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How the internet is changing book marketing
 

How the internet is changing book marketing

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From the perspective of the Canadian market – a market that shares much in common with our own – Random House Canada's Heather Sanderson takes a look at current practice and trends in digital ...

From the perspective of the Canadian market – a market that shares much in common with our own – Random House Canada's Heather Sanderson takes a look at current practice and trends in digital marketing, some of the cutting edge things she's doing with both individual books and community building initiatives. As a hands-on practitioner as well as well seasoned trend-watcher, Heather is uniquely placed to discuss how the internet is changing book and ebook marketing.

Heather Sanderson, Manager, Digital Sales and Business Development, Random House of Canada

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  • Thank you! I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been touring around the country for the past couple of weeks and absolutely adore it - it’s beautiful! So thank you for having me. I’m here today to talk about how the internet is changing book and ebook marketing.
  • So what does that mean? What am I going to talk about today? First I’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of the Canadian marketplace so that you can get a sense of where I’m coming from and then I’ll talk about the four major ways that I think the Internet has changed book marketing. The internet now provides us as book publishers and as digital marketers with the ability to: offer relevant content to consumers To create community in different ways around this content To interact directly with consumers across the country regardless of where they live and to have access to web analytics. To be able to measure exactly what our efforts are doing, and to see what people are doing online. Ultimately through these key fundamental changes, we can now interact directly with our consumers. This is the biggest change that the Internet has brought to marketing for book publishers. So let’s start - and I hope you’ll have some questions for me at the end. In case there’s something that doesn’t make sense, or that I haven’t covered.
  • Canada is unique in that we have both large English and French markets, and of course because of our shared border with the US.
  • Between Canadian originated books, and imports from the US, UK and others, there were just under one million print ISBNs available in Canada in 2008. I have heard that we have the highest number of English text ISBNs available in the world. So it’s a very crowded marketplace - and these numbers are only increasing every year. We find that consumers are confused by all of the choice.
  • Here’s a breakdown of our sales channels. As you can see, the majority of our book sales come from one chain called chapters indigo. Online sales currently represent somewhere between 4 and 8 percent of the overall. This, we’re not entirely sure about because chapters doesn’t break out their sales information. But that online piece of the pie is growing. Only 5 years ago it was at just less than 1 per cent.
  • Canada is also vast in terms of land mass. And the majority of publishers are based in Toronto, Ontario. This central hub has historically led to supply chain problems when shipping books out to booksellers on the West Coast in particular - often this process can take upwards of a week.
  • To further compound this distribution problem multinational publishers typically ship their books up from US warehouses, adding more time, and cost to the process.
  • Now just a bit about Random House in particular because I’ll be making references to it throughout. Random House of Canada is split into two divisions. We have Random House, Knopf and Vintage Canada on one side, and Doubleday, Anchor and Bond Street Books on the other. Seal Books is our mass market imprint, and is shared by both divisions. We also own 25% of McClelland and Stewart, which is Canada’s oldest publisher - just over 100 years old. And we act as the Canadian distributor for Random House US, and UK as well as several other third party clients.
  • So those are the bare basics of the Canadian marketplace and how Random House works, now I have just a few notes on the online space in Canada before we can get going. Canadians are BIG internet users. Most of this has to do with the fact that broadband is so widely available and we tend to spend a lot of our time online. People joke that this must be in part because of the long, cold winters. I don’t know if that is the case - but I won’t discount it.
  • Okay, so now that you know the background, let’s talk about change. And, in particular, how the internet has changed book marketing. To help me out here, I want to show a quick video that I hope you haven’t seen before. It’s one of my favourites and it’s a conversation that might feel familiar to many of you. It’s called BookLaunch 2.0.
  • Perhaps the biggest change the Internet has really brought is this feeling of being overwhelmed. The fact of the matter is that audiences are spending their time in places that didn’t exist two years ago. So how do you decide what to do? How do you even begin to know what is out there? And where to focus your efforts? How can you use the Internet as a tool to help your consumers cut through all of the choice and find the books that they want?
  • First of all, you need to focus on what you have available. And in book publishing, our content is paramount. Our content becomes our currency online and there are endless opportunities and ways to get content into the hands of consumers.
