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Posts Tagged ‘book consumers’

With all the focus on shiny (or, to be more accurate – black and white) devices this week, it’s easy to be distracted from the bigger picture goals for publishers: such as getting to know readers and what they really think about e-reading. In our small attempt to retrain the focus on what really matters, today’s #FollowReader will be all about – the reader! We have the great fortune to be joined by Kelly Gallagher of Bowker (@DiscoverBowker) who will preview some of the latest findings from the Book Industry Study Group’s ongoing consumer study, Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading and offer some insight about what’s going on beyond the hype of press releases and talk shows.

So, join us today at 4pm EDT for some fascinating conversation about book consumers’ actual interests in and preferences for digital content, and the factors that influence reading habits and purchasing decisions.

Kelly Gallagher of Bowker

About Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher is the Vice President of Publishing Services at RR Bowker. In this role he manages the implementation of a host of Bowker business intelligence and supply chain products including exclusive sales data reporting tools and EDI ordering for the Canadian, Higher Education, and US Christian markets. This business unit also manages a consumer research panel surveying over 36,000 consumers on media behaviors and purchase trends. Prior to joining Bowker, Kelly served as the Vice President of Business Development at the Christian Publishers Association for six years. In this role he managed the development and implementation of industry initiatives including research, technology and supply chain management. Kelly also serves the book publishing industry as the Research Chair for the Book Industry Study Group.

Helpful Hints for the #FTR uninitiated – To join the #followreader conversation today, here’s what to do:

  1. Just before 4pm ET today, log in to Twitter or whatever interface you prefer. (We recommend Tweetchat, which refreshes quickly and automatically loads your hashtag when you are in the discussion.)
  2. To follow the discussion, run a search for #followreader
  3. I’ll start by asking a few questions, before opening up the discussion to the group.
  4. To post a comment to the discussion, make sure that the hashtag #followreader is in each tweet you write.

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When it comes to book advertising, what are the do’s and don’ts for authors and publishers? How useful are metrics like ad click-through rates? And how are publishers and authors reaching audiences in specific subject areas or “verticals” on the web?

Those are some of the questions we explore in the second half of our conversation about trends in book advertising with Verso Advertising President, Denise Berthiaume, and Group Director Tom Thompson, which picks up where we left off Monday’s interview.   

And tomorrow, Berthiaume and Thompson join us for a live chat, in our weekly #FollowReader conversation on Twitter (Friday, December 4, 2009, from 4-5pm ET). To follow to our discussion in real time and contribute your own comments, go to TweetChat and type in #followreader. 

Q&A with Denise Berthiaume and Tom Thompson

What are the biggest mistakes that publishers and authors make when trying to engage with online audiences?     

Denise: The biggest mistake I see is authors and companies spending a lot of money on very cool site design, but leaving no part of the budget (and that includes money, employee time and enthusiasm for the project!) for the marketing required to drive people to the site.     

Tom:  Because budgets are so tight, publishers often use the “silver bullet approach” – hoping a single marketing or promotion piece will make all the difference. Instead, we really need to think about all the factors, the whole ecosystem that leads to a book being discovered and purchased.     

What’s the smartest thing publishers and authors can do in their online ad strategy?     

Tom: Think of your online strategy hand-in-hand with, and really no different from, your “offline” strategy. Authors should use the web to drive foot traffic into physical stores and use their in-person appearances to build audience for their site/blog/etc. Authors need to think about their brand long term.     

Denise: Focus first on your audience wherever they are: on- and offline. Usually both, and usually at  the same time.   

In determining the effect of online ads, how useful are metrics like click-through rates, site traffic and Bookscan book sales – and how effectively can you map one variable to another? 

 Denise:  Obviously, our job is to sell books. So our primary goal with each campaign is to drive sales.  To that end we recently worked with Nielsen BookScan to study book sales during Verso Reader Channel ad campaigns and found a significant correlation – meaning a bump in sales – when campaigns served 1.5 million + ad impressions. We go into that in a bit more detail about that in a post on our blog.  

Tom Thompson

 Tom: Click Through Rate (CTR) tends to be the first and only number people want to know. But it’s misleading. With the FSG and Vanguard campaigns mentioned above, for example, neither performed astonishingly well in terms of CTR. But both spectacularly accomplished their goals.  

