Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’
Digital Book World’s 7×20×21 at the Bowery Poetry Club last Wednesday gave seven industry professionals 21 seconds to show 20 slides. The evening was all about optimism: audience members were rewarded with free books if they shared a reason why their publishing glass was half full. In an industry increasingly overshadowed by doubt, the refreshing presentations featured humor, free drinks, and the occasional basketball metaphor. The festivities, hosted by Ami Greko and the charismatic Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, all boiled down to the following message: make publishing fun again, and we might just be able to save it.
Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, the audience development director at F+W Media and one of the coordinators of the upcoming conference, Digital Book World.
He talked about the upcoming conference, eBooks, eReaders, and the fabled Apple Tablet that many believe will be announced next week.
Gonzalez had a healthy dose of Tablet skepticism. Here’s an excerpt: “The image [Apple] used on the press invitation, it’s kind of a colorful Rorschach blot.
Next week, the two-day Digital Book World conference gets underway in New York City at a moment when – for better or for worse – the digital tide may become a tsunami for the book publishing world. Ahead of the first-time conference, Chris Kenneally spoke with Conference Chair and industry pundit Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company and his DBW colleague Guy LeCharles Gonzalez for a special preview.
Are you ready for Digital Book World?
by Susan Ruszala, Director of Marketing, NetGalley
Since NetGalley’s introduction nearly four years ago, there has been a distinct shift in the tenor and orientation of dialogues about digital galleys—not if, but when; not why, but how.
That’s good news.
Despite this shift, though, one of the major hurdles still ahead is the acceptance of digital galleys by professional readers and publishers.
Note: “Professional reader” signifies anyone who influences purchases by reading and recommending upcoming titles. This certainly includes traditional book reviewers, but also book and enthusiast bloggers, off-the-book page media (print, TV and radio), booksellers, librarians, and professors who request desk copies.
On the face of it, supporting both a print and digital galley process seems redundant. In our conversations with publishers, however, we often hear that print galley quantities are determined more by budget than by need; entire segments, such as the library or bookselling community — both avid recommenders within their own geographic area as well as more broadly online — cannot be served by the number of print galleys available to shrinking budgets. For illustrated titles, the need is even more acute as costs are higher.
Without question, print galleys will rightfully live on, but the digital galley can go further, faster, at less cost, and bulging with supporting materials that would be cost-prohibitive in print. Adopting digital galleys isn’t a one-for-one swap, then; it requires a shift in strategy and tactics. Print budgets will not be eliminated but they will change; and the use of the galley within the publishing house will have to change, too.
One way that change will manifest itself is by stretching the use of the galley across the company. Publishers will succeed when any activity that can result in a galley request—from librarians to trade advertising to traditional reviewers to electronic catalogs to international rights—can be fulfilled with a digital galley. If multiple groups in an organization can use the digital galley, costs are spread across the organization, too.
Digital galleys are not intended as a replacement for the print galley; in many cases digital will supplement and promote print. (Michael Cairns of Personanondata recently blogged about a JISC study which supports this claim.)
Think back to when company websites first became standard practice.
Before there was the corporate website, there was the corporate brochure. Carefully crafted, reflective of its values, glossy, and artistic — and also extraordinarily constrained, expensive to produce, and quickly outdated. Today my safe guess is that there are very few corporate brochures produced solely to deliver information about a company. They are marketing pieces designed to impress; more experiential than informational.
A website, on the other hand, delivers both a visual impression and deep information about a company; it is only limited by how easy it is for visitors to navigate the site.
This is exactly where we are with digital galleys.
The digital galley ostensibly delivers the “same” content to your contacts, but just as visitors to your website navigate your pages according to their specific needs, professional readers will do the same with your digital galleys. The digital galley isn’t limited to what you can afford to print, or are inclined to stuff in your jiffy bag. Off-the-book page media covering the subject of your book can browse and search; broadcast media can access previous author interviews; bookstores can view the author tour schedule; professors can preview a companion teacher’s guide.
Other areas of the publisher’s front office are already making the shift to digital in earnest. Many publishers have introduced digital catalogs to replace the printed tome that once hailed a new season, using solutions like Edelweiss, or by building their own digital catalogs.
Why not include the capability to browse the full-text galley from within that catalog? This is exactly what NetGalley will soon be doing with Edelweiss, as announced a few weeks ago.
The digital galley has a variety of tricks up its sleeve, for sure; but are the readers ready? Some publishers have said to us, “I’ve asked my contacts if they would prefer digital galleys, and they say no.”
So your contacts prefer print galleys. Of course they do! As a publicist charged with pitching a particular book for a particular season, I’d ferociously resist any tactic that might jeopardize an opportunity for coverage. Like the corporate brochure, the print galley represents the traditional and comfortable way to introduce your contacts to new content.
This is why limited experiments for a few titles have limited success. Besides fostering confusion (why can I get this title but not this one?), too small of an experiment won’t support the effort required to convert your contacts to a new concept. The use of digital galleys must be accompanied by internal evangelization and external communication, a responsibility that we at NetGalley share with the publishing community.
User confusion is also cited in the JISC study, and informally on blogs and social networks which note that navigation, user experience, digital rights management and reading devices can all be barriers to adopting digital galleys. Offering your contacts a consistent and user-oriented experience where they can get many titles the same way will only help speed adoption rates. This is true internally, too; the goal is for staff not to focus on the tricky terrain of security and multiple formats, but instead on offering the digital galley as easily as possible.
Savvy publishers are already using digital galleys creatively in their marketing, publicity and sales efforts, a groundswell that is really just beginning. We’re looking forward to sharing ideas with you on this topic at Digital Book World during the session, Digital Tools: How the Sales and Marketing Process is Changing.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
A free webinar, presented by Digital Book World.
“In the social realm, there’s nothing better than true engagement between customers and brands (through the employees that represent them).”
No conversation about publishing’s future and the importance of engaging readers directly is complete if it doesn’t include the perspective of the independent bookseller — our partners, curators and, most importantly, community organizers.
“Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?“, a free webinar from Digital Book World, will address the challenges and opportunities ahead for independent booksellers, and what a digital future means for them.
- Is it possible to compete with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Wal-Mart?
- What effect will publishers selling direct to consumers have?
- Where do POD and ebooks fit in the picture?
- How can social media be used to build a community, online and in-store?
Debbie Stier, SVP/Assoc. Publisher for HarperStudio and Dir. of Digital Marketing for HarperCollins will moderate a lively conversation with out panel of independent booksellers: Stephanie Anderson, WORD (Brooklyn), Patrick Brown, Vromans (Pasadena, CA), and Bridget Warren, Vertigo Books (College Park, MD)
“Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?” will be held on Wednesday, December 9th @ 1 pm EST // 10am PST.