Publishing start up survey - Digital Book World & Publishers Launch Conferences


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  • Other quotes:We're a small operation, so I'd have to say the incredible multi-tasking required, and the learning curve that was required to understand digital from a production POV. Constant innovation
  • QuotesOn working with publishers:Book publishers are understandably cautious about adopting new platforms, and can be slow to make decisions, particularly when there are multiple stakeholders affected (creative, technical, commercial).-Encouraging publishers to believe in us when we tell them that our business model can be truly profitable for them.-overcoming the intransigence of those who have only worked in NYC or London book publishing their entire lives.Helping publishers to understand how easy it is to benefit from working with [us]. Once they try us, they come back repeatedly. . . it's the initial jumpstart that can slow things down. Publishers who view the complex market of distribution as a commodity; unwilling to invest in new opportunities and models to test ways to grow their business volumesOn pivoting:…we must help those publishers who think of [our company] in its prior incarnation understand we have shifted to something more important and relevant to their bottom lines.On marketing:Maintaining mindshare of publishers, authors and readersPenetrating author communities at a large scale is difficult and requires a lot of marketing dollars.Targeting a large number of writers as efficiently as possible.Rising above the specter of amazon and ibooks and the noise of a hundreds of little startupsGetting exposure to our user community.Getting to a critical mass of users so that the service is beneficial to authors and publishers.The biggest challenge is really the same as with any retail model is gaining sufficient user and consumer data to improve results and exapand the user and consumer base.On DRM:Overcoming need for DRM on sample files / excerpts, explaining value to publishers, encouraging publishers to use the tool.At this point we have no plans for DRM, a major hurdle for many publishers.For start-up publishers:Discoverability of our titles. Getting mainstream print reviewers, commentators, to take our titles as seriously as those published by mainstream. Plus the problems of getting POD paperbacks into bricks & mortar bookshops.Advertising, getting public awareness for books and company.Retail sales.Physical book supply chain operations, and providing strong sales coverage to move meaningful volumes of physical books.
  • For small pubs, not confined to a single person.
  • On data:The biggest technology problem at our organisation isn't the lack of technology, it is the culture change that is being brought about with data-ownership how important that is to online bookselling.The massive amount of data coming in and going out and the inability to keep the outgoing data to the same high level of accuracy with which we send it out.Internal data management - particularly around metadata and marketing.Keeping records current and being able to use/analyze the data that they produce. But in a way where you don't have to be some XL SQL god to do it.XML workflow, metadata management, promotional/marketing abilityOn staffing/skillsets:Lack of personnel and skills related to higher-level technology. Lack of interest in implementing more metadata qualifiersWe outsource all Kindle and EPUB creation and anything requiring programming.On systems/IT needs:dealing with multiple proprietary hardware and softwareInternal systems and software. Keeping up with new technology, the expense of it.Publishers are about 15 years behind most industries. We don't have the resources to buy shiny new stuff - and unlike startups, many publishers have (much) older employees who have been doing this for decades, so a new tool has to really have staying power in order for folks to adopt it.
  • We asked… “If you had money to invest specifically in a start-up outside of your company to solve a problem in publishing, in what area of publishing would you invest that money and why? “Select responses:If it was my own money I'd invest elsewhere. If I had a friend who really insisted on investing in publishing start-ups I'd point them to start-ups working on marketing/discoverability.Marketing/promotion for ebooks.I would invest in workflow technologies. There are so many inefficiencies in the editorial process, and online collaboration tool have reached a point where there is much to be gained. Would love to see something akin to O'Reilly's ATLAS used by trade publishers. Editors, proofreaders and authors collaborating in real time, and once the content is finalised, it can be easily, cheaply and accurately pushed through to production.An online bookstore for Christians offering easy discovery and any format needed with free upload and a 20% or less cut of the royaltiesTo restore more of a sense of balance in the industry overall, so that it is less reliant on Amazon.A seriously well conceived book discovery project.Metadata (publishing and beyond)App development.Ebook distribution from your phone. Think about it.Enthrill, a company based in Calgary, Alberta, produces book cards that enable vendors (including retailers) to sell ebooks through brick-and-mortar stores. Simple, attractive, and mimics the way we currently sell print books.e-publishing1. Opt-in mailing list -- any way at all to find names of existing and potential customers, then to reach them. Who buys these books? And how can I talk to them? I'd sure love to know.2, Ways to find potential Amazon reviewers that meet Amazon's TOS.Getting to know who are readers are and what influences their buying and reading patterns. Currently our retailers hold all that data and don't really share it with us.
  • 100% of publishers highlight “Data/Insight/Intelligence” as a problem in the industry. Workflow issues core to publishers, but less important to the start-ups.
  • We asked: “For whom do you view each problem to be a pain point?”Publishers almost universally (and naturally) see more problems for themselves than for other stakeholders. Start-ups were more likely to identify problems for authors and readers, and publishers were more likely to identify problems for their traditional trading partners (libraries, retailers, and aggregators).
