By Michelle Tahan
Harvard University Press
Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press)
Videos are becoming a common phenomenon in academic publishing. A simple way to engage, interact, and create personal connections with readers, many publishers such as Harvard University Press, Oxford University, and Yale University are embracing the opportunity to provide supplemental contents on video platforms that readers can enjoy. The greatest advantage, however, is that such video content has the ability to attract media attention to publishers’ books and titles, thus creating greater opportunities for marketing and exposure.
The process of video creation, editing, and production is simpler than most people think. Gregory Kornbluh, a web content manager at Harvard University Press, explained how he was able to simplify the process by using his own camera to create videos. This do-it-yourself approach made it much easier for HUP to focus on authors’ expertise, deliver meaningful content, and eliminate the setbacks and complications of hiring a professional videographer and editor. By consulting with HUP’s publicists and editors, and focusing on trade-oriented titles like “If the author is a snooze, no one watches”, Kornbluh was able to revamp the HUP video program to include more than sixty-five videos with a couple thousand views each.
Other universities like Oxford University Press have more than forty people who take part in the video production process. Their academic YouTube channel has more than eight hundred and fifty videos and features non-book reference products as well, such as academic video tutorials (math, chemistry) and editors that explain books and journals for publicists. While there is no direct evidence that videos sell books, OUP social media manager Alice Northover makes a valuable point that “it’s about search engine optimization – when people search online, video brings consumers to our books.”
Similarly, university programs like Yale University and University of Minessota have adopted their own video marketing strategies as well. With two separate YouTube channels, Yale University Press is able to deliver different content to different audiences; it has twenty-thirty videos on each channel. University of Minessota adopts a more measured effort, specializing in books on music (often jazz), music criticism, curated photography books, and cookbooks. Some videos became very popular, such as Rifftide, Out of the Vinly Deeps, and Village Voice.
Whether produced in-house, by professional videographers, software editing programs, or independently, university publishing presses have gained positive benefits by embracing the video marketing strategy. Each program can be tailored to its desired specialty – whether it is author interviews, editorial book reviews, or academic how-to tutorials. More and publishers are discovering the ease and benefits of having a video platform – readers are drawn to them, and thus, are easily exposed to the books, titles, authors, and more.
By Stephanie Pollock
A large determinant of success in the publishing industry is the ability for a firm to acutely target a “deep niche” audience. The concept behind the “deep niche” argues that a potential customer base is akin to a small but powerful rolling target of individuals seeking new information at any given time. A successful publisher, then, must be willing to accommodate the ever-changing basis of customers’ needs and preferences by adapting its content to current trends. Three companies in particular—Slicebooks, E-bay, and Oyster Books—have made industry headlines in recent weeks aiming to achieve just that.
A recent article in Publishing Perspectives by Lynn Rosen highlights the transformation of Slicebooks, a start-up launched by Jill and Ron Tomich in 2011. Slicebooks markets itself as a publishing firm that offers the option to purchase e-books a la carte—in chapter increments—much as Apple’s iTunes offers for the music industry.
CEO Jill Tomich noted a deliberate move to follow market demands when deciding how to attract a specific audience. One tool her team implemented so as to further this process is a marketing platform for peer publishers. “It is a marketing and instant payment platform that gives multimedia publishers a new way to get discovered by niche mobile consumers while they are browsing in the real world,” Tomich explains. “The content targets the time, place and emotional context of the audience. Consumers discover content at the moment they want it.” This system allows Slicebooks to identify and target specific deep niches at lightning speeds—thus maintaining both relevant and useful holds on a given audience’s needs, and adapting to those needs at the slightest hint of change in the consumer climate. Slicebooks’ business model, as such, serves as an excellent example of the potential for success in targeting these deep niche consumers.
Longtime e-commerce behemoth eBay, meanwhile, is refocusing its efforts to market itself as a “digital magazine” for niche audiences, according to a recent spotlight on the company in The Atlantic. “We’re in the content business,” notes the president of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig, and so the company plans to market that content by intersecting publishing platforms with traditional retail methodology. Wenig plans to navigate his team toward this new model by providing eBay’s customers with data-driven stories about high-traffic retail searches, highlighting specific products, or discussing current trends in the marketplace. This business model allows eBay to focus its efforts on targeting the deep niche audiences who want more information about specific products on the day-to-day level.
