What Craft Beer & Books Have in Common
There are several leaders in publishing that have recognized this. At Avalon Travel, Bill Newlin has helped Rick Steves connect with his mobile fans by delivering high-quality ebooks for his popular Rick Steves' Europe guidebooks. This is a great example of having a conversation and selling directly to readers. At New Harbinger Publications, they have made it easy for readers to buy both print and DRM-free ebooks on their site, where they set the tone of the conversation.
Overall, however, publishing companies in large numbers have not adopted the strategy of appealing directly to the readers that share a passion for their craft. I think that will change.
Fran Toolan, the founder of Firebrand, has observed over the past year that publishing has entered a relative period of calm following massive disruption. He is quick to point out, however, that we can expect new waves of disruption to roll into our business in the coming years, and I expect these new forces will open up more opportunities for publishers to connect directly with readers. The balance of power will inevitably shift.
For some categories, ebooks are an ideal way to sell direct to readers and open a channel for conversation. I expect that several smaller disruptions will combine to allow this to happen. I expect new forms of DRM to take hold that do not restrict users from moving the content they have purchased between devices or include barriers to reading, such as separate authentications. I expect mobile devices from phones to phablets to tablets, to continue to gain market share over proprietary platforms that restrict content to a single retailer. Advances and adoption of ebook formats like EPUB 3 will open new opportunities for publishers and authors.
Print-on-demand creates new opportunities for us to deliver printed books as well, especially as machines that can produce one-at-a-time, beautiful books evolve.
Related story: The 2015 Book Business Buyer’s Guide