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Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007
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Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007

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Notes from Google UnBound conference for book publishing industry

Notes from Google UnBound conference for book publishing industry

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    Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007 Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007 Presentation Transcript

    • Jim Gerber, Content Partnerships Director, Google Introduction
      • Pace of change in technology’s capabilities and pricing
        • Moore’s Law: processing capabilities for a given cost doubles every 24 months
        • Kryder’s Law: storage capacity on hard drives grows at an even faster rate, doubling roughly every 13 months
      • Companies like blurb.com create a printed book from blog entries
      • Technology will no longer be the gating factor in our access to and use of information
        • What amount of video, audio, multimedia content that an iPod will carry in 5, 10, 15 years?
      Trend Implication
      • Scope and proliferation in the Internet is changing consumer behaviour
        • Ubiquitous Internet access
        • Digital natives in younger generations around the world
        • Average consumer spends 14 hours per week (39% of their time) online
      • Increasing interaction with media
        • Reader opinions on newspaper websites
        • “ Rough Cuts” interaction with book readers prior to book’s publication
      • Key players are looking to the future
      • Multiple monetization models
      • Same content, different user experience
      • Large quantities of rich data will allow users to “zoom in” to increasingly rewarding experiences
        • Example: photo with gigapixel camera, zooming in to closer to see increasing detail
    • Angela D’Agostino, VP of Business Dev & Marketing, Bowker State of the Industry Today vs. 10 years ago
      • Fiction looks remarkably unchanged (e.g., John Grisham at #1)
      • Nonfiction in 1995: LIFE (e.g., self-improvement, humour, careers)
      • Nonfiction 2005: DEATH (e.g., alternative medicine, spirituality and religion)
      Bestseller list composition Growth in online channel
      • Online represented 2% of book sales in 1998 => 13% today
        • Growth at the expense of book clubs and traditional retail channels
        • Projected to be 22% of all book sales by 2011 (Forrester)
      • Characteristics of online buyers
        • 40 million US HH have made an online purchase in the past 3 months (“web shoppers”)
        • 8 million HH spend $500+ in last 3 months (“active web shoppers”)
        • Books comprise #1 category of for web shoppers and active web shoppers
        • 42% of web shoppers learn about books from book websites (other than book retailers)
        • 35% of web shoppers learn about books from book retailers
      • On vs. offline growth and decline by category
        • Growth online, decline offline: Heath/fitness, reference, cooking, sci fi/fantasy
        • Growth on and offline: Adult fiction, YA fiction, mystery/suspense, bio/autobiographies
        • Growth offline, decline online: games, sports, recreation, political science
      • Behaviour of today’s students as predictive indicator
        • 93% of students in 2006 access the Internet daily (Student Monitor, Spring 2006)
        • 32% of students have purchased books online in the past year for non-academic use
        • Digital books (nil today, but ~6% in 10 years) and “bundled texts and alternate media” growing (22% of 2006 sales; 28% in 10 years); traditional books from 43% to 28% in 10 years
      Growth in titles and publishers
      • Number of books in print has skyrocketed from 62,000 titles in 1995 to 225,000 titles in 2005
      • New publishers registering for ISBNS: 6,000 new pubs per year in 1990s to 10,000+ today
        • Growth driven by self-publishing (90% of new publishers)
        • Online makes it easier to find relevant audiences for niche content
    • David Worlock, Chairman, Electronic Publishing Services Ltd Observations on the State of the Industry
      • We must root this discussion in the power of the user, who unbalances decision making in traditional publishing
      • On the current state of publishing
        • We lack good ways of describing original network-based developments (“Network publishing”)
        • We have too many useless expressions that try to bridge format and deliver (“eBooks”)
        • Collaboration and strategic alliance are key elements (the publisher cannot manage alone)
        • Diversity and plurality are the distinguishing factors, and influence rights reuse, content remixing, self-publishing
        • Publishers who are trying to sell direct are experiencing the shock of encountering customers
        • Publishing on the network works best in narrowly defined market niches, yet commercially the major players get bigger and consolidate
      • In Worlock’s view of the future of publishing, publishers will
        • Publish printed works
          • Online promotion marketing and sales
          • Author web presence and brand development
        • Facilitate PoD
          • Print required quantity and format (e.g., Point Break Press)
          • Print at a convenient point (ondemandbooks.com)
        • Encourage invention
          • Test market, identify authors
          • Create multimedia platforms
          • Push appropriate activities out to authors
          • Leverage networks to encourage search, community, and efficient workflow
      • Forward looking questions
        • Can the publisher extend his role as impresario? Or are many publishing acts better enacted by authors?
