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The Ebook Revolution - San Francisco Writers Conference 2010 with Dan Poynter and Mark Coker


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At the 2010 San Francisco Writers Conference, Dan Poynter (Para Publishing) and Mark Coker (Smashwords) presented this session titled, "The EBook Revolution." Attendees learned how to produce, publish, price, distribute and market a multi-format ebook.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

The Ebook Revolution - San Francisco Writers Conference 2010 with Dan Poynter and Mark Coker

  1. 1. San Francisco Writers Conference Dan Poynter of Para Publishing Mark Coker of Smashwords The Ebook Revolution February 13, 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>Is About to Begin </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Pioneering publisher & distributor of eBooks </li></ul><ul><li>Founder of Smashwords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A free service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serving 3,500 authors and publishers—worldwide. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contributing blogger to Huffington Post </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Selling downloadable documents since 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking on eBook since early 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher of eBooks </li></ul><ul><li>Reader of eBooks </li></ul><ul><li>Dan is an eBook </li></ul><ul><li>author, publisher, advocate & consumer </li></ul>
  5. 5. The eBook Revolution How eReaders are Transforming Publishing © 2010
  6. 6. S: Someone printed out the whole thing?
  7. 7. <ul><li>Attending the Writers Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Deciding to wring more value out of your work. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pBooks to eBooks </li></ul></ul> 
  8. 8. <ul><li>How many have a </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kindle? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sony Reader? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>iPhone or iPod Touch? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PocketPC? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other reader? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read eBooks on a computer screen? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How many publish eBooks? </li></ul>Still write letters and buy stamps?
  9. 9. 9 editions of the same Work
  10. 10. <ul><li>For credibility </li></ul><ul><li>For promotion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To opinion molders & thought leaders </li></ul></ul>Uploading is faster then printing S: Cape Town
  11. 11. <ul><li>People on the move </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Portable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less weight & volume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think outside the (paper) book </li></ul></ul>Audiobooks My travels
  12. 12. <ul><li>Less expensive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No typesetting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No printing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No inventory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No wrapping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No physical shipping </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quicker to market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speed of light </li></ul></ul>S: Spm-2 editions
  13. 13. <ul><li>Amazon Kindle books to iPhone. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1,000,000? Kindles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45 million iPhones and iPOD Touches. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More hardware is coming. </li></ul><ul><li>Some reading devices are large enough to replace newspapers and magazines. </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>The World is your potential market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are selling information—not hard goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribute via the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No cost to ship </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No import duty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No sales taxes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instant delivery </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 16. N: Mark Coker
  16. 17. <ul><li>Pioneering publisher & distributor of eBooks </li></ul><ul><li>Founder of Smashwords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A free service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serving 3,500 authors and publishers— worldwide. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contributing blogger to Huffington Post </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>eBook publishing and distribution platform </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Launched 24 months ago </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authors upload Word .doc, we convert to multiple eBook formats, publish instantly. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>7,500+ eBooks published </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3,500+ authors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Mission: make eBook publishing fast, easy, FREE and profitable for authors/publishers </li></ul>
  18. 20. <ul><li>Only the delivery substrate changes </li></ul><ul><li>Each represents a different way to convey knowledge, information, entertainment </li></ul>
  19. 22. <ul><li>Made poor first impression on early adopters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Screens poor substitute for paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overpriced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DRM = confusion, frustration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited selection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… yet the failure of eBooks was greatly exaggerated </li></ul>
  20. 23. Data: AAP plus recent sales data. 2009 is an estimate based on YTD percentage growth rate Jan-Nov 2009, multiplied by 2008 sales
  21. 24. Data: AAP
  22. 26. <ul><li>“ When we have both (print and eBook) editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>--Jeff Bezos/Amazon, January 28, 2010 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 27. <ul><li>Early adopters new evangelists </li></ul><ul><li>Screen reading rivals paper </li></ul><ul><li>Proliferation of great eBook devices and apps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedicated devices: Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, B&N Nook, Apple iPad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile phones: eBook-ready smart phones, including iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eBook apps: Stanza on iPhone (2.5+ million users) and Aldiko on Android phones (100,000 users) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free books are gateway </li></ul><ul><li>Greater content selection </li></ul><ul><li>Lower prices </li></ul><ul><li>Impulse buying </li></ul>
