many. It can be difficult to discover. It can be difficult to read and interpret. Are you reading it right? Are you interpreting it right? Are you sure?
Vook, which recently introduced a new media product called a "vook" that blends text and video, has announced a partnership with HarperCollins imprint HarperStudio. Earlier this month, the Emeryville, Calif.-based company announced a similar partnership with Simon & Schuster to release four inaugural vooks.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair, LibreDigital presented new data on how readers have sampled book content online over the past 18 months. According to LibreDigital, it has powered more than 500 million page views of sample book chapters and content for publishers, authors, retailers and social-networking sites.
As an author of Internet-marketing books and the former Web editor for Chelsea Green Publishing, Jesse S. McDougall knows a bit about using the Internet—and specifically, social media marketing—to sell books.
Penguin Group USA has rolled out the second season of "From the Publisher's Office", its own online network featuring new programming across three multimedia channels: "The Screening Room," "The Radio Room" and "The Reading Room." In its inaugural season, "From the Publisher's Office" logged more than 100,000 page views in three months.
It used to be straightforward. A publisher sent out a catalog of new releases, promoting certain titles to bookstores. Marketing proceeded through fixed channels and seasonal rituals, and, year after year, everyone knew their place in the dance. Not so anymore.
Elsevier offers gift cards for positive reviews.
"We’ve almost become accustomed to an uninterrupted flow of bad news,” said Michael Healy, executive director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) at the organization’s sixth-annual Making Information Pay event, held May 7 at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City. Falling sales, shrinking margins, closing bookstores and job losses are among the negatives facing the industry, noted Healy.
Matthew Baldacci has been marketing books for 17 years. Currently St. Martin’s Press’ vice president of marketing and publishing operations, he has seen a number of marketing strategies come and go, and is constantly on the lookout for innovative and creative ways to market the company’s some 700 titles a year. He and his team may be on to something with its relatively new “try before you buy” model.
Book publishers are up against tough competition for readers’ attention, and nowhere is this more evident than in a Google search. On a search results page, we not only compete against other book titles and authors, but we also compete with our own distribution channels, free Web content, video, news and even Google’s own scanned copies of our books. If you find yourself frustrated that you don’t rank in Google as high as you think you should, you’re not alone. So what’s a book publisher to do?
It is a challenging time to be a publisher, to be sure. David Hetherington, a 25-year book publishing veteran, describes the current climate as a “perfect storm, as various forces converge to create what may prove to be a truly unique ‘weather system’ for the book publishing industry.” He believes that the combination of the credit crisis and an economy in recession, coupled with a skittish consumer mentality, rising oil prices and the fluctuating dollar, will have a different impact on each major industry sector. “The question will be one of degree. Which sector,” he questions, “will have the toughest time, and how will they respond to the challenges?”
The Internet has changed the way that publishing companies market books, providing a myriad of new opportunities. But marketers shouldn’t forget lower-tech methods of getting the word out. Here, some experts explain how they promote their books using both the latest and the more traditional methods.
An important characteristic of digital content is its ability to deliver to multiple platforms simultaneously—to print, Web and mobile channels. Invariably, the same content will look different when viewed on various output devices, and it should. Each device has its own display characteristics, and the design of the presentation should be optimized for that device. I can hear the groans from publishers already. Reach for the ibuprofen now, because it gets worse: Content also varies within the same delivery medium. For example, content may be syndicated on the Web to multiple delivery partners, whose respective delivery models require alterations to the design. Even large-print
A “slow, but steady decline” is how Rhonda Herman, executive vice president at reference publisher McFarland & Co. Inc., characterizes the market for reference books. “We are cautious about sales and will feel lucky if sales remain flat.” The reality of an economic downturn is starting to sink in—McFarland’s volume is flat, Herman says, “but actual income is down 2 percent. The reason for this is that we are experiencing higher than normal overstock returns, which is not surprising in this market.” Both direct and indirect costs are hitting the bottom line at the Jefferson, N.C.-based publisher. Higher fuel costs are forcing up the
The Web is an ever-changing animal. Keeping that in mind, the most successful online marketing executives must think in the future tense: coming up with inventive, original ideas to help publishers stay ahead of the game. Jeff Yamaguchi, associate director of online marketing for Random House Inc. division The Doubleday Publishing Group, is one such innovator, and he fills us in on a little secret—that the future tense is not enough. In June, Yamaguchi launched Doubleday’s newly revamped Web site, which uses a WordPress platform to simulate the look and usability of a blog while maintaining Doubleday’s integrity and standards as a