But Brian Tart, publisher and president of Penguin Group division Dutton Books, which produces approximately 45 titles per year, predicts that small publishers will not suffer. “We’ve invested money into converting books into digital files, but they’re not unreasonable costs at this point,” he says.
“Eventually we’re all going to get to the point where reading books on readers [like the Kindle] is just going to be the norm,” Tart continues, “and I think most publishers are going to be fine, because we’ll still be presenting the books to the readers, and that’s what matters.”
Schroeder agrees. “Publishers don’t own paper companies or printing presses,” she says. “They don’t care how you read it, as long as you read it.”
Making Authors Accessible
Fostering positive relationships between authors and their readers is becoming an integral part of many adult trade publishers’ marketing strategies.
This strategy has been particularly successful on the Web. Lauren Naefe, online marketing manager for Avon A, a division of HarperCollins geared toward women, is enthusiastic about building an online community with readers. “From coordinating virtual blog tours and events to hosting largescale sweepstakes, we’ve certainly tried a lot online—and we’re continuously testing new ways to reach our demographic on the Web,” she says. “In my experience, the best online campaigns have involved authentic author participation and uniting readers together in communities.”
Avon A also has experimented with community- building via social networking sites Facebook.com and Gather.com. By collaborating with these existing Web sites, Avon has been able to strengthen its reader base through an already-established online infrastructure. The publisher taps into those Web sites’ users by offering original content created around its titles and authors, such as articles and book reviews; organizing author participation, such as in live chats; and providing visitors with a platform to converse and connect around shared interests and passions, notably reading. On Gather.com, for example, Avon sponsors a fiction-readers group, which has nearly 500 members who engage in content and discussion related to Avon books and authors.