  • Other comments:- Business plan: Are they building something just to be bought by Amazon, Google, Facebook.Sadly, many of the start ups I see are pushing a thought bubble that clearly doesn't have much chance of success for an obvious structural/market reason. Loud complaints from start ups that publishers won't engage rarely acknowledge that there are a lot of poorly considered ideas out there.Additionally, respondents report spending anywhere from 5-33% of their time evaluating start-ups. Some comments: It depends on the issue at hand and the amount of current pain or cost associated with it. It isn't an official part of my role, but I am the one who ends up doing it when we get approached.We expect most proposals to be vaporware.Most start up ideas I have heard lately are not doing anything new or important to us, so I spend an hour at most, usually just a 30-minute meeting at a book fair or other event.
  • Some start-ups publishers are glad they made time for….NetgalleyBookbubGoodreads (when they were a startup)Established social marketing/promo tools (hootsuite, shortstack, campaign monitor)Established social platforms (facebook, twitter, google plus) BooXtream is probably the one I am most pleased to be working with at the moment. Draft2DigitalGanxyGumroadTomelyEbook ArchitectsLocal ebook vendors,BasecampInfusionsoftPubCoderPromising early-stage start-upsBooklikesOdyllZolaLibrarythingOysterInklingBookBabyInkubateUnbound
  • Some quotes from the survey:The brand value that publishers have enjoyed with writers is rapidly eroding as writers realize that traditional publishing relationships are ceasing to be necessary in their pursuit of a successful writing career. As a result, publishers need to engage proactively with the writing community as is already the case with their largest trading partner and competitor.Author's growing negative perception of the value added of having a publishing partnerPublishers need to provide more value to authors by offering tools and services which can help authors with many of the essential parts of creating and marketing their own books.- Own the direct relationship with your readers.The publishers who understand and embrace the notion that readers who buy their books—regardless of the device on which they read—are just as much THEIR customers as the retailers'; and that they, as publishers, should have the ability to manage those relationships; speak to those readers—they are the publishers who will thrive in the years to come because they will have built communities of readers.Social media is growing in relevance every day and it must be heavily incorporated into marketing.Move your focus from structural issues internal to the publishing industry and towards developing direct relationships with consumers of content.- Library (or school library) terms are not always relevant to Classroom uses of eBooks. Teachers are eager to bring more digital content into classrooms, and this means a number of specific use cases. To reach the growing demand may require that publishers establish terms specifically designed for classroom-facing sales, or work with partners establishing new sales models.- Mobile use is still surging with no signs of slowing, and its a rising tide you need to have a boat on.- The future is distributed and mobile.- Publishing isn't about launching an author with all the fuss and fanfare only to put them on the back burner months later when book not a bestseller. Each title needs a sustained online campaign to promote it, with experienced digital team who know about keywords, categories, Twitter techniques, Amazon strategies etc. LONG TAIL not hype and short tail. Authors are still being signed and left floundering on their own. A waste of everybody's efforts.- DRM is dead. They should consider changing their financial/legal relationship with authors or they will become radio -- profitable but niche
  • Publishing start up survey - Digital Book World & Publishers Launch Conferences

    2. 2. Publishing Start-Up Survey Respondents Do you work for an established publisher or a publishing technology company/start-up? 36.8% 63.2% Publisher Start-up/technology company
    3. 3. Publishing Start-Up Survey Respondents  43 publishing start-ups  From 8 countries  Including 10 start-up publishers  Diverse range of types and sizes  25 traditional book publishers  From 8 countries  Staff tasked with meeting with and evaluating start-up propositions
    4. 4. First, the start-ups… • Respondents include self-funded and bootstrapped operations through to three rounds of investment totaling near $8m • Total full-time employees range from 1 to 150 • Started as early as 2002 and several slated to launch in 2014 • Average age of over 2 years old
    5. 5. Geographic distribution of start-ups Respondents came primarily from the US, but also from the UK, Germany, Canad a, South Africa, Israel, Russia, and Japan
    6. 6. Causing disruption 74% of start-ups surveyed consider themselves “disruptive” to one or more of the players in the traditional book publishing value chain: Readers Publishers Retailers Authors Libraries Agents Aggregators Other 0.0% 20.0% 40.0% 60.0% 80.0% 100.0%
    7. 7. Greatest challenges start-ups face “It’s a lot of work.” “We've been doing this a while. We've done more than people know. To get anywhere you have to execute ferociously to drive revenue. It's a tremendous amount of work. That often gets overlooked – it's a lot of work.”