        • What role will mixed revenue models play? (e.g., direct sale, rental, advertising-based, sponsorship)
        • Can publishers create genre-based communities or just recognize them?
        • Are publishers destined to become rights clearance agencies online or will that element become an automated element?
    • Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine On Long Tail observations
      • The long tail is comprised of
        • Lots of books: 172,000 books published in the US in 2005
        • A “head of blockbusters”: Commercially successful books comprised less than 1% of ISBNs in 2004
      • Change arises out of a shift
        • From expensive distribution channels with limited distribution capacity
        • To new marketplaces with infinite shelf space and the economics of abundance
      Quick review of Long Tail Evidence of Long Tail in books
      • In 2004, 6% of books sold more than 5,000 copies (as per Nielsen)
        • Niche titles (<5k units) make up 35% of unit sales
        • Midlist (5,000-50,000) comprises 42% of unit sales
        • Bestsellers (50k+) made up 23% of unit sales
      • Average title sold 500 copies per year
      Conclusions for book publishers
      • Opportunity exists to celebrate the quality and profitability inherent to the LT
        • Non-economic incentives drive the creation of plenty of books
        • Need to find a way to encourage and facilitate the consumption of these titles
        • Need to de-stigmatize the long tail
      • LT can affect book marketing
        • Fewer than 2,000 books/year (1%) will get benefit from a marketing budget
        • Book tour does not reach a sufficiently large audience
        • Book publicist knows a lot about books and key influencers in the book space (e.g., reviewers, radio shows, interviewers)
        • Author knows a lot about book subject, but little about book publicity
        • Therefore, find overlapping space of influencers in book subject area
      • Profit from the long tail by offering self-publishing services (e.g., Lulu)
      • Offer free eBooks and digital samplers
      • Offer free / low-cost audiobook downloads for hardcover purchasers
      • Encourage discovery of long tail titles via Google Book Search
    • Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine On blogging as DIY marketing case study
      • Blogging in parallel with writing
        • 2% of the words in the blog went into the blog
        • Test ideas, phrasing, and focus on the blog, but write the actual book copy offline
      • Bridge article (October 2004) to book (July 2006)
        • Own the meme, feed the meme, be the resource for the best content on the subject
        • Collaborate with readers: tape distributed intelligence and research
        • Beta test / peer review
        • Generate book buzz outside the author’s field of knowledge
      Overview of blog activity Marketing tactics Results
      • Free ARC to any blogger who wants to review it (the long tail of book reviewers)
        • 1,000 copies sent; 900 reviews generated on blogs
        • Act of asking for the book validates a blogger
        • Send electronic versions
      • Free ARC for reader contests
      • Crowdsourcing cover lines, art, etc
      • Meetup.com instead of signings
      • Subtitle and paperback cover created / chosen by blog readers
      • Results in first year: 180 posts, 120,000 words written, 1,600 visitors per day, 5,000 RSS subscribers, ranked #200 on technorati
      • Results today: 5,000 visitors per day, 20,000 RSS subscribers
      • Sell books at a channel agnostic price
        • Make $3 regardless of format
      • Advertising revenue models are going to be tough to implement in books
        • Lacks tradition of media spend habits and effectiveness data
      Seth Godin On opportunities in book publishing Economic models Define publishing in terms of finding ideas and connecting people WOM
      • The enemy is not piracy. The enemy is obscurity.
      • If books are not available and known, you are going to sell books. We cannot become invisible.
      • Joining culture of those who love books
      • Publishers have access to really smart people. The world wants to form communities around those people and wants access to them.
      • Even books that get bad reviews sell well
      • Permission: lets you tell your story. Lets you teach consumers.
        • Chris Anderson has permission to talk to people. His publisher doesn’t.
      • Authors must participate within community
        • There are plenty of poets in the world, but nobody gets paid to be poets anymore.