Denise: CTR is a big topic in advertising right now. Everyone’s looking for guidance on measuring performance, but no one knows what that measure should be. CTR has been declining and worrying people for a long time (if you Google it, the first thing that comes up is a blog from January 2001 about declining CTR).  

Tom:  The general CTR average is .08% — which matches up with what I’m seeing with our clients everywhere except the NYTimes.com, which is generally higher. That .08% figure comes from a DoubleClick report cited by ComScore

Denise:  There have been lots of CTR-boosting remedies proposed over the years, most prominently the Cost Per Engagement model of rich media. But in the end, click-throughs  of any variety have to be considered in the context of content, impression level, and campaign goal. What I mean by that is:   

  1. Content: Are you offering something of value that is targeted either by context or behavior to the audience that’s seeing the ad?
  2. Impression level: Are you serving enough impressions to make a difference?
  3. Campaign goal: What do you want out of the campaign? Awareness? Clicks? Newsletter sign-ups? Sales?

Tell us about the online network of 5,000 sites you have put together for book publisher ads. What subject categories have the most sites and are the most popular with advertisers?  

Denise Berthiaume

 Denise: The Verso Reader Channels were created after we saw the need for marketing plans that truly took advantage of the unique ways different interest-groups are now clustering online. Now that there are sites for every interest group – from cooking to pop culture, fitness to parenting – we can target hundreds of relevant sites at a time, thanks to our partnership with Burst Media. Burst is a  leading network that’s been around since the early days of the commercial web, has relationships with over 4,500 sites that provide over 110 million unique users a month, and reaches over 60% of the web population. Our partnership leverages Burst’s strengths in aggregating content into verticals along with our knowledge of publishing categories and creative expertise to give our clients extremely cost-efficient online media buys.  

Tom: The other advantage of the network model is that we don’t have to confront the minimum spends that we face with buying ads for a single site. The standard $10-25k minimum spends for ad buys on single sites that we’re seeing now are well down from the $30-50k minimums of 2007, but still too high for most campaigns.  There is no minimum with a Reader Channel buy – although you do face diminishing returns if you spend less than $5k. The standard cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for ads on the Reader Channels is $6.    

If bloggers or bookstores want to apply to join your network, how do they go about it? How much do the sites get paid to run your ads?     

Denise: While we’re big fans of bloggers and do buy ads on blogs for most of our clients separately, blogs are not part of the Reader Channels because Burst has strict rules about member-site content, audience level and comment field moderation that most blogs cannot meet, according to the eligibility requirements of the network.      

What have you learned about what readers respond to from observing the activity in this network of 5,000 sites?     

Denise: We surveyed thousands of respondents about their book buying habits and preferences, with early data showing some surprising behavior by heavy readers and ebook enthusiasts. We will reveal more about that at the Digital Book World Conference on January 26 and 27.     

Join us for tomorrow’s live chat with Berthiaume and Thompson (Friday, December 4, 2009, from 4-5pm ET), in our weekly #FollowReader conversation on Twitter.

To follow to our discussion in real time and contribute your own comments, go to TweetChat and type in #followreader. 

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As publishers and authors strive to connect with their audiences through more channels than ever, what can the latest trends in book advertising teach us about how readers are engaging with books on the web and beyond?

Denise Berthiaume

That was just one of the questions that prompted this interview with Verso Advertising’s President, Denise Berthiaume, and V-P, Group Director, Tom Thompson. Over the past 20 years, these two have worked with all the major houses, and many smaller ones, as well as one-on-one with many authors, both famous and not-so-famous. Their survival  in an industry that’s never been known for extravagent advertising budgets, at a time when rival agencies have closed or scaled down, speaks volumes about their resourcefulness and ability to stay ahead of the market.

Here’s the first part of our two-part interview with Bethiaume and Thompson about how readers are discovering books through ads, and some recent campaigns that reveal smart ways to allocate book advertising dollars. 

Look out for the second part of the interview this coming Thursday (December 3, 2009), with a discussion about how to measure an ad’s effectiveness and Verso’s vertical ad network, which reaches roughly 60% of the web and more than 110 million unique users a month. 

And on Friday (December 4, 2009), Bethiaume and Thompson will be the guests on our weekly #FollowReader conversation on Twitter, from 4-5pm ET. To follow to our discussion in real time and contribute your own comments, go to TweetChat and type in #followreader.

Q&A with Denise Berthiaume and Tom Thompson

What important new trends are you seeing in how readers discover books? 