    8. 8. Greatest challenges start-ups face  Working within slow publishing sales/business development cycles and often reluctant publishers  Managing pivots  Marketing (B2B and B2C)   Building user base/audience (of both authors and readers) Generating (and maintaining) interest and engagement among readers, authors, and publishers  Handling DRM  Funding/operating capital  For start-up and e-first/e-only publishing houses:    Building clout with traditional publishing partners (e.g. bookstores, media) Developing robust sales and distribution capabilities Understanding the digital marketing and advertising landscape
    9. 9. Now, the publishers… No. of titles published per year Company size 16.0% 4.0% 32.0% Small 48.0% Mid-Sized 54.2% Large Big Five 1 - <100 29.2% 16.7% 100 - <500 500+
    10. 10. Geographic distribution of publishers Respondents also primarily from the US (over 50%), but also from Canada, Italy, the UK, Germany, South Africa, Portugal, and Australia
    11. 11. Who meets and evaluates start-ups? Role/title of the person(s) tasked with evaluating start-up propositions: (select all that apply) Business development Editorial Information technology Managing editorial Marketing Production Sales 0.0% 20.0% 40.0% 60.0% 80.0% 100.0%
    12. 12. Biggest technology problems publishers face  Data   Getting useful data, analytics, and metrics Internal data management (incoming and outgoing)  Digital asset management   Creating and managing metadata Marketing assets  Shifting to an XML workflow  Digital marketing, promotion, and discovery  Staffing for a digital workflow    Lack of personnel Need for new skillsets and training Sometimes lack of interest  Managing and updating internal systems and technology
    13. 13. What these publishers would be investing in…  Marketing and discovery  Metadata  App development  Workflow/collaboration technologies  Anything that weakens Amazon’s hold…
    14. 14. Finding common ground (and points of contention) • What are the problems the industry faces today? • Who are the key stakeholders for whom each of those problems are a pain point? • For what types of content and for which markets do these problems (and their hoped for solutions) apply?
    15. 15. Problems/pain points Start-ups: What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Publishers: What problem(s) would you like start-ups to tackle? Accessibility Audience engagement Content/Editorial Data/Insight/Intelligence Start-ups Publishers Discovery/Discoverability Enabling social interaction Improving workflow Marketing Simplifying/enabling transactions Simplifying technology 0.0% 25.0% 50.0% 75.0% 100.0%
    16. 16. Problems for whom? START-UPS Accessibility Authors (54%) Readers (43%) Publishers (26%) Audience engagement Authors (54%) Readers (46%) Publishers (43%) Content/Editorial Authors (54%) Readers (37%) Publishers (37%) Data/Insight/Intelligence Publishers (66%) Authors (57%), Agents (29%) Readers (26%) Discovery/Discoverability Authors (63%) Readers (57%) Publishers (51%) PUBLISHERS Readers (56%) Libraries (44%) Publishers & Retailers (26%) Publishers (63%) Authors (57%) Libraries(31%) Publishers (38%) Authors (19%) Retailers & Agents (13%) Publishers (94%) Retailers (38%), Libraries (31%) Aggregators (31%) Publishers (69%) Readers (50%) Authors (44%)
    17. 17. Problems for whom? START-UPS Enabling social interaction Improving workflow Marketing Simplifying/enabling transactions Simplifying technology PUBLISHERS Authors (51%) Readers (49%) Publishers (31%) Authors (49%) Publishers (37%) Agents (26%) Authors (77%) Publishers (43%) Agents (31%) Readers (26%) Publishers (46%) Authors (40%) Readers (34%) Publishers (51%) Authors (51%) Readers (34%) Publishers (50%) Authors (38%) Readers (31%) Publishers (81%) Retailers(25%) Aggregators (25%) Publishers (75%) Retailers (44%) Authors (38%) Aggregators (25%) Retailers (44%) Publishers (38%) Readers & Aggregators (19%) Publishers (50%) Readers & Retailers (38%) Aggregators (25%)
    18. 18. To Publishers: What problems do you NOT think start-ups need to address? Accessibility Audience engagement Content/editorial Data/Insight/Intelligence Discovery/Discoverability Enabling social interaction Improving workflow Marketing Simplifying/enabling transactions Simplifying technology 0.0% 25.0% 50.0% 75.0% 100.0%
    19. 19. Content/markets Start-ups: At what types of content/markets are your services aimed? Publishers: What content/markets do you publish/serve? Trade - narrative fiction Trade - narrative non-fiction Trade - illustrated Trade - children's books K-12 Higher Ed Scholarly/Academic Professional Reference Textbooks Journals Magazines Apps 0.0% Start-ups Publishers 25.0% 50.0% 75.0% 100.0%
    20. 20. Start-ups working with publishers What cooperation do you need from established publishing players? (select all that apply) Metadata Ebook files Trading terms Licensed content Sales data/metrics License/use platform None/no cooperation needed Other 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0%
    21. 21. Publishers evaluating start-ups What criteria do you use when evaluating start-up propositions? (select all that apply) Practicality to current business Low barriers/minimum requirements for participation or cooperation Faith in start-up management and personnel Legal risk Time-burn risk Financial risk/opportunity Author/agent relationship 0.0% 20.0% 40.0% 60.0% 80.0% 100.0%
    22. 22. Some start-ups publishers are glad they made time for….
    23. 23. Advice from start-ups  Find ways to better serve and support authors  Go D2C: Cultivate direct relationships with readers  Establish new ebook sales terms/models for special use cases (e.g. classrooms)  Think mobile  Develop long-tail SEO, discoverability, and digital marketing strategies  Rethink DRM
    24. 24. Some predictions  “Fiction and non-fiction are diverging as they go digital, and while the focus has mostly been on fiction up till now, things are about to warm up for non-fiction.”  “Publishers will use start ups for: hiring base for engineering talent and out placement source of employment for departing executives. “