Posts Tagged ‘Business Model’
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?
Via GalleyCat, “Digital Restructuring at HarperCollins; New Group Established“:
In a memo, HarperCollins’ Executive VP of Operations Larry Nevins explained that the Digital Technology Services Group: “is charged with providing strategic technology solutions across HarperCollins and supporting our global digital initiatives. The team will work with Chief Digital Officer Charlie Redmayne to develop new technologies that align with our digital strategy, and will continue to partner with Corporate IT to address the ever-changing digital technology needs of business.”
Among the personnel shifts was the promotion of Carolyn Pittis to senior VP, HarperCollins Digital, global author services.
In addition to being represented among Digital Book World’s speakers, HarperCollins is sending the largest group of attendees of any publisher by far, with Pittis connecting attendance to their long-term goals:
“Our goal is to have the most digitally knowledgeable and globally connected publishing staff in the industry. Digital Book World offers a good overview of the ‘state of play’ for digital reading to start off 2010. Its a great next step in digital engagement for employees of editorial and publicity–those departments who are most often speaking to our agents and authors.”
— Carolyn Pittis, Global Author Services, HarperCollins Publishers
Interestingly, rumors are swirling that HarperCollins met with Apple recently, presumably about their tablet computer expected to be announced on January 27th, which also happens to be the second day of Digital Book World.
There’s only 6 days left to register for what will undoubtedly be the most talked about Conference in 2010.
Don’t be left behind.
by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Director of Audience Development, Digital Book World
The year 2010 will undoubtedly be the year of “e,” but it’s not going to stand for e-book; it will stand for experimentation. Experimentation with contracts, rights, formats and distribution channels; experimentation that will certainly include e-books, and rightfully so, but they won’t be the central focus — for publishers nor readers.
Upon the Kindle’s introduction in 2007, Jeff Bezos famously asked: “The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?”
Three years, and at least five generations of technological evolution later, there is still no e-reader that comes close to duplicating the efficiency or practicality (or affordability) of the printed book, and while e-book sales are growing, they still represent a modest fraction of overall sales, and in many niches are completely irrelevant. Based on the offerings displayed at CES last week, it’s highly unlikely the mainstream tipping point will be forthcoming in the near future.
…read the entire post at Publishing Perspectives.
NOTE: One of the most anticipated sessions at Digital Book World is The eBook Tipping Point: The New Issues It Creates:
A panel featuring Michael Cader, Publishers Lunch; Larry Kirshbaum, Literary Agent; Ken Brooks, Cengage Learning; and Evan Schnittman, Oxford University Press. Moderated by Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company.
eBook sales are still a single-digit percentage of most trade publishers’ sales and only creep into double-digits for some of the new titles coming out. Even so, digital change has already been disruptive, forcing many publishers to rethink their release windows, their sales terms and tactics, and their entire approach to marketing.
One can only imagine what changes the industry will face when the eBook percentage doubles or triples from where it is now, which recent history suggests might occur in a relatively short time period. Library lending could threaten single copy sales, agents might be splitting off eBook rights when they make print deals, and territoriality might be eliminated in the digital book arena.
How will publishers react to all of that?
If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Director of Audience Development, Digital Book World
If you didn’t know any better, you might be inclined to believe that eBooks had already hit the tipping point, representing far more than their estimated “3% of total trade sales”. Even allowing for the possibility that actual eBook sales might be twice as high as reported, the attention they receive can sometimes seem to be a bit disconnected from reality.
At last week’s eBook Summit, Kneerim & Williams’ Steve Wasserman noted: “I suppose we could sum up this entire two-day conference under the headline ‘too early to tell’.” Of course, eBooks are an important part of Digital Book World’s program — we’ll cover everything from optimization to pricing to their effect on contracts, old and new — but as Wasserman suggested, where they will ultimately fit in the overall picture has yet to be determined.
As such, Digital Book World’s focus is on the big picture — transforming the underlying publishing business model to leverage the advantages, and overcome the challenges, offered by digitization, while recognizing that the model is still predominantly driven by print sales.
Our Supporting Sponsor, SBS Worldwide, has been an integral part of the publishing industry’s supply chain for 26 years as the driving force behind freight management. Their chairman, Steve Walker, will speak at Digital Book World on how the digital transition has affected the supply chain and the opportunities it’s created.
In their latest bulletin, they published a fun interview with me about Digital Book World, reprinted here with their permission:
Registrations for January’s Digital Book World conference in New York, organized by New York-based F&W Media, are in line with expectations – and that’s good news for Guy Gonzalez since his business card reads ‘Director, Audience Development, F&W Media’.“We know potential attendees have to justify the expense of attending and the programme our conference chair Mike Shatzkin (of the Idea Logical Company) and his advisory board have come up with is absolutely on point,” says Gonzalez. “Reaction to Digital Book World’s underlying premise of ‘less talk, more action’ has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Gonzalez adds that registrants to date represent a broad range of publishers, from Random House and National Geographic to smaller houses such as romance and ‘new worlds’ publisher Samhain of Macon, Georgia. Gonzalez has a feeling that the talk by Brian Napack of Macmillan on ebooks and piracy “will get some people heated up”, while, as an advocate of publishers moving to “a community-oriented model”, he’s especially looking forward to the presentations by Sourcebooks’ Dominique Raccah and Hay House’s Reid Tracy.
