Editor's Note: Industry Disruption Has a Silver Lining
Over the past few years we’ve reported extensively on two major trends that have reshaped the book publishing landscape: direct-to-consumer marketing and digital book printing. While these topics could not be more different—one is a strategy for audience development and a catalyst for book sales while the other is a method of book production and distribution—they both stem from the emergence of new technologies and evolving consumer expectations in the digital age.
As with all market disruptions, D2C marketing and digital printing spell new opportunities and challenges for book publishers. The web presents endless new ways to build direct relationships with their readers and digital book printing enables publishers to pursue more responsive and economical ways to meet consumer demands. In this issue, Book Business explores the new revenue strategies fueled by direct-to-consumer marketing and digital printing in two feature packages.
A difficult reality of today’s book market is that readers that used to regularly visit their local bookstores are turning to online retail where publishers have less influence. If publishers want to sell books directly to readers, they need to build audiences and form relationships with consumers. Going direct to readers is the mantra of the digital-only publisher Open Road Integrated Media, which kicks off our D2C marketing package. In this Corner Office interview, Open Road’s Mary McAveney and Julie Blattberg discuss their agile marketing strategy, which combines real-time analytics and content marketing.
Brian O’Leary parses D2C strategies even further. O’Leary explains how publishers can develop conversion funnels that attract site visitors, nurture them towards an email sign-up, and drive book purchases. Also in this package, consultants Rob Eagar and Maja Thomas explore how to cultivate loyal online readers and implement free content strategically.
The other half of this issue is dedicated to book printing—a topic that may not seem top-of-mind in this digital age but has nevertheless been disrupted to the same degree as book marketing. New digital printing and POD technologies have shaken up the book supply chain, enabling low-to-no-inventory book distribution and new cost savings as discussed in our cover story.
The book printing package also features the return of our Top 20 Book Manufacturers ranking. The Top 20 ranks the leading printers in the U.S. and Canada by revenue earned from book manufacturing. We believe this ranking is a valuable resource for publishers to identify the leaders in the printing space.
As always, Book Business’s goal is to provide our readers with the insights they need to run their businesses better and navigate change. Change is not easy and is often painful, but we hope that this issue reveals the silver lining of disruption and helps you lay the groundwork for future growth.
How are you navigating changes in the book industry? Tell us your story: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.