Tom Thompson

Tom: Readers discover books now the way they always have: through friends, family and communities of interest. What’s new is how these groups are communicating and the unprecedented opportunities to reach them at a relevant moment in the conversation.

Denise: We feel the biggest potential for growth right now is with vertically-oriented sites or networks, whether that means an ad network like the Verso Reader Channels, or a site that caters to a particular enthusiast base, like Tor.com is becoming for Sci-Fi readers, or Harlequin’s new publishing venture, Harlequin Horizons. 

Tom: Also, Sourcebooks’ brand new PoetrySpeaks.com  is likely to become for poetry readers.

Do book ads influence readers as much as in the past? How are they maintaining their relevance in a world where people don’t trust ads and marketing as much as they used to?

Denise: People treat ads with the same amount of healthy skepticism they always have. As advertisers, we have to know our audience and speak to them in a way that respects who they are and what they want.

Tom: Trying to pull one over on your audience or talk down to them in some way is simply insulting, and a waste of everybody’s time and money.

Denise: The major difference in ad placement now versus ten years ago, is that you used to be able to reach booksellers, wholesalers, authors and agents with a single ad in the New York Times.  The Times is still the best place to reach a good portion of the book business. But you can’t count on reaching the majority of consumers that way anymore.

Tom: The mechanism [for reaching the book market] has splintered, and the consumer that publishers once simply left to the booksellers to worry about now needs to be every publisher’s focus. That means that the publisher has to reach out to a book’s readers wherever they are: whether it’s military history enthusiasts on military sites, sports fans on sports sites, or parents on parenting sites.  The web obviously makes this kind of targeting easier than ever.

Denise: The trick now is to target each book’s audience and yet also reach the kind of scale that we still enjoy on TV, radio, and, yes, print venues like the Times.

Do print, radio, TV or online ads give the most bang for the buck in terms of reach?  

Denise: The latest Nielsen stats on media reach offer some perspective: 95% of the adult population is reached via broadcast TV; 77% is reached via broadcast radio; 64% via web; and 62% via print.  

If an author or publisher has a limited advertising budget, where is the best place to spend the money?

Tom: Well, it depends how much money we’re talking about! Certainly for the most limited ad budgets — $5-$10,000 — online is the way to go. But in terms of number of people reached for each dollar spent, radio is often the most efficient way for publishers to reach large numbers of people – as long as you have $20k plus. For the biggest budgets, however, TV still provides the most significant mass reach.

Denise: But there’s a good reason the bulk of our business remains in print. Even though print circulations are precipitously declining, newspapers and magazines are still (for now) a great place to reach the older (40+) wealthier segment of the population, the people who buy print books.  The New York Times circulation is now under million. But it’s still reaching more than 900,000 readers every day.

How should online advertising fit into an overall advertising strategy for publishers and authors?

Denise:  Online advertising is best used in concert with everything else that’s working for a book: publicity, promotion, community outreach, reviews, building bookseller enthusiasm. With nothing else happening—no publicity, no author platform, no news tie-in—an ad isn’t going to go very far working on its own.

Tom:  But if an ad offers something of value to a relevant audience, and happens at the same time as word is building in other media, it will make a difference.

What kinds of online book ads are readers most actively responding to now? Is it necessary to have a video ad rather than a flash ad to make an impact?

Denise: Readers respond to any message or offer, however high or low tech, that’s relevant to their interest or need. Generally, rich media (including video) performs better, but that’s often because the immediate value-offer is more apparent. But rich media requires a bigger budget, since third party servers like DoubleClick or Point Roll are crucial for optimum serving and reporting.

How necessary is it to run a contest or give something away in your ad, like an audio download or keychains or other gizmos?

Tom:  These days, a free excerpt alone isn’t enough to elicit a click– unless it’s a highly newsworthy person or spectacularly timely piece of information. FSG, for example, ran a highly successful campaign that featured an interesting twist on the free excerpt model for Thomas L. Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded.  Over a month before the hardcover’s on sale date, FSG offered free audio downloads of his entire last book as well as an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming title. This ten day pre-pub online ad campaign led to nearly 100,000 downloads (and tens of thousands of email addresses). You can read more about the campaign on our site.

Denise:  Another successful campaign was for the Vanguard Press title Bad Dogs Have More Fun. Taking advantage of the author’s previous success with Marley and Me, Vanguard ran a simple promotion offering a free keychain to the first respondents across hundreds of pop culture websites on Verso’s Pop Culture Reader Channel. The book’s website was deluged with over 100,000 people registering to win. (You can see Bad Dog creative at http://www.versoadvertising.com/online/).