  • Whether it’s in the form of an excerpts or extended content available on your own websites. This could be a widget or just plain text, and then feeding this same content out to retailers. Once these basics are covered, then there are more and more opportunities all the time to utilize this content in other places. The google partner program automatically provides a wider audience and reach. With the ability to control how much of a book can be viewed at one time, and with direct links to purchase the book, this is a great marketing opportunity for you and your authors. And there are more and more new outlets popping up every day. These new content companies such as Scribed, Issuu, and Wattpad mainly exist around user generated content. But they are also working with publishers to get excerpts, and in some cases eBooks up on the sites for sale. And I’ll talk a bit about how Shortcovers fits into this a bit later. Though putting digital content out there is often faced with fear that either the text will be pirated, or that consumers won’t buy the book if they can read it online, really this has only provided new ways to get people to sample your product. And remember that…
  • bookstores don’t shrinkwrap books for a reason. Now, giving away content isn’t new. Publishers have always been giving away content in the form of Advanced Reading Copies or other print formats to try to kick-start word of mouth buzz about a book. But the internet has changed how you can utilize this practice. Instead of getting one person out there to read a physical copy and maybe tell a few people about it. Now providing access to content to everyone allows more consumers to amplify their message and word of mouth is extended quickly and easily online. With this in mind, giving content away should always be used as a marketing mechanism. Often short punchy chunks of text work better and get better sales results than giving away the entire book for free might, but we have experimented here as well and I’ll talk about that a bit later.
  • The online world allows for partnerships with large websites, that have direct access to the consumers who traffic these sites. Each website here has a different target demographic based on age group, life stage, or common interest. Books, as we know, are already published in genres, and partnerships with these websites allow you to package the books that you have along different themes. Leveraging content provides access to different online communities.
  • The next key change is that we are able to immediately provide communities with content that is RELEVANT to their interests. To put books in front of them that they are more likely to find interesting, to talk about, to share, and to tell other people to buy. Community empowers consumers to become advocates for our books. To write a blog post about the book, or share it on Facebook for example. To let entire networks of friends know about a new book that they found and to help guide their friends through all of the million ISBNs of choices available. Social networks have shown us that people care more about what their friends are doing, reading, liking and buying. They trust a friends recommendation over that of any one else. Since online communities are built around and for people. Publishers can also join these networks, but you have to be really careful that you understand the environment you are getting into. You have to participate in it on a regular basis - both as a user and as a marketer. And be sure that any interaction that you partake in is done with the utmost transparency. People don’t mind that we’re there - in fact, they often like it. But you have to gain their trust first.
  • I’ll touch a bit more on social networks later today, so I won’t talk too much on them now, but there is no doubt that social networking is a trend that we were watching and interested in before it exploded, mainly because it provides a mechanism for people to do what they do naturally offline, but in a more visible way. That is to identify themselves with a community or group of like-minded individuals who are interested in the same thing. Membership within some of the niche communities change constantly and have members cycling through, while others tend to grow more organically and retain membership over time. Now, thanks to the internet, and web 2.0 in particular, we as digital marketers are able to find these people - to watch how the conversation in the network evolves and to either tap into their existing communities, or if it appears as though a community is missing we can build one to fill the void.
  • While social networks do seem to make it easy to build communities, there are a variety of other ways to build for and to utilize the nature of communities. A couple of years ago we decided to relaunch our corporate websites, and to launch new sites based on reader groups, or themes. This was a bit ahead of the explosion of web 2.0, but it is still a relevant way of building community. We launched mysterybooks.ca for mystery lovers and relaunched bookclubs.ca with a new look and feel - making it easy for bookclubs to come and find featured picks. And the biggest new community we launched was booklounge.ca. This is a site that you sign up for, and was built with avid readers in mind. Once a consumer signs up, they then have access to vip content areas such as an insider’s blog which is sort of an inside scoop written by both employees and guest authors, audios, videos, contests for signed books and vip events. We also launched a newsletter with each of these websites to push content and new information out to consumers, and they also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Aside from making avid readers feel like vips, the key community aspect of booklounge.ca is a panel that you can also sign up for if you are from Canada. We call this our editorial board, and go out to them with a survey every month. People love to talk about the books that they read, and we give them an opportunity to tell us what they’re reading - and to tell them what we think they’ll like. We also ask about ads we’ve run, what they like and don’t like about our websites, newsletters, where they find their book information, and the different technologies and websites they use.
