To keep up with the content explosion and consumer demand, publishers need to change their last-century business models. They must be nimble enough to address these trends, instead of tied to a warehouse of inventory generated by outdated, inaccurate forecasting and manufacturing methods.
Once you have a good grasp of who your customer is - or customers are - the next step is to identify which of your products and services (or combinations of products and services) your customers value. The emphasis remains on aligning the benefits you provide with the diverse needs of different customers.
Much of the publishing industry is not in a data-first mindset asserts Tom Davenport in a recent article dubbed "Book Publishing's Big Data Future". Although Davenport criticizes the publishing industry as a big data underachiever, he admits that's in part because publishers have traditionally worked through intermediaries to reach consumers. But that dynamic is changing.
I recently signed up for a similar model from Oyster: $9.95 per month provides unlimited access to Oyster's 100,000+ ebook catalog. I'm sure some of these books are part of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, so why would I pay an additional $9.95/month for Oyster?
One (hyphenated) word: All-you-can-read.
Rob Johnson is the founder and director at Research Consulting Limited and former head of research operations at the University of Nottingham. He will be leading a free webinar Open Access: The Journey So Far with the Copyright Clearance Center reviewing the progress of the OA movement and its future.
Traditional thinking has a powerful undertow. Well-meaning friends, colleagues or even family members may discourage you from "rocking the boat." But in today's rapidly changing marketplace, holding steady really means falling behind. Move, evaluate, adapt, strategize and move again. Act like a professional boxer as you bob and weave, looking for weak points in your adversaries' strategies on which to launch your competitive attack.
As we move forward into the ever-changing digital content world, publishers have to ask themselves what type of subscription model will dominate in the future. Publishers are used to the simple individual model, where a consumer buys access for a single title (e.g., newspaper or magazine).
I love the concept of reselling your digital assets. Bought a bunch of songs you no longer care for? Resell them. Ebooks you've read and have no use for? Resell them. The used CD and bookstore model that works in the physical world will definitely be a vibrant component of the digital content world.
It's the holiday season and present-buying, non-profit donating and general money-spending are in full swing. Likewise, kickstarters and other crowdfunding campaigns are asking for a bit of support this holiday season to publish new books that authors and presses can't release without The People's buy-in.
Crowdfunding is nothing new. With LeanPub, PubSlush, and the recently crowdfunded publishing company Unbound, crowdfunding has officially broken into the publishing world. Even large publishers like Macmillan have created their own platforms in order to gain feedback on possible future releases, like Swoon Reads.
Noted in NPR's Thursday, November 21 report on the National Book Award winners was that "a visibly shocked (James) McBride accepted the fiction prize. Considered the clear underdog, he said he wouldn't have minded if any of the other finalists won because they 'are all fine writers.'"
McBride's novel The Good Lord Bird is about a young slave (delightfully named 'Little Onion') who joins the abolitionist John Brown in his anti-slavery mission.