Thomas Nelson's Digital Plan: A Q&A With the Religious Publisher's New Digital Strategy Leader Tod Shuttleworth
We are, however, in an information-gathering stage, so there are not any defined plans in addition to what we are already doing with e-books, etc. It will take time to define the larger plan.
Book Business Extra: Was the decision to consult with outside companies and leaders a foreign way of thinking at Nelson?
Shuttleworth: [No,] this is pretty standard practice at Nelson. We search out the best, do a lot of listening, ask a bunch of questions, engage in internal debate, arrive at a strategy and then execute it, knowing that we will have to make course corrections. My gut says that there will be more course corrections in a world that always seems to be changing … . And, failing is OK. We will experiment with more things on a small scale. ...
Book Business Extra: You noted that the way people are consuming books is changing; therefore, digital strategy must change. How is Thomas Nelson reacting to this societal shift?
Shuttleworth: I am still learning. One observation is that consumers want their information now. Even a drive to the bookstore is sometimes too long to wait. I have a Kindle, for example, and I love to be able to download a book the second I get the impulse to do so.
I suspect the Kindle is an example of how to leverage consumers' evolving habits and needs. Consumers want their information at their fingertips in whatever format they desire the information. ... Our e-book business is growing very quickly, as is audio downloads.
And, today, it's common knowledge that the second-most common form of book awareness is online media, such as online communities [and] anything that has to do with the online world–everything from book widgets to Web sites to blogs. ... Still, the most important is displays in the bookstores. But things like print, television and radio have virtually completely gone away. So, obviously … anything on the marketing side of book publishing now has to have the social media and online component.