  • Another fun new initiative we have is with your own Stoneleigh wines. Through our BookClubs.ca site, we have been building strong relationships with the community of bookclub members and found that they have a lot in common with Stoneleigh’s key customers. Stoneleigh has put necktags around all of their wine bottles in liquor stores across Canada featuring 5 of our books, and we in turn, have built a stoneleigh section of our website. This partnership gets our books featured in a unqiue place offline and is a logical fit - since the bookclub community are also often wine lovers.
  • There are emerging communities online all the time, but sometimes there is still a void. So, what if you have a whole bunch of content and you can’t find a community out there? Here’s another unique change - it’s now easy, and inexpensive to build your own social network. I’ll talk about Ning later today as well, but I just want to give you a sense of some of the communities that we have built. We have experimented both with communities around themed packages of books, individual titles, and age demographics. I’ll show a few examples of how this can work. We seemed to have a lot of books around the concept of aging and so we got all of our authors onboard to participate in a community if we built one. FlaviaFanClub.com is a community built around a single series of books that we really wanted to focus on. Again the author is participating in the discussion here. An we also were able to get publishers in other countries to help promote the series in their marketing efforts. Chuck Pahlaniuk’s newest book Pygmy has a fictional character who does a lot of different, oddly named maneuvers like Lashing Lynx and Flying Giant Stork Death Kick. Chuck has a big online following, and so we asked his fans to join our community and post a photo of themselves doing one of these maneuvers. Chuck selected his favourite and that person received a signed copy of the book. Our most recent community is Bookurious. This is targeted to the teen demographic - a very difficult age group to deal with online due to legalities and the fact that they are quick to change their online affinities, but we have nearly 300 members in just a month’s time. And are able to keep the teens here through making reading cool and doing contests for advanced reading copies to entice commenting and discussions.
  • Talk about change for publishers! Large corporations test-market their products with consumers to no end before bringing them to market. And what do we do? We work on a history of editorial gut. An innate ability to act as a gatekeeper and deciding what will sell - which, don’t get me wrong, does seem to work most of the time. But. we send thousands of new products into the marketplace each year with very little prior knowledge of how the consumers will respond. Now we are able to participate in a conversation with consumers - and to ask them questions in advance about a cover, for example. Or to get feedback from posts, reviews, and ratings to determine what it is they like or, sometimes more importantly didn’t like about a book. Or an author. We are able to engage in a one-on-one relationship with our consumers. And this is revolutionary. This changes the very principles of how our business model is set up.
  • It’s all well and good to build a community or to get yourself on twitter or facebook. But you can’t just set it up and leave it. You have to cross-promote. To have “join us on Facebook” in your newsletters and on your websites. Or even put your twitter name in your print ads. Coordination across channels is key.
  • Through this one-on-one conversation with our BookLounge panel, we found that many of our members want to attend an author event, but because the publishing industry is Toronto-centric, many readers do not live near the events. Here is another source of change.
  • We recently had an author, Lori Lansens, who was suddenly unable to travel for her book tour. Thanks to the Internet, we were able to cancel the tour and change it mid-stride. Instead, we did our first live-stream video event with the author from California to a room of VIP BookLounge members, and other key media partners. So you’re saying, great - the author’s there from California, and that’s cool, but the event is still in Toronto. So what about the people across the country?
  • The unique part was to run a contest so that 6 winners from across the country could join us and Lori on-screen at the same time. And, if people didn’t win the contest, they could still watch the whole event online. We can involve people across the country in events through new technology like livestreaming and in this case, we also used something called tokbox. We can make people feel more included and that we are aware of the fact that they want to attend more events, and can’t.
