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…

“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…

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…

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…

In This Case, Publishers Should Root for the OER Guys
October 11, 2016 at 9:36 am

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…

It's a Small World After All: How Book Publishers & Authors Can Protect Their Rights Abroad
August 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Marshall McLuhan, the famous social scientist, told us more than 50 years ago that newer and more powerful means of communication have turned the world into a "global village," something that brings people together at one level, but at another level, complicates social relationships. A bigger, worldwide, audience increases the number of people who might…

What the Big 5's Financial Reports Reveal About the State of Traditional Book Publishing
August 5, 2016 at 2:47 pm

This post examines the latest quarterly financial reports from the big 5 book publishers and tries to draw some conclusions from the data. The big 5 are, of course, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. These companies are often seen as emblematic of the state of traditional trade book publishing in…

Making the Case for Hybrid Publishing
June 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

My first career job out of college was working for a husband- and wife-owned press in Berkeley, California. Though both Berkeley and that press had a bit of a radical past, I wouldn’t realize until years later that the business dealings I was exposed to at that press would end up challenging people’s notions of…

How to Sell Books That Are Good Enough to Steal
May 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm

How do you know if what you’ve created is worthwhile? In my experience, it has to pass the “good enough to steal test.” Business owners, authors, artists, and musicians don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. The fact is the majority of goods and services produced do not actually meet this benchmark of success.…

Here’s Where Innovative Publishers Need to Focus
May 9, 2016 at 8:25 am

There are a number of key attributes successful publishers will be known for in the future. These core capabilities will be very different from the ones that have led to the modern empires of the Big Five. Some attributes will remain the same, of course. For example, it will always be crucial for publishers to…