Tom:  In both cases, the publishers did more than create a promotion that offered the audience something it wanted. They let the potential  audience know the promotion existed! The “Build it and they will come” theory of online marketing is pure fantasy.

NOTE: Look out for the second part of the interview this coming Wednesday (December 2, 2009), with a discussion about how to measure an ad’s effectiveness and Verso’s vertical ad network, which reaches roughly 60% of the web and more than 110 million unique users a month.

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OK, sounds dramatic, but trust me, mark down October 19, 2009 as a day to remember.

ia logo

Rarely, in my career have I been “blown away” by a demonstration.  Tonight, “blown away” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I should have seen it coming, but, I didn’t.  I was completely blindsided.  I was blindsided by the vision of Brewster Kahle, the raw brilliance of his team, and the entire group of individuals and companies who played a role in Brewster’s “convocation”.

Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle

What I saw, was many of the dreams and visions of e-book aficionados everywhere becoming a demonstrable reality tonight.  I say ‘demonstrable’, because by Brewster’s own admission, it’s not ready for prime time, but the demonstration was enough to make my head spin with the possibilities.  But you don’t really want to know that, so let me do my best to just report what I saw.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Tonight, Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive Founder and Chief Librarian, introduced what he calls his “BookServer” project.  BookServer is a framework of tools and activities. It is an open-architectured set of tools that allow for the discoverability, distribution, and delivery of electronic books by retailers, librarians, and aggregators, all in a way that makes for a very easy and satisfying experience for the reader, on whatever device they want.

Now that may sound fairly innocuous, but let me try to walk through what was announced, and demonstrated  (Please forgive me if some names or sequences are wrong, I’m trying to do this all from memory):

  • Brewster announced that the number of books scanned at libraries all over the world has increased over the past year from 1 million books to 1.6 million books.
  • He then announced that all of these 1.6 million books were available in the ePub format, making them accessible via Stanza on the iPhone, on Sony Readers, and many other reading devices in a way that allows the text to re-flow if the font has been changed.
  • Next he announced that not only were these files available in ePub form, but that they were available in the “Daisy” format as well.  Daisy is the format used to create Braille and Text to Speech software interpretations of the work.
  • There were other statistics he cited related to other mediums such as 100,000 hours of TV recordings, 400,000 music recordings, and 15 billion (yes it’s a ‘b’) web pages that have been archived.
  • He then choreographed a series of demonstrations.  Raj Kumar from Internet Archive demonstrated how the BookServer technology can deliver books  to the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) XO laptop, wirelessly.  There are 1 million of these machines in the hands of underprivileged children around the world, and today they just got access to 1.6 million new books.
  • Michael Ang of IA then demonstrated how a title in the Internet Archive which was available in the MOBI format could be downloaded to a Kindle – from outside the Kindle store – and then read on the Kindle.  Because many of these titles were in the Mobi format as well, Kindle readers everywhere also have access to IA’s vast database.
  • Next up, Mike McCabe of IA, came up and demonstrated how files in the Daisy format could be downloaded to a PC then downloaded to a device from Humana, specifically designed for the reading impaired.  The device used Text-to-speech technology to deliver the content, but what was most amazing about this device was the unprecedented ease at which a sight impaired person could navigate around a book, moving from chapter to chapter, or to specific pages in the text.
  • Brewster took a break from the demonstrations  to elaborate a couple of facts, the most significant of which was the fact the books in the worlds libraries fall into 3 categories. The first category is public domain, which accounts for 20% of the total titles out there – these are the titles being scanned by IA.  The second category is books that are in print and still commercially viable, these account for 10% of the volumes in the world’s libraries.  The last category are books that are “out of print” but still in copyright.  These account for 70% of the titles, and Brewster called this massive amount of information the “dead zone” of publishing.  Many of these are the orphan titles that we’ve heard so much about related to the Google Book Settlement – where no one even knows how to contact the copyright holder.  (To all of my friends in publishing, if you let these statistics sink in for a minute, your head will start to spin).
  • Brewster went on to talk about how for any digital ecosystem to thrive, it must support not just the free availability of information, but also the ability for a consumer to purchase, or borrow books as well.
  • At this point, Michael came back out and demonstrated – using the bookserver technology – the purchase of a title from O’Reilly on the Stanza reader on the iPhone – direct from O’Reilly – not from Stanza.  If you are a reader, you may think that there is nothing too staggering about that, but if you are a publisher, this is pretty amazing stuff.  Stanza is supporting the bookserver technology, and supporting the purchase of products direct from publishers or any other retailer using their technology as a delivery platform.  (Again, friends in publishing, give that one a minute to sink in.)
  • The last demonstration was not a new one to me, but Raj came back on and he and Brewster demonstrated how using the Adobe ACS4 server technology, digital books can be borrowed, and protected from being over borrowed from libraries everywhere.  First Brewster demonstrated the borrowing process, and then Raj tried to borrow the same book but found he couldn’t because it was already checked out.  In a tip of the hat to Sony, Brewster then downloaded his borrowed text to his Sony Reader.  This model protects the practice of libraries buying copies of books from publishers, and only loaning out what they have to loan. (Contrary to many publishers fears that it’s too easy to “loan” unlimited copies of e-Books from libraries).
  • In the last piece of the night’s presentation, Brewster asked many of the people involved in this project to come up and say a few words about why they were here, and what motivated them to be part of the project.  The sheer number of folks that came out were as impressive as the different constituencies they represented.  By the end of this the stage was full of people, including some I know, like Liza Daly (Three Press), Mike Tamblyn (Shortcovers), and Andrew Savikas (O’Reilly).  Others, I didn’t know included Hadrien Gradeur (Feedbooks), the woman who invented the original screen for the OLPC, a published author, a librarian from the University of Toronto, Cartwright Reed from Ingram, and a representative from Adobe.