Accordingly, eBay’s content teams hope to emphasize this prominence of their niche audiences by providing a digital magazine platform for their benefit. “Just as online communities flourish around ultra-specific sets of interests,” notes author Adrienne LaFrance, “eBay will tailor its articles to the niche users who are already the driving force behind eBay.” As such, eBay’s adjustment toward this rebranding will permit an adaptive and translational relationship with its niche audience members as the needs and trends of the market continually change.
Oyster Books, similarly, has noted the importance of tailoring content to specified audiences over the past year. Oyster has marketed itself as the “Netflix of books,” according to a March 2014 editorial by Andrew Patoja in Publishing Perspectives, but the company had yet to solidify a strong footing in the market at that time. One reason for this, Patoja argued, is that the company had failed to move beyond the standards of content marketing. Instead, he stated, they must seek to redefine book discovery for consumers. “Oyster should move beyond book recommendations by author and genre,” Patoja noted, and instead branch their categorization methods to features such as setting, protagonist demographics, or even writing style. This broadening of search features would enable deep niche investigations of very particular topics, thus permitting a wider range of potential consumers.
Six months later, Oyster Books CEO Eric Stromberg reflected on the importance of this expansion in a recent interview with Publisher’s Weekly. “Our core mission is to help consumers find books they wouldn’t have found otherwise,” Stromberg explains. “At first people will go to Oyster to look for specific titles but over time that’s shifted to discovery through our recommendation services.” The company now uses both hand-selected and algorithmic systems for creating these recommendations. As they continue to expand their investment in these features, so shall their market of niche consumers continue to utilize their services.
Overall, these three publishers demonstrate a strong case for the willingness to adapt to a niche market according to the audience’s needs. Though each company has imprinted its own efforts to redefine themselves according to the changing needs of the deep niche audience, they have also each adapted their business platforms to accommodate these trends in similar ways. Accordingly, all publishers in today’s market must identify their own methods for catering to these deep niche preferences. Doing so will allow publishers to provide specified content according to the flash trends of the current markets. As such, this focus on the needs of the deep niche will solidify a wide assortment of content in vogue for a range of potential consumers.
 Jensen, Michael. "The Deep Niche." The Journal of Electronic Publishing 10, no. 2 (2007). Accessed September 21, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0010.206.
 Rosen, Lynn. "The Start-up Learning Curve: Slicebooks Refines Its Biz Model." Publishing Perspectives, September 17, 2014.
 LaFrance, Adrienne. "EBay Wants to Be a Digital Magazine of Things." The Atlantic, May 6, 2014.
 Pantoja, Andrew. "8 Ways Oyster Books Can Rule the Ebook Subscription Market." Publishing Perspectives, March 26, 2014.
 Reid, Calvin. "Oyster Looks Back at a Year of E-book Subscription." Publisher's Weekly, September 15, 2014.
By: Nicole Miller
When we begin to think of the technological boom our society has undergone in the last decade, the state of our public libraries and their ability to thrive and maintain, often comes into question. Public libraries have roots in America dating back to the 18th century. With the rise of e-books and e-readers, one cannot help but to wonder where the fate of these institutions lies.
Pew Research center, specifically their Internet and American Life project, has recently published a report, Younger Americans and Public Libraries, analyzing the relationship between the two. I must say, as a younger American who patronizes the library, I was intrigued by the results.
When one thinks of who continues to frequent the library, the millennial generation, ages 16 to 29, may be the last group on the list. This generation is notoriously cited for their highly digitized lives, with 98% who use the Internet and 90% who use social networking. While this generation thrives off of technology, 62% of young adults feel, “there is a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” compared to 53% of older Americans who believe the same. When it comes to reading, 88% of young adults have read within the last year compared to 79% of those over age 30. E-readers are also becoming increasingly popular amongst those ages 18-29, with 37% readership within the last year.
