The Best Book Business Stories from 2015
One of the most exciting aspects of writing about book publishing for a living is the vast amount of change that is happening in the industry today. Each year the pace of change increases as new technologies and revenue strategies emerge around digital content, mobile apps, and even printing and distribution. As I reflect over the past year in book publishing, I’m drawn to the stories that document these transformations and call upon book publishers to evolve how they do business. Although much of Book Business's coverage is focused on new strategy and trends in publishing, there are several stories each year that call for more radical transformation. In 2015, Book Business spoke to executives who are pushing the boundaries of publishing by developing massive repositories of data to inform product development, investing in nascent geolocation technology, and mastering single-source, multi-platform ebook production.
Following are some of my favorite stories from 2015, which document one of the most transformative years in book publishing yet. What were your favorite stories from the past year?
- Audio: Can Publishers Adopt a Zero Inventory, Print-on-Demand Publishing Model? - Although some may dismiss print as an old technology, the innovations in the digital book printing market are impressive. Printers boast that through digital printing and print-on-demand technology, publishers don’t need to carry book inventory, which would lead to significant cost savings. In this article, publishers debate the truth of that claim. Some have already implemented a zero inventory model while others face significant barriers to adoption.
- Why Social Media Should Become Publishers’ New Testing Ground - An interesting trend emerged this year in book marketing. Authors began posting installments of their books on social media, gaining media attention and devoted fans in the process. This post suggests that social media should become a testing ground for publishers’ newest authors.
- Publishers & Authors Must Unite Marketing Efforts - In this essay, Matthew Baldacci notes a sobering development in the industry in which authors market their works more effectively than their publishers. In order to maintain their value to authors, Baldacci urges publishers to find new ways to integrate their marketing efforts with that of their authors.
- How Geolocation & Beacons Will Help Book Publishers Go Mobile - Beacons, devices that can send alerts to mobile phones based on the phone’s location, will become a crucial book marketing tool in the near future, writes Ron Tomich, co-founder of Yabeam. In this article, Tomich shares how publishers can use beacon technology to engage consumers at the right time and place in order to drive a book purchase.
- 3 Content Pricing Models From the Future - Book Business blogger Joe Wikert looks ahead to 2020 and shares three ways that publishers will be selling content in the future.
- Querium Tackles the Mobile Problem in Digital Education - Winner of the 2015 BookExpo America Startup Challenge, Querium enhances digital textbooks through its adaptive learning technology that guides students step-by-step through math and science problems. Querium co-founder, president, and CEO Kent. A Fuka says that the technology has finally cracked the mobile nut for education publishers.
- How Book Publishers Are Transforming From Within - In this feature, digital innovators from McGraw-Hill Education, Hachette, and Pearson discuss how they are repositioning their companies for the future. Through new partnerships, acquisitions, and management strategies, these executives share how their companies intend to thrive in the New Era of Book Publishing.
- The Future of Ebook Production Is Single-Sourced - Bob Glushko, adjunct professor at University of California Berkeley, Graduate School of Information Management & Systems, explains how single-source production can bring efficiency and customization to ebook creation.
- Harnessing The “Closed Loop” Power of Mobile Technologies - Matthew Gartland, head of content at mobile publishing platform Snippet, argues that publishers can gain readers’ attention on mobile by creating a “closed loop” experience. In a closed loop experience, readers can engage and reengage with the story through community discussions, additional, interactive content, and even games. Gartland writes that this type of multi-level, integrated storytelling is the future of mobile publishing.
- The Book Industry’s Quest for Data Intelligence - Data was a hot topic in 2015 as publishers began to leverage new technologies to learn more about consumers and how they read books. In this article, leading publishers from HarperCollins, Hachette, and Cengage Learning discuss how they are using consumer databases, social listening tools, and research programs to better understand and serve their end-users.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.