After the night was over, I walked all the way back to the Marina district where I was staying.  The opportunities and implications of the night just absolutely made my head spin.  I am completely humbled to be asked to be here and to witness this event.

In one fell swoop, the Internet Archive expanded the availability of books to millions of people who never had access before, bringing knowledge to places that had never had it.  Who knows what new markets that will create, or more importantly what new minds will contribute to our collective wisdom as a result of that access.  In the same motion, Brewster demonstrated a world where free can coexist with the library borrowing model, and with the commercial marketplace.  Protecting the interests of both of those important constituencies in this ecosystem.  He also, in the smoothest of ways, portrayed every ‘closed system’ including our big retail friends and search engine giants, as small potatoes.

I will have to post again about the implications of all this, but people smarter than me – many of whom I was able to meet today, will be far more articulate about what just happened.  I’m still too blown away.  I know this, it was a ‘game changer’ day.  It may take a couple of years to come to full fruition, but we will be able to pinpoint the spot in history when it was all shown to be possible.  I need to thank Peter Brantley for inviting (or should I say tempting) me to be there. Wow.

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OK, it’s now officially #followreader catch up week, with the third of three recaps from our weekly Twitter discussions.

This discussion took place July 30, after we posted a dialogue with Random House sales reps and bloggers Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness, and then invited the two of them to join our friends on Twitter in a #followreader conversation. 

Working from the premise that “the entire book business culture and tradition is up for grabs now,”  Ann and Michael proved fearless in their willingness to reassess the business and where it can go in these digital times. The result was the best kind of Twittersation – a long riff on fresh ideas with scores of improvisationalists, that turned into one of our most intense and creative #followreader conversations to date. Many thanks to Michael and especially Ann, who was able to stay for a full hour!

[NOTE: Due to technical constraints, I've reconstructed the conversation primarily from the Twitterfeeds of @annkingman and @mkindness, in addition to my own. Apologies to the many other participants in this conversation whose smart comments I was not able to retreive.]

Here are some of the highlights:

How can we keep books high on the cultural radar?

@AnnKingman: I’d love to see more salons, where people talk about book they’re reading or love, not a traditional book club

@charabbott: You could say that #followreader, #litchat, #tbc, #editorchat and #TuesBookTalk are all newfangled book salons.

@AnnKingman: I think the salon can work online and off – Twitter, blogs, Goodreads, etc. are all kind of online salons

@AnnKingman: Offline book salons are not as popular as online, but there’s potential

@charabbott: Maybe the key is creating offline parlor games with books. I once invited eight friends over on Oscar Wilde’s birthday to read one of his plays aloud.

@jnyrose: Free books are nice. But hanging out with large groups of book-obsessed people is fantastic.