While there is note of strong readership and frequency of library visits, 50% of young adults to 47% of older adults, the overall position libraries play in communities is seemingly oblivious to this generation, in my opinion, for now. A staggering 19% of young Americans, compared to 32% older Americans, feel their families would be greatly impacted if their local library were to close. 51% young Americans feel there would be a major impact on their communities, compared to 67% older Americans. Millennials are next in line to determine the atmosphere of our communities. Initial thoughts may cause great concern, but it is important to remember the developing nature of this generation.
The Millennial generation is comprised of older teens, ages 16 to 17, college-aged adults, ages 18 to 24, and young professionals, as I refer to them, ages 25 to 29. There are great differences amongst these three groups and their relationships with libraries. Older teens are most likely to borrow books than purchase and seek more help at the library than their counterparts, but are less likely to highly value them. College-aged adults are cited as being less likely to use the library and purchasing must of their books. Young professionals are more likely to find their libraries to be important to them and their families, with 42% being parents.
The growth of a person from age 16 to age 29 is substantial, which leads me back to my point. The realized importance of libraries in communities is comprehended through growth and maturity, further illustrated in Pew Center’s findings noting older adults, including those 65 & older that are least likely to visit, but understand the value. With that being said, it is important to note that young adults credit libraries for embracing technology. This acknowledgement from a generation whose lives seem to revolve around technology, gives me great hope for the future of our libraries.
Read the entire report on Young Americans and Public Libraries here. Provided in this report is a demographic portrait of younger Americans, reading habits, technology use and their relationship with public libraries.
From having high-level positions at Johnson & Johnson (chief scientific officer and VP of consumer pharmaceutical R&D), the largest healthcare company in the world, to owning a small publishing company, it is clear that Bob Gussin and his wife, Patricia, have made a drastic change in their lives. They both retired from J&J in 2000 and soon after, in 2006, they launched their own company, Oceanview Publishing. Oceanview Publishing focuses its efforts on publishing mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.
In the span of eight years, Oceanview Publishing has put over 100 books in the market and has worked with over 60 authors. Bob has observed many differences between the two corporate worlds. While they both produce a "product," the facets of each industry are vastly different. While they deal with authors who are the sole creators of the books, the products for J&J are formulated by long processes with collaboration between many scientists and researchers. Books may take a year to publish due to marketing, production, and editing processes. While that may seem like a long time, it is nothing compared to the duration of a research/testing/marketing project at a pharmaceutical company. Funding the product could take years and costs for this can go up to a billion dollars or more.
Another, very important difference is marketing. For a drug, a doctor prescribes the patient a drug, and typically the patient takes it - there is no thinking about it or weighing the options. For a book, there is a lot of competition and there is no doctor telling you to take it. It is up to the publisher to persuade the customers to buy the book and to sell it. This aspect of the industries is difficult to compare, though, because medication is crucial to ones' life, while the other is just for leisure. Bob notes that both industries allow him to meet great people and help to market a product, having great satisfaction when the product is successful.
For the original article, please view the following link:
By: Meghan Hall
Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, veteran crime writers and long-time friends, have recently partnered up to create Brash Books. Brash Books, a publishing venture, is confident in its’ ability to set itself apart from other publishing companies. One of the things that makes Brash Books stand out in the expansive sea of publishing companies is its’ exclusive partnership with Amazon. In return for this exclusivity, Amazon will be providing special marketing for the virtual company.
In addition, they will be buying rights to series by late authors and then reviving those series with novel authors. This tactic is part of the reason the Goldberg and Goldman decided to go into business together. That is not to say they will not be publishing original titles. Popular crime novelist Tom Kakonis’s Treasure Coast will launch Brash Books list. Lastly, Goldberg stated all of Brash’s books are written by award-winning crime authors.
With a debut list of 30 titles, available in both print and digital, and an assortment of promotional opportunities through Amazon, they are sure to make a splash in the publishing world.
Read more at Publishers Weekly.
By Anna Borgholthaus
Barnes and Noble has decided to jump on the bandwagon of one of the most recent & innovative inventions in the print publishing world, and install Espresso Book Machines in three of its store locations.
Espresso Book Machines, created by On Demand Books, LLC, is a print-on-demand contraption that allows any customer to print their book of choice - cover, binding, pages, and all - in a matter of minutes. Not only does this allow customers easy access to books that are hard to find in print, but it also allows authors to self-publish in a way that has never been available previously.
