Hachette Partners With Tapas to Reach Mobile Readers With Bite-Sized Content
On Monday, Hachette Book Group announced a unique partnership with Tapas Media, the creator of the bite-sized reading app Tapas. The Tapas app allows users to access free “episodes” of comics and books in a variety of genres, from fantasy to comedy and horror. Users can unlock the premium episodes of these stories by paying per episode or purchasing the entire book. Hachette will offer new release titles on Tapas like Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters, Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble, by Dan Lyons, and The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
What’s interesting about the partnership is that Hachette hopes to convert mobile readers who may not read ebooks into Hachette customers. In recent years, publishers’ most successful D2C marketing efforts have mobilized avid readers as opposed to non-readers. For example, HarperCollins has had success with its site for voracious YA readers, Epic Reads, which according to SimilarWeb averages about 500,000 monthly visits. Hachette’s partnership with Tapas is one of the more notable efforts from the Big 5 to tap new audiences.
And Hachette seems to be investing more time and effort into converting non-readers. In April, it announced the launch of BookShots, a collection of 150-page thrillers and romance books that are written or curated by James Patterson. The books are geared toward audiences that don’t normally read. They are shorter, faster-paced, and read more like a movie than a novel. And they are priced much lower than a typical novel at $5 to encourage consumers to try them out.
Other publishers have also experimented with shorter and serialized content. For example, Harlequin announced the launch of a serial entitled Tough Justice in January. The goal was to encourage readers to “binge read” in the same way they might binge watch a show on Netflix. Like a Netflix original series, the entire Tough Justice serial is available for consumption.
It will be interested to see how Hachette’s efforts pay off and if it can successfully nurture new audiences rather than convince regular readers to purchase even more books.
The full press release from Hachette is below.
San Francisco, CA, August 1, 2016 - Tapas Media announces the expansion of their relationship with top US publishers through a new deal with Hachette Book Group. Tapas will be releasing several titles by Hachette, which include this summer’s most imaginative thriller, Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, Dan Lyons’ hilarious memoir Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble, and Peter Brown’s heartwarming middle grade novel, The Wild Robot.
Tapas is the first app to market a combination of free comics and paid book titles in the United States. The app seizes on a growing trend of smartphone and tablet reading, with readers being able to sample portions of stories then pay as they read episode-by-episode. Readers will also have the opportunity to purchase the entire book at any time. Tapas Media boasts a varied and growing catalog of books and an extensive comics catalog. The Tapas web platform reaches over one million active users monthly.
In recent years, ebooks have seen a decline in readership as mobile phones and tablets take precedence over dedicated e-readers. The number of people that primarily read on their mobile phones has risen from 9% in 2012 to 14% in 2015; 54% of ebook readers also report regularly reading on their mobile phones.
Adrienne Horsley, Vice President of Content at Tapas Media states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the decision by Hachette to support our growing platform. The addition of these titles to the Tapas library is proof positive of the changing attitudes and landscape for modern and millennial readers.” She continues, “To see such a forward-thinking and proactive move by a major US publisher reinforces our belief at Tapas Media that there is still room for innovation in the publishing world and this is exactly where the Tapas platform comes into play.”
Tina McIntyre, Senior Executive Director of Content Development at Hachette adds “We have been watching closely the trend toward mobile reading rise in the past few years and have been very interested in finding ways to reach that emerging customer. We are happy to be providing our authors a new venue for their books to be discovered via the Tapas platform and are excited to watch as Tapas Media becomes a market leader in mobile reading here in the US.”
Recently, Tapas was featured in the Apple App store in the #1 spot for “New Apps We Love”. That feature quickly helped Tapas become the #10 Top Entertainment App in the US (iOS/Free/In-app purchases).
Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre (a Lagardère company), the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Grand Central Publishing;Perseus Books; Orbit; Hachette Books; Hachette Nashville; and Hachette Audio.
Tapas Media is a next generation media company that offers bite-size content through its online mobile platform
and boasts over 750 million content views to date, from over 1 million readers, primarily in North America. Tapas is based in San Francisco with a satellite office in Seoul, Korea. Founded in 2012 by CEO Chang Kim, formerly a product manager at Google, Tapas is backed by respected investors including Kakao and 500 Startups.
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.