Who might be the tastemakers in these emerging book salons?

@annkingman: Indie e-mail newsletters are great, and we are starting to see more indies with blogs, which thrills me.

@mkindess: There are customers who look to booksellers for recommendations, why not editors too?

@annkingman: If you read a book you love, would you want to read another acquired by that editor?

@annkingman: Last three non-brand-name books I loved were all acquired by same editor, but I didn’t know it at the time. Now I’ll read anything she buys.

@mkindness: I think readers would be interested ito hear from the editor who brought them The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

@charabbott: Yes, I watch some editors and agents, like Susan Kamil and Nicole Aragi for fiction, and Eamon Dolan for nonfiction.

@annkingman: Publisher and editor extremely important for bookstore buyers because they’ve learned who to trust. Why can’t that carry over?
(more…)

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Fraser Kelton of Adaptive Blue

Fraser Kelton of Adaptive Blue

In the third of our profiles on nifty websites and tools that help readers and bookish types connect online, we bring you a glimpse at Glue. Fraser Kelton from Adaptive Blue, the company behind Glue, was kind enough to answer a few questions and shed some light on this very interesting and literally ubiquitous new way for readers to share their thoughts about books.

Q: What exactly is Glue, and how does it work?
Glue is a web-wide social network for books, movies, and music. It appears automatically as you browse popular sites to show you friends who have visited the same item and what they think.

The cool part about Glue is that it uses semantics to connect people around a common object, regardless of where it’s visited. This means that if you visit a book on Powells, you’ll be able to see what your friends thought of that book even if they visited it on Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, or dozens of other popular book sites.

Glue is a browser add-on, so it can bring you contextual information where and when it makes sense – while you’re looking at a book or movie on a popular site. (more…)

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outer-limits-screen-captureThere is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits.
— Opening narration  – The Control Voice  – 1960s

This past Friday, Follow the Reader’s weekly Twittersation (#FollowReader), took a shot at having a discussion on eBook pricing and distribution. It’s a rapidly developing and chaotic world, this eBook world. There are a lot of players, and there is a lot of confusion — over price, over formats, over standards, over distribution, over rights and territories — etc., etc., etc.  So, it was perhaps not surprising that the eBook Twitter Chattersation was not only quite robust, but also quite all over the place.

And, it was quite well-attended. Sure, I was sad that more of the e-publishing-side players didn’t show up for the conversation, but I was thrilled that lots and lots of e-reading tweeps DID show up for this particular discussion. Is it ironic, or just expected that while readers were there and were quite vocal about what they want, few from the publishing side were there to hear it?…(old patterns in a new medium? could be.)

What is clearly clear amidst the confusion: the reading (and by reading, I mean reading and purchasing) public are paying attention. This is not your grandfather’s “book” consumer. This is a new generation of readers who want WHAT they want WHEN, and HOW they want it.

They don’t want to be locked into devices and formats. They do want lots of choice and lots of title selection. They will not pay a premium for no perceived value. But, they will pay for demonstrably enhanced, rich content that adds to the reading experience. And, they are increasingly aware that they have the purchasing power to dictate where the market will go.

twittersationIn other words, if e-book publishers/e-reading device manufacturers/and e-reading software developers want to make it in this game, they had better put on their listening ears and start showing up to hear what the e-reading public has to say.

Yup. Lots of opinions about eBooks and eReading were expressed last Friday. And, the whole conversation made me giddy with hope that the future of book publishing will be entirely driven by proactive and very engaged readers (in the business world, they refer to this as “consumer demand”).

I, of course, prefer to take this to the Utopian extreme. Imagine a world where readers are in control of the “programming.” That’s right — no more publishers controlling the transmission. Instead, readers will be controlling what gets published, when and how!

Yes, it’s a bit radical, but this is not so far from where things are headed .

What time is it? According to my Kat-watch, it’s a really good time for publishers to ask themselves exactly what purpose they serve in a world where they no longer control  the transmission. My hope is that they’ll take more of an interest in the programming — you know, maybe focus on curating quality content that meets the needs and desires of their reading audience? Maybe they should try that kind of thing.

That’s where I’d be focusing if I were an e-book (or print book, for that matter) publisher ;)

And, speaking of #FollowReader TwitChats — don’t forget to tune in to today’s #FollowReader Twittersation, starting at 4PM EST. Just head on over to Twitter and search by #FollowReader. Hope to see you there!

Luv,

Kat

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