        • Thomas Pynchon will not be entitled to make $500,000 a year anymore. You cannot be anonymous
      • By putting an idea into the grapevine, the idea will spread
      • Flip the funnel and turn it into a megaphone
      • Give people a tool with which readers can talk about something that matters to them
      • Every time you sell a book, ship an extra to give away
      • Publishers can help shepherd a person from obscurity to success
        • Help authors develop their blog
      • Unleashing the Ideavirus (Seth Godin)
        • Print “souvenir” copy made it to #5 on Amazon, despite a free copy online
      • Eastern Standard Tribe (Cory Doctorow)
        • Free copies online, but it still sells
      Seth Godin On opportunities in book publishing Free digital books Lessons from music industry Other advice
      • There is no music industry, just gangsters who are trying to take advantage
      • Live events pay and the long tail works
      • Entrepreneurs can make a good living via performance
      • The idea that Van Morrison can make $150,000 a night just sleeping is going away
      • The more they fight against it, the worse they do
      • Sell CDs as souvenirs after the concert
      • What we need to learn is not from the music industry, it’s from the musicians
      • Will authors show the publishers how to win in the way musicians have changed music?
      • Prevailing belief among publishers
        • Book publishers oriented their business to the sale of paper, rather than the books in the form desired by customers
        • Publishers should promote books by sharing mass volume of communications to consumers and influencers
      • Publishers have missed opportunities because they define what they do around print books
      • If you think about it as “I’m in the book business and I need to protect it.”, you are doomed. The model is going away anyway.
      • “ My message to publishers is this: Either you are going to be the centre of the universe in 5 years, or you are going to be Pluto.”
      Books as souvenirs
      • Ideas are free, book is the souvenir
      • T-shirts at Disney don’t keep you warm. They hold memories of your vacation.
      • The book is on your shelf so you can remember it fondly.
    • Author panel: Cory Doctorow, Author, Blogger, Academic
      • Released full text of first book under Creative Commons at time of print publication
        • Suite of licenses created to allow authors and other producers of content to grant permissions to an audience
        • Audience could only distribute content
        • 30,000 copies distributed within first 24 hours
      • Upon publication of second novel ( Eastern Standard Tribe ), changed license of first novel to allow audience to change the content
      • With third novel, high income countries could distribute it freely and developing nations could do whatever they want with the content
      • First short story collection sold out of its print run in 2 weeks
      • 750,000 copies distributed; 10s of thousands sold
        • Poor conversion rate by some measures
        • But not worse than the conversion seen when people pick up a book off the shelf and put it down
      Free digital books as promotional tool BoingBoing.net
      • Under Wired masthead
      • Give away as much content as possible
      • Reading novels (substitute for audiobooks)
      • Imperfections create familiarity and authenticity for readers
      • You’ll go see your brother’s friend’s band, not because they are great, but because they are associated with your brother’s friend
      • Gives authors a chance to perform in a way that audiobooks read by a professional narrator don’t
      Podcasts
    • Author panel: Cory Doctorow, Author, Blogger, Academic
      • Readers are actively engaged in the work
        • More than an ambulatory wallet
      • No one has ever succeeded by telling customers that what they want is wrong
      • Social activity should surround writing
        • Making a copy and giving it to someone else is a social act
        • eBooks are made for copying and excerpting into sig files
      • Readers have a leisure surplus
        • More interesting stuff available at a click than we have time to discover
        • So much stuff competing for our attention, that making something 2 clicks away is foolish
        • Who decided that old newspaper articles were worth charging money for, but new news should be given away free?
      Reader engagement Future of eBooks
      • Factors working against the replacement of print books by ebooks
        • People who do read books have a deep emotional attachment to print format
        • Books appeal to people who are purvy for print books
        • Traditional media will become quaint or become transformed
      • You don’t read eBooks off the screen
        • Long form narrative is poorly suited to interruptions from other things on the PC/Internet
        • Attention conservation principle
          • Short blogs
          • Filter via headline, excerpt
      • How do you make books more relevant to people who sit at computer all day?
    • Author panel: Cory Doctorow, Author, Blogger, Academic Book search
      • Should work like web search – no one company should control it, should not be proprietary
      • When you search the web about a topic, books, along with webpages, should pop up
      Distribution
      • As soon as you let a company like Apple be in charge of exclusive distribution, you are screwed
        • Edgar Bronfman Sr. went to Switzerland and got the Nazi gold. Edgar Bronfman Jr. went to Cupertino and couldn’t get $1.50 per song
      • Intershelving old and new books: “Used titles are a gateway drug to new titles”
      • What can Amazon not do? Have authors sign a bunch of stock and sell via independents
        • If publishers can get authors to sign before shipping, then there is something publishers can do uniquely
      Economic models
      • My problem wasn’t piracy, it was obscurity
      • From authors’ perspectives, more fame is more money for speaking, board seats for authors
      • Why don’t more people care about literature enough to steal books? That’s what we should be trying to figure out.