There is much talk about iPod moments in the digital arena these days, but Gonzalez thinks we are not even close yet. “Books are not like music, at least when it comes to fiction. The album was a commercial construct that digitization made irrelevant. The ability to purchase only the singles you wanted couldn’t be controlled by record labels once they were available digitally. No one wants to buy Chapter 15 of The Lost Symbol!
“There’s a huge opportunity to revive short stories and poetry, though. And in non-fiction, especially areas like textbooks, cookbooks, and how-to, the iPod moment is already here. Many publishers, including F+ W Media, slice and dice their content for purchase by chapters or projects.”
There is also much speculation on what the size of the digital market is currently, and how much it will grow. Gonzalez says: “I’ve seen estimates that put eBooks around 2-5% of total sales, roughly similar to that of audiobooks. They certainly have the potential to expand the market and represent a bigger share down the road, especially as awareness has spiked, but I think projecting anything higher than 25% in the next 5 years is being irrationally exuberant. Certain niches, though, will be much higher than that.”
Born and raised in New York City, “although I’ve tried to move away several times”, Gonzalez now lives across the river in New Jersey with his wife and two children. He’s worked in publishing since leaving the army in 1993, chiefly on the magazine side of the industry which explains his enthusiasm for the niche approach and engaging directly with readers. “There are a lot of lessons for book publishers in the current state of the magazine industry, perhaps the most critical being that the closer you are to your readers, the more likely you’ll be to weather the storm of events beyond your control.”
What does he like to do when he’s not immersed in the digital world? “If you ask my wife she’ll say ‘not enough!’ – but I’m a writer too, so the fate of the publishing industry has personal relevance beyond my day job.”
And finally, it has to asked: “Mets or Yankies?” “Sadly, the Mets. I’ve always had a thing for the underdog. Might explain my love for print…”
Considering print still represents 94-97% of total sales, it’s a bit crazy to think of it as the underdog, no?
The publishing industry is notorious for jumping on new trends and milking them dry — making as many bad calls as good ones in the process — but despite the over-the-top hype around eReaders this holiday season, the reality is the digital transition is much more evolution than revoluti0n. Publishers who take the time to develop an integrated and viable long-term digital strategy are far more likely to survive than those who panic and jump on the fledgling bandwagon.
A love for print is neither nostalgic, nor impractical; for most established publishers, it’s the lifeblood that will fuel their transformation, and if done right, could potentially expand the market for books, not cannibalize it.
Digital Book World speakers share eBook strategies and models
Back in September, Macmillan CEO John Sargent reported that pirated versions of 90% of Macmillan’s frontlist titles could be found online, stirring much conversation about what, if anything, the book publishing industry can do about piracy.
Timing of eBook releases, pricing and digital rights management are all topics that will be discussed at Digital Book World. The new conference on publishing and digital change will take place January 26-27, 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York City, and will offer consumer book publishers information and insights to enable them to craft strategies for adapting to, and embracing, digital change.
On the first day of Digital Book World, Brian Napack, President of Macmillan, will deliver a call to arms for publishers to fight what Macmillan sees as a mortal threat: piracy in the eBook space. In Digital Book Piracy: It’s Here. Let’s Deal with It, Napack will describe Macmillan’s view of what each publisher can do and what the industry should do to fight a problem, which, in his company’s view, could threaten the underpinnings of publishing as a commercial enterprise.
“There’s a big difference of opinion among digital thinkers about the impact of piracy and what can be done about it, but there’s not a lot of dispute in the big publishing houses that it is a threat to the core model of selling quality content,” says Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company and Digital Book World’s Conference Chair. “We’re delighted that Brian is willing to address this question head-on.”
“One of the new models being entertained by a number of fledgling enterprises and entrepreneurs is an ‘eBooks first’ strategy,” adds Shatzkin. “We recruited Raelene Gorlinsky to come talk about Ellora’s Cave, because they launched that strategy ten years ago and have been growing ever since.”
Gorlinsky, the Publisher at Ellora’s Cave, has plenty of experience in the eBook world. She will do a Q&A with Shatzkin on the second day of the conference reviewing the history of the “eBook first” company. During Ellora’s Cave: A Case History of a Different Publishing Model, Gorlinsky will describe Ellora’s Cave’s beginnings publishing PDFs for romance readers. She’ll share some of their very unusual practices such as delaying release of print editions to allow plenty of time for selling the eBook first; printing their books in their warehouse on demand; and paying royalty rates on a scale and frequency that would make conventional publishers squirm.
Join your peers at Digital Book World on January 26-27, 2010 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in New York City.