The first Espresso Book Machine was installed in 2007 in the New York Public Library, and the machines have continued to be installed in various locations throughout the United States (see a list of locations here).
Barnes and Noble stated that they are installing the machines to "gauge consumer interest." Should the machines succeed, they could prove to be tough competition even for Amazon. Though they can provide 1-day shipping on a good variety of products, and even instant downloads of classic e-books, a turn-around time of minutes could prove hard to beat.
On Demand Books website
By Michelle Tahan
Although some might think that authors who publish a slew of successful books, including 24 with Big Five publishers, and 12 of them being NYT best sellers, are content with Big Publishing and its process. Author Karen Traviss can prove otherwise. Despite her succession of published works including her own Wess'har Wars series to a number of Star Wars, Halo and Gears of War novels, she decided to step away from Big Publishing and publish her own books, starting with her newest techno thriller, Going Grey. Her decision may be surprising, but holds tremendous value for writers who want to be successful in the growing and changing publishing industry.
Traviss’ claim is simple. Nobody else will do it for you. She describes her vision of the industry as getting slower, clinging to the past, and doing much less for authors. They are refusing new technologies and are allowing other business models like Amazon to fully override them. Put simply, although Big Publishers are good for some writers, they do not offer the true possibilities of an author with potential, a dedicated audience, and some extra hard work. After all, authors are the sole source of books and readers are the only paying customers. It is “the point at which free market economics meets the pleasure of story telling.”
Not only is Traviss’ decision to self-publish a successful business approach, but also greatly satisfying. Now, she has the flexibility and freedom to publish any book that she desires, as long as she has engaged readers. The bottom line is that in order to succeed in the publishing world, one must not settle. In order to win the game, one must play the game, but not lose focus. Take risks, have a vision, focus on mission statement and mission audience, strategize, and deliver. It is not easy but it is possible.
By: Nicole B. Miller
“It’s not a digital book or an e-book…it’s a book book.” - Jörgen Eghammer, Chief Design Güru
IKEA’s latest advertising strategy is a beautiful pun on the digitization of not only how we read and shop, but also how we interact with others and the world around us. Employing Apple’s signature style of advertising, IKEA colorfully tells a story of how technology has changed our behavior and course of actions by reintroducing the book.
Boasting groundbreaking technology such as eternal battery life and pre-installed content that displays crystal clear pages regardless of how fast you may “scroll,” IKEA’s “book book” allows for “dog-eared” bookmarking and is easily built to cater to multiple users. IKEA has even revolutionized social media. Jörgen Eghammer, Chief Design Güru notes, “If you want to share a particularly inspiring item, you can literally share it.” Content is open and you can simply “download one to your mailbox, the one you open with a key.”
With my background in advertising, it is hard not to gush over a thought-provoking ad. In this two-minute and 28 second viral piece, IKEA playful heeds warning to the digitalized nature of our society and how we process and receive written content. Even though I feel IKEA has made a compelling argument for print, I must make note of their strong digital and social media presence. Offering an eCommerce website, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest boards (one featuring their 2015 catalog), You Tube and Vimeo channels and an Instagram account, IKEA has covered all of their bases. In addition to these outlets, IKEA also offers PDFs of their catalogs available for online browsing or downloading. There is even an app, yes, an app. Initially, I wanted to call IKEA a hypocrite for the satire regarding the digital nature of publishing, but I cannot help acknowledge their efforts towards bridging a gap between the two worlds.
IKEA’s app encourages cross-platform sharing between the app and the catalog by offering the ability to literally place furniture in desired spaces in your home. With the place furniture in your room feature, consumers are able to fulfill their curiosities with 3-D renderings. While this feature is heavily buggy, having the tool is grand enough. Another method of cross-platform sharing is the ability to scan specially marked pages in the catalog to unlock additional information in the app. I find this method of marketing to be the advocate for print that IKEA is truly trying to make, by encouraging the customer to interact with printed material. With this, IKEA feeds our desires to stay connected while offering us moment to return back to our humble roots. It also does not hurt that their catalogs are always beautifully designed and highly organized. If only their instructions exhibited the same.