  • Web analytics is one of my most favourite things in the whole world. I measure everything. Maybe a bit too much. But measuring is a change that only the online world can bring. I remember when we first started running Google ad words and explained to the ad guys that we could see the number of impressions, clicks etc. They were blown away! Before setting out to build an online campaign you first need to determine your goals. Then measure unique visitors both in general and from your campaigns. You can use a simple, free tool like Google Analytics to do this. Track and measure the number of fans, followers, members. Keep track of growth. And also look at what people are doing to engage - how many comments, ratings, rankings. And the quality of them. What they are saying - that’s more important than the number. And of course, then look to see if your efforts drove sales. This is easy to determine if the transaction was made online - either through your own site or through using affiliate codes if you link off to amazon, for example. We often also find that people are taking our newsletters, or pages from our websites, printing them off, and taking them to stores. So looking at the number of times something is printed is also useful.
  • And keep trying.
  • Partly in thanks to the Internet, eBooks are now bringing about a whole new world of change. This new product has the potential to revolutionize how we work as an industry. And eBooks make it essential to watch new content companies such as Scribed, Issue, Wattpad - to see how they are adapting and changing business models. But with this change comes a whole new world of opportunity - to play with new ways of developing and disseminating content. To monitor community reactions more quickly, and to get accurate numbers on marketing promotions that you try with eBooks - who took advantage of your offer, where did they come from, and what did they do with it. Here is a big chance to get to know consumers closely and to watch behaviour.
  • Why bother marketing eBooks so early in the game? Jumping on the bandwagon of something that is making reading new and cool - by promoting the eBook of a title, and reading in general we’ll see sales for all books increase across the board. In all formats.
  • One more quick example as to how eBooks tie this all together. I just worked on our first free eBook giveaway with Shortcovers. We had a new book, The Taken, coming out both in hardcover and in eBook form. It’s a mystery book - which is one of the genres that sell well in eBook form. And the book is by an anonymous author - so it’s difficult to promote. We had a few goals in mind. First, we wanted to raise awareness of the new print book. Second, we wanted to get people to read the first book, The Calling. Third, we wanted to do the first-ever test in the Canadian-only marketplace for an eBook giveaway. Shortcovers had just finished building territoriality into their giveaway technology and newsletter promotion technology. This would help to set a benchmark for any future giveaways or promotions in the Canadian marketplace. Lastly, we wanted to raise awareness of the eBook format. We offered the first eBook in the series, The Calling, for Free for a limited time and gave 40% off the eBook format of the Taken. We did a few things to promote this - took out an ad in a national newspaper, as you can see here, to promote both the new print book, and the giveaway. Shortcovers did a dedicated newsletter to their list of Canadian consumers. We tapped into our mystery book communities and sent a newsletter out to them, as well as promoting the giveaway online via our mysterybooks twitter and facebook feeds.
  • We saw a high number of free eBooks by the Canadian audience. This could be because this was our first Canada-only initiative (and it was branded with McClelland & Stewart) whereas any of the other free promos that Shortcovers has done have been with US distribution titles and these books tend not to be to the Canadian reader’s tastes. We got great exposure for eBooks and for shortcovers. And since this is a recent campaign, we expect to see an increase of sales of the new book over the next month or so, hopefully as people finish reading the eBook of The Calling and want more. So we have tested and measured. Now to optimize. Next time we might offer the promo for a longer period of time - this was only offered for 10 days - to see if that impacts the results.
  • The internet has changed how we interact with text by reading it on-screen and in smaller chunks. eBooks seem to be even more personal than a print book. People are reading them on personal devices like mobile smartphones. Or dedicated readers. Either way the experience can be instant and if someone is extremely satisfied or dissatisfied either with the device, application, process, or with the book itself the eBook landscape is one where people are highly vocal.
  • So then what? How do we bring this all together? I’d like to propose that the online world has provided us with a new equation - and new ways to change our business models in order to thrive. The internet suddenly puts us into a changed world where we’re no longer only a B2B business, but now also have to be a consumer-centric D2C business. Essentially, the Internet has the potential to change how we communicate directly with consumers and how consumers communicate with one another. People love to talk about the books that they have read, and want to make sure that others read a book that they loved. It’s this power of word of mouth that, through web 2.0 and user generated content, we now have the ability to find Fans of our books, to tell them about other books they might like, and to engage them and empower them to share our message and, ultimately, this conversation and awareness will lead to increased sales.
