As a number of small, independent publishing houses struggled to survive over the last year-and-a-half, Nashville, Tenn.-based Turner Publishing, an independent publisher of specialty and trade titles, found itself presented with an opportunity: It could invest in its future by taking the bold step of acquiring other publishers that were seeking help, thereby growing its own assets, or it could play it more fiscally conservatively and stand pat.
For Oceanhouse Media (OM), a publisher of apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, licensing relationships with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Hay House Publishers and Chronicle Books have helped it to become a player in the children's book space. With the company's recent announcement that the children's classic “ Green Eggs and Ham” was now available for purchase at the App Store, Oceanhouse Media reached a milestone: 100 apps published. After just one week of release, the “Green Eggs and Ham” e-book app achieved its own milestone—it reached the No. 1 position on the App Store book charts for both the iPad and the iPhone. Not bad for a company that's only been around for a little over a year-and-a-half.
With the steady increase in e-books sales and the growing demand from consumers for this format, many publishers have had to adjust their business models and production processes to provide their books as e-books. According to May sales figures released this week by the Association of American Publishers and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), e-book sales increased nearly 163 percent for the month, and year-to-date e-book sales increased 207.4 percent over the same period last year.
As they try to evolve along with a dynamic marketplace, many book publishers are experimenting and adapting their business models to try to find new formulas for success. Cave Creek, Ariz.-based Unbridled Books is one of those book publishers, who in March launched a subscription book program. For an annual subscription, subscribers can choose to receive six titles for a cost of $100, or three titles for $60. Subscriber perks include one free Unbridled backlist of your choice, 25-percent off all Unbridled Books for the term of the subscription, and a subscribers-only e-newsletter, which is distributed twice a year.
At the recent Content in Context Conference, held in Washington, D.C. by the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP), "transition" was the buzzword being bandied about. With an agenda geared toward helping educate attendees on how best to evolve their print-focused businesses into multimedia, multiplatform content providers, this year's conference had an air of change to it.
As the book publishing industry continues to shift and evolve, many publishers are seeking to incorporate additional revenue streams into their existing business models. One channel that more and more publishers are experimenting with is product licensing—allowing the use of a brand name, patent or other proprietary right in exchange for a fee or royalty.
While it may not evoke memories of your mom or dad tucking you into bed and reading your favorite bedtime story, Cambridge, Mass.-based Barefoot Books’ latest marketing initiative is a sign of the times in an evolving publishing industry: On March 31, the children's book publisher announced the launch of a weekly podcast series that features free story times from its collection of books. The podcasts offer adults and children the ability to listen to stories at home or on the go.
With last week's 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the continuing coverage of the effects of the Icelandish volcanaic ash cloud, the environment has been front and center in news headlines recently. In the book publishing world, another significant environmental-themed story has emerged: The Book Industry Environmental Council (BIEC) is devising—with plans to launch mid-year—an eco-labeling program for books to identify publishers that are leading the way in reducing environmental impacts.