Click here to experience the power of a “book book.”
By Cristine Shade
Ikea’s latest marketing strategy is to spoof the technology of e-books by touting the inherent technology of the “book-book.” The video, which currently has over 7 million views on YouTube, highlights the advantages of the print book over an e-book – high-resolution photos, no lag time, and eternal battery life, to name a few. A clever marketing maneuver for Ikea, but for me as a consumer it also seems to say to digital “Can’t we all just get along?” Why is the emergence of digital reading formats being described as a battle, with print always the loser and digital the victor? Why is it that one must prevail over the other?
The old technology, i.e. the book-book, still works, and in some cases has options that e-books don’t: you can easily share, donate, or re-sell them; you don’t need to plug in to read them; and they don’t break if you drop them. Why does the book-book have to die a terrible death because of new technology? Think about it like this: electronic mail has not killed snail mail. What it has done is cause the United States Postal Service (USPS) to re-evaluate its revenue streams. You can’t e-mail that sweater you knitted and you can’t get proof of delivery for those very important legal documents either. But because of USPS’ re-evaluation, the consumer can buy stamps and schedule pickups online as well as get information for brick and mortar services that weren't readily available online before e-mail came along.
This re-evaluation is how I see the publishing industry adjusting to the latest technology rather than throwing its hands up and becoming extinct. Many publishers have already begun the mass digitization of their past and current titles so that they can be enjoyed using e-reader technology, while also generating additional revenue. In a very non-scientific study (a search of Amazon offerings) it is quite obvious that print media is neither dead, nor dying. Of past, present and future titles available, Amazon offers 25.7 million titles in paperback, 10.4 million titles in hardcover, and a mere 2.8 million in digital format. For those of you who prefer scientific studies, a Pew Research Center study shows that only 28% of over 1000 adult readers polled use e-readers. It would appear that print is not even slightly ill, let alone in its final death throes. Publishing companies are simply adapting in the same way any business must adapt to survive.
In addition to keen business acumen, businesses also need customers to survive. We used to just be called readers, but now we are the end-user, and we are still the driving force behind the economics of supply and demand in the publishing business. We still want our printed books, newspapers and magazines, but we also want the option of purchasing these items digitally to allow us to create the reading experiences we choose. I know of many people, myself included, who use a tablet or e-reader while on travel, but then prefer to sit in their favorite chair at home and pick up a book, newspaper or magazine with their bare hands.
Not only do we still get to keep our beloved print items, we now get to choose another format to suit our reading needs. For me, and I’m pretty sure I’m as average as they come, I purchase my favorite author’s new book in both print and digital. I’ve been collecting the print versions of their books and want to maintain my physical library of their work, while also being able to read it digitally on any device available to me. Print and digital formats should be viewed as complementary to each other rather than adversarial. So in the battle of print vs digital, the clear winner is the end-user.
It seems to be a trend, books coming in three’s. Long gone are the days of the single story, the masterpiece of art that would be the author’s sole work. Today, books are created around a complete storyline only to be split into multiple books (and eventually movies) either to prolong the enjoyment or the profits. In recent years, the mass hits like the Twilight series and the Hunger Games have started a seemingly rolling ball of trifectas in the literary world. Even books for adults have taken to a rule of three, Fifty Shades of Grey anyone?
Though I personally find the website Buzzfeed to be a source of entertainment more than actual news, I have found that they are becoming an outlet for readers to find some interesting suggestions. It even has a specialized forum, Buzzfeed Books. For example, this is a list of trilogies for those ‘hungry’ for new books after the Hunger Games. Their strategy of prolonging the pleasure certainly creates a market for multiple book purchases (with the exception of those confident readers who purchase the whole set before reading them, myself included) and offers people a lower cost installment rather than one expensive book.
If you find yourself looking for a small commitment, not as daunting as the Harry Potter series or others of fame that seems to be bringing out new books yearly, these are the hot stories soon to be blockbuster movies (if they play their cards right). The fact that most of these series have titles of a single word and center around the concept of a futuristic world after the fall of society, well let’s just leave that to coincidence.
By Brandi Furman