  • So…There are always lots of reasons or excuses to not change….the most common I hear are “I don’t have enough time or enough people to do all of that” and “I don’t know where to start”. Or that the internet is a scary place full of rogue pirates ready to steal my business.
  • But we have to recognize that things are constantly changing/evolving in the world of the internet and you have to be able to participate. You have to be in there, learning. Living and breathing this stuff in order to understand and to use it. Just get in there and test some things out. That’s the best way to learn.
  • So then, what’s next? A few of the things we’re watching are video and live streaming. There are currently 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute and in the next 5 years about 1/4 of all of the entertainment on the web will be user generated. So finding unique ways to use video for marketing will be important. We’re also looking at how to get into and work in the emerging mobile market. The ebook explosion and what is happening to the value of content online. And, finding new ways to monetize content or community interactions.

How the internet is changing book marketing How the internet is changing book marketing Presentation Transcript

  • So Then What? How the Internet is changing book and ebook marketing.
  • Brought to you by the Letter ‘C’:
    • Canada, eh?
    • Change
    • Community
    • Content
    • Coast-to-coast
    • Counting
    • Consumers
  •  
  • A few numbers…
    • In 2008 there were:
      • 976,616 ISBNs
      • 411,120 with sales
  • -Turner-Riggs, 2009
  • Centralized in Toronto -Turner-Riggs, 2009
  • US Distribution -Turner-Riggs, 2009
  • Random House of Canada
  • Some stats
    • 94% of Canadian households now have access to a broadband internet (CRTC 2008)
    • MediaMetrix comScore analyzed and ranked the top 10 countries in the world by average hours online per visitor for January 2007
      • Canada ranked #1 , with the average user spending 39.6 hours online during the month
  •  
  • http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v = yxschLOAr-s
  • Content
    • Limited budgets
      • Look at what you do have, what you can do with it and get for it
      • The Internet only exists because of content
      • Get the content into the hands of the consumers
      • Access to new media outlets for promotion
  •  
  • Content
    • Remember that bookstores don't shrinkwrap books for a reason.
  • Partnerships
  • Community
    • Community is built around content, conversation and word of mouth
    • There’s so much out there, I don’t know what to read!
    • I trust what my friends tell me.
    • Transparency.
  • Community
    • Networks are natural
    • Networks are constantly changing & so is your market
  •  
  • www.BookClubs.ca/stoneleigh
  •  
  • Community
    • Allow you to participate in a conversation with consumers
      • Market research
      • Ask questions
      • Listen
      • Be transparent
  • Community and Content
    • If you build it, will they come?
      • Cannot stand alone
      • Need to promote wherever you promote the book
        • Offline ads need the URL
  • Coast-to-coast Inclusion
    • Editorial Board members who have never attended an author event
      • 29% do not hear about them and
      • 36% hear about them, but the events are not in their area
  •  
  •  
  • Counting
    • If you built it, did they come?
      • State your goals
      • Measure unique visitors
      • Number of fans/followers/members
      • Engagement
        • Number of comments/ratings/rankings
          • Quality of them
      • Did it drive sales?
  • Counting Test Measure Optimize
  • Triple C: eBooks
    • Provide an opportunity to experiment
    • Tie together
      • Content
      • Community
      • Counting
  • eBooks
    • We’ll make the proverbial “all books rise” by selling the eBook.
    • The marketing of the eBook will also make the print book sales increase.
  •  
  • Results
    • There was a great uptake on free offers and it really engages the customer.
    • Increased visibility and readership for the author on Shortcovers.
    • Expect continued sales as people read their free book and become dedicated Wolfe readers and Shortcovers customers.
  • eBooks
    • Highly personal
      • Mobile
      • Dedicated devices
      • Instant
      • Ratings/comments
        • Applications and books themselves
  • New Equation B2B D2C + Web 2.0 UGC Fans = Engagement Sales ↓ ↓
  •  
  •  
  • So then, what’s next?
    • Trends to watch
      • Video (live-stream too)
      • mobile
      • ebook explosion/value of content
      • finding new ways to monetize content
  • The End
    • Questions?
    • Contact info:
      • [email_address]
      • @hsanderson