Bookstore Sales are Picking Up…Now to Combat the Decline in Reading
Aligning neatly with Amazon’s rumored mass opening of bookstores, a review of sales figures shows that the bookstore business picked up in 2015. For the first time in eight years, bookstore sales figures rose rather than shrunk. According to the US Census Bureau’s calculations, sales rose from $10.89 billion in 2014 to $11.17 billion in 2015.
The numbers still trail far behind 2007 sales figures, when Barnes and Noble was at its heyday, and bookstore sales reached more than $17 billion. Nonetheless, the figures represent another positive sign that Americans are frequenting bookstores again. Several major publishers announced that their print sales had risen in 2015. Continue reading
LinkedIn’s Relationship with Publishers is Warming Up
After a months-long hiatus, LinkedIn is once again directing traffic to publishers large and small. In a dramatic change, LinkedIn sent a flurry of readers to publishers’ sites in November and December 2015. According to Parse.ly, a digital publishing analysis firm, Linked In referrals to publishers grew from five hundredths of a percent in July 2015 to a quarter of a percent in December.
Although LinkedIn was once a reliable referral source for many publishers, that relationship soured in early 2015 because the social network for professionals had decided to prioritize its own contributor network over outside publishers. In an effort to increase revenues, LinkedIn introduced partner journalism, wherein companies that paid LinkedIn to promote their stories were highlighted, while other publishers’ articles were ignored. The results of this change were immediate: SimpleReach, a distribution measurement company with a one-thousand publisher base, saw referral traffic decline by 30 percent in the first eight months of 2015. Continue reading
Printing Unprintable Books is an Artistic Triumph
The latest innovation in book publishing? Unprintable books. Not because they are too racy or racist to be set in ink, but because publishers are pushing the envelope, experimenting with books that change dynamically on the phone or tablet while being read.
Google Creative Labs has published the initial editions of some of these inherently user-friendly books, in partnership with Visual Editions, a London-based publisher, that has been breaking the book mold since 2010. It published Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, a book comprising cutouts that is more of an artwork than a book, and a new version of Tristam Shandy with startling visual elements. Now, in conjunction with Google, the publisher has entered into a new publishing project to create books that cannot be printed. The project, called Editions at Play, sells its handiwork through Google Play. Continue reading
Is Amazon Opening Bookstores the Sunset of Independent Publishing?
Recent reports have expanded concerns about Amazon’s hegemony over the book business. Publishers and sellers alike are worried that Amazon will completely corner the market, elbowing out or controlling all the other players.
In 2015, when Amazon opened its first brick and mortar store, other booksellers started to fret. This store based its offerings on readers’ top recommendations and allowed customers to order books online after seeing them in person. It also showed off Amazon’s gadgets, such as Kindle Fire. Continue reading
Great Visuals Make Publishers Using Pinterest a Natural
Pinterest, the visual content site, is swiftly becoming a choice venue for publishers to reach audiences. This exponentially popular social-networking site serves as a virtual pin board that allows its users to pin images from other sites and add them to their image boards. Other users then re-pin those images to their own boards, revealing those images to their followers. Each image links back to its original source, so Pinterest can infinitely attract new audiences.
Pinterest’s capacity to drive considerable traffic to a site has been appealing to both news and book publishers. The latest statistics show that 42 percent of all women and 13 percent of all men who regularly use the Internet are Pinterest users. Moreover, a survey by the American Press Institute found that 36 percent of millennials get news from Pinterest. Publishers are taking advantage of the social media site’s attractiveness to engage new audiences. Continue reading
Publishing Email Campaigns Create Reading Customers
Book publishers delved into direct-to-consumer marketing and sales in 2015. This old-fashioned method has been surprisingly effective when adjusted to the digital age.
Engagement through social media, email marketing campaigns, and dedicated readers’ platforms have all been successful at catching readers’ attention. Penguin Random House’s Brightly site, a resource to help parents raise lifelong readers, is an example of a direct-to-consumer effort to promote books. Another example is the website Glommable, which Simon and Schuster launched to attract pop culture fans to related books.
Publishers recognize the importance of creating communities and connecting with customers directly. Traditional bookstores are becoming a rarity, so customers are less and less likely to stumble across new titles on their own. Continue reading
Digital Ads Ensure the Survival of Print Publishing
The publishing industry has a fighting chance to remain relevant and profitable, but only if it keeps pace with technical advances. Partnerships between publishers and tech firms will steer publishing onto a growth curve, according to many experts. By working in harmony with tech companies, publishers can reinvent their businesses and attract a whole new cohort of customers.
The CEO of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, expressed this idea recently, saying, “Tech firms are a huge opportunity for publishers, they provide us with the opportunity to reach even more readers, and the book consumer base is growing by 25 million people a year, and so we need each other, and the relationship between tech firms and publishers should not be confrontational but collaborative.” Continue reading
Optimize Metadata to Improve Ebook Search Results for Your Books
Metadata about ebooks, especially self-published ebooks, are frequently impoverished. Searching for a specific ebook can be unnecessarily difficult because scanty metadata prevent the book from turning up in searches. Often, only a search for the full and correct title can yield the sought-after book while searches for approximately correct titles are unsuccessful.
Poor metadata lead to lost sales. When customers cannot find the book they want, they will either give up entirely or buy a different book.
Improving visibility or discoverability of an ebook relies on a few techniques, including metadata optimization. Optimizing the content of a book for search engines is crucial to expanding readership and increasing sales. Continue reading
Check It Out! Borrowing Ebooks at Your Library is A Great Idea!
Ebooks had a record year at public and school libraries in 2015, according to OverDrive, a company that facilitates ebook borrowing at libraries. In 2015, library patrons borrowed more than 169 million ebooks, representing a 24 percent increase over their ebook borrowing in 2014. Audiobook borrowing grew at an even faster rate, with a 36 percent increase over 2014.
Americans have started to notice that libraries offer much more than print books. Circulation of streaming video grew 83 percent over 2014, and people started checking out newly accessible digital magazines and newspapers. As libraries have expanded their supply of digital products, readers have increasingly taken advantage of their availability. Continue reading