      • Books are as hard to copy today as they will ever be. It’s only going to get easier
        • DRM doesn’t work. If it worked, the software industry would use it.. If it worked, you’d see it on Microsoft product.
    • Author panel: JA Konrath
      • Success lies in what you have to offer, not in what you have to sell
      • How to use audience aggregators (e.g., YouTube)
      Publisher mindset Author brand
      • Define author brand in 3-4 words/phrases
      • Authors should spend 90% of nonwriting time getting brand out there
      • Just knowing an author’s name is not enough
      • Need name recognition coupled with a positive experience, entertainment, information
      Book marketing
      • Top down advertising: kill a gnat with a sledgehammer
        • Reach a small number of readers by broadcasting to people, most of whom have no interest
      • Bottom up advertising: reach people who you know are interested
        • Dropped into 612 bookstores in 29 states
        • Free signed book to bookseller
        • Help handselling by reciting short pitch aligning book to 4 bestsellers
      • Searching for mice or throw cheese in the corner and wait for the mice to come to you
      • While we are targeting readers, there are readers who are actively looking for you
      • With an online presence, publishers can give readers entertainment, information, awareness
      • Stickiness
        • Low stickiness associated with ad for a book
        • Content, excerpts, newsletter, free backlist books will be high stickiness
        • Blog entries from 2 years ago still generate comments
      • Myspace: Share fans with big name authors
      • Websites dedicated to single title
        • More than book trailer; need forums for fan discussion, author talks, screensavers
      Distribution
      • Portable, multiple formats: buy 1 book, all formats
      • Buy chip with 20 Stephen King books for $30
    • Author panel: Josh Kilmer-Purcell
      • Memorist Collective
      • Collaborative promotional efforts across authors
      • Publicists working together across the houses
      Case example
      • 43% of Internet users who are members of online communicate say that they feel as strongly about their virtual community as they do about their physical communities
      • 20% of online community emmbers take action offline that relates back to their community
        • e.g., buying books
      • Made lots of friends
      • Blogged
      • Joint myspace page, combine individual friends, blog about each other, contest to get introduction to agent
      • Writing contest with winning memoir proposal being read by editors at 3 major publishing houses
        • Press release: 2618 Google hits, 8853 blog and myspace mentions
        • 1200 entries, 40K+ blog hits
        • Announced winner via live podcast
        • Viral video thanking each entrant personally
      • 13,000+ myspace connections in place for authors’ next books
      • Compilation of video from drag queen days
      • Reviews at the end of the clip (mimicking a movie trailer)
      Stats MySpace activities Viral video
    • Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media
      • Look at killer apps of new millennium: google, eBay, yahoo, amazon.com, mapquest, craiglist, myspace
      • All information businesses - should we call them publishers too?
      • Joining software and publishing
      • Software delivered as a service, not a shrink-wrapped package
      • Internet as platform, no longer the PC
      • Uses the network to get better
      • Take something that someone has done and make it better
        • Mash-ups: housingmaps.com
        • Google: every time someone makes a web link, they contribute to search results
        • eBay: critical mass of buyers and sellers makei t hard for others to enter the market
        • Amazon: more than 10 MM user reviews
        • Craigslist: self-service classified ads with few employees
      • Content as database
        • The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think (E. Schlossberg)
        • The skill of programming is to create a context in which other people can share
      What is Web 2.0? Redefining book publishing
      • Harry Potter: creating imaginary world…same business as World of Warcraft
      • Britannica: reference…same as wikipedia
      • Google is a partner and an enabler of our new competitors
    • Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media O’Reilly Book Model
      • Teaching
      • Reference
      • Edutainment
      • Content in searchable database that integrates with Google
      • Not ebooks: Web-services enabled content database
      • Buy print book, buy pdf (for less), buy subscription to Safari Books
      • Rough Cuts = perpetual beta reveals books while under development
        • 60% chose PDF
        • 36% pdf+print
        • 4% print only
      • SafariU Remix: create customized course materials
      • Search changes the reading experience
        • People read less than 5% of any book in any given month
        • Long tail drives access to older content
        • 23% of Safari views
        • 6% of print book sales
      Safari Books Online