Book Business, November/December 2011
In a time of significant flux in the industry, publishing executives are faced with more pressure than ever to examine their businesses and make decisions that will lead them to a profitable future. Book Business checked in with the leaders of publishing companies of various sizes and scopes—from Scholastic to Springer to Merriam-Webster to Triple Crown—to find out what their best business decisions of the year have been.
Business buyers are professional people trying to make rational decisions for the good of their companies. The decision process can be lengthy since they have to justify the large expenditure. But if all goes as planned, you've not only sold a large quantity of books on a non-returnable basis, you have also set the stage for recurring revenue as they place blanket orders or buy other titles that you offer.
Ignoring your digital readership potential is not an option; and treating e-books as an afterthought by offering up a recycled printer's PDF is not a digital strategy. For some types of highly formatted content, a PDF version may be useful, but if that's all you do, you'll be leaving significant distribution and enhancement options (aka revenue) on the table.
Want some sass with that app? You should, if you want to get noticed in the increasingly crowded app marketplace, where your app needs to be clever, engaging and useful to pique a potential user's interest. Book Business toiled away in the app mines and unearthed these gems in which publishers do creative, fun or powerful things with book apps to really hook audiences.
According to Albert Greco of the Institute for Publishing Research (as reported by WSJ.com) sales of print titles will drop from $18 billion in 2008 to $13.9 billion in 2015, not including book clubs, book fairs and catalog mail orders. His projections show that e-book sales should increase to $3.6 billion by 2015 from $78 million in 2008.
10%, 9%: Percent of adults who claim they own, respectively, tablet computers and e-readers, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study. It could mark the first time that tablets have overtaken e-readers.
In an effort to insulate core, legacy print-based operations, digital programs often get siloed—shut off in their own program domains—while traditional editorial and production processes continue undisturbed. While this may seem practical in the short-term, in the long-term it is a costly strategic blunder.
To end the year with a bang, we traditionally publish our annual Business Tips issue, featuring x number of tips on a variety of topics (this year, 65+ tips!). Our columnists, not typically list-makers by nature, graciously cooperate and submit their columns in tips format to go with our theme
Survival experts will tell you that the keys to surviving any life- or limb-threatening situation are always the same:
• Be prepared.
• Don't panic.
• Have a plan.
The freedom and the depth of information that tablet and smartphone technology offers is not disputed. But for publishers and other content creators, the same technology that has simplified the way we capture and share information presents yet another daunting challenge when it comes to content licensing: Adapt or else!