Book Business, January/February 2012
One of the obvious advantages of Web marketing over the traditional kind (print, TV, radio, etc.) is that nearly everything anyone does online is trackable and measurable. Each post on Facebook, each tweet fired off at the end of the day, every newsletter sent, and even every inch scrolled down a Web page can be parsed, segmented and measured.
Finishing elements add cost, but they also add value. As print fights for its place in a digital world, we must find ways to make print more interesting and attractive. Print has a tactile advantage over books on screens: Print moves you without moving. Here are nine techniques for help enhance the "curb appeal" (to borrow a real-estate term) of your printed product.
New apps from Scholastic Media, Irwin Law and Springer.
1 in 5: The estimated number of illegal book downloads in 2011. With the surge of the e-book industry comes a nefarious side effect: piracy. Illegal downloads have doubled in the past year, despite publishers' attempts to combat the trend.
+29,029 ft.: If all the copies of "Steve Jobs," Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Apple CEO, were stacked, the pile would be taller than Mt. Everest.
As the e‑book market evolves, so do publishers' internal processes for producing them. Book Business asked Baker Publishing, Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. and Hacket Publishing Co. to pull back the curtain on how they handle e‑book workflows, from editorial and design through conversion, formatting, proofreading and distribution. The answers are varied, but all demonstrate an ability to make the best use of existing internal talent while strategically investing in additional or outside resources to create e‑books expertly and efficiently.
In January, the Green Press Initiative (GPI)—a nonprofit that works with the book and newspaper publishing industries to conserve natural resources, announced its long-awaited Environmentally Responsible Publisher Certification (ERPC). Not unlike the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification for buildings, the GPI's program offers publishers tiers—bronze, silver and gold—for environmental achievement.
The year 2011 may well go down as the annum of the e-reader. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony and Kobo went all-in for holidays to get their e-readers, tablets and apps into as many hands, purses and briefcases as possible. In 2012, we'll see the results of that push, as publishers anticipate the next step in the digital evolution. Book Business interviewed executives across a wide swath of the industry, from giant trade publishers to university presses, educational outfits and upstart indies. We found that while digital is on the march, print is far from dead, and the next bold move in the industry may be maximizing the synergies between the two.
It is ironic. As we enter 2012, a year that is by all accounts setting up to be "The Year of the Tablet!" we are likely to see the dimming of the preeminence of the iPad, the device that created the category in the first place.
We tend to forget that many jaded pundits scoffed at the launch of the iPad: "How can an iPhone that does not make calls, and is too big to fit in one's pocket, be interesting to any customer, particularly if said customer already has an iPhone and a laptop?"
Over the last few months, book publishing has been awash in a tsunami of e-book, e-reader, app and tablet-related news. There are two reasons for this deluge. One is that the consumer media views the rise of the e-book as a perfect storm, the convergence of shiny new thing (gadgets!) and massive cultural paradigm shift ("PRINT IS DEAD!" they shout). The other reason is that, well, there is a gadget- and e-book-related sea change afoot. A little tremor in the cold, digital depths of the publishing ocean has manifested on shore as an e-book tidal wave.
It's been a wild ride in publishing these past five years. The rise of e‑books and e‑audio, changing business models and the role of social media in marketing are just a few things we've taken in stride. Those on the inside of this $1 billion industry know audio is no doubt headed for further evolution, and we must keep tabs on our consumers to know how to best serve their needs and reflect their behaviors.