  24. 28. <ul><li>Superior reading experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Screens will become better than paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customizable reading experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limitless library in the cloud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant gratification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prices dropping for both eBooks and eBook reading devices </li></ul>Photo credit:
  25. 30. <ul><li>Fastest growing segment of book publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Instant worldwide market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shelves everywhere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Never go out of print </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible publishing (short stories, full length) </li></ul><ul><li>Favorable economics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faster, easier, cheaper to publish an eBook than a print book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little to no incremental cost to go from p- to e- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No printing, inventory, returns, shipping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower retail cost + worldwide availability </li></ul></ul>Image credit:
  26. 31. Larger available market Low Cost More sales & profit
  27. 33. <ul><li>Forget (some of) what you know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t try to make e- look like p- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>eBooks consumed differently that print </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less = more with eBooks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Liberate text from complex formatting and layout </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>eBooks are shape-shifting creatures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(see next slide) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  28. 34. <ul><li>Example of Smashwords novel, </li></ul><ul><li>All Good Things Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iPhone, using the Stanza reader. User-selected options: Font: Verdana; Background pattern: Stone carving; text color: Dark Violet; Font size: larger than normal </li></ul></ul>
  29. 35. <ul><li>Migrate your easy books first </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fiction/Poetry/Biographies easy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Picture books, complex layout, more challenging </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoid DRM Copy Protection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adds complexity and expense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DRM treats law abiding customers like criminals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use DRM-free as competitive advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obscurity a bigger risk to authors than piracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lead the inevitable change, don’t be victimized by it </li></ul></ul>
  30. 36. <ul><li>There are many different eBook formats </li></ul><ul><li>Why multi-format matters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDF does not = eBook anymore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-format lets customer enjoy your book their way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expands your distribution options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expands selling opportunities </li></ul></ul>
  31. 38. <ul><li>EPUB - An open standard for eBooks. Critical format. </li></ul><ul><li>PDF - A good format if your work contains fancy formatting, charts or images. Horrible for straight form narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Plain Text - The most easily read format, works on virtually any screen </li></ul><ul><li>.MOBI - For Amazon's Kindle reading device, others </li></ul><ul><li>RTF - Cross-platform document format supported by many word processors and devices </li></ul><ul><li>Learn more in the Smashwords Style Guide: </li></ul>
  32. 39. <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most print books originate in Word, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>InDesign and Quark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipate the shape shift </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplify formatting and layout, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see Smashwords Style Guide at </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conversion Options </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automated (e.g. Amazon, Smashwords) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct from book layout software (e.g. save as PDF) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversion tools (Google ‘eBook conversion tools’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex books ( hire an eBook formatter/coder) </li></ul></ul>
  33. 41. printer Print Publisher Shipper/w/d customer bookseller customer ebookseller customer ebookseller E-distributor customer E-publisher E-publisher E-publisher remainder pass along Used bookstores PRINT BOOKS eBOOKS
  34. 42. <ul><li>Proliferation of digital shelves </li></ul><ul><li>Online retailers </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon,, Sony, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Apple iBooks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dozens of smaller, specialized retailers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Smashwords, Omnilit, Diesel-Ebooks) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hybrid retailers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile E-Reading apps (Stanza, Aldiko, Kobo, Word-Player) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ebooks as apps (Apple, Android, Blackberry App World, Palm, Nokia) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing platforms (Amazon, Scribd, Smashwords, Sony) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eBook Distributors (one to many) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ingram Digital, Mobipocket, Overdrive, Smashwords </li></ul></ul></ul>
  35. 43. <ul><li>Determine objective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximize readers, profits or both? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Price lower than print </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The higher the price, the smaller the market </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Price is not sole determining factor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you create insatiable desire, price matters less </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High prices may encourage piracy </li></ul>
  36. 44. Source: Smashwords survey of 13,500 recent purchases, analyzing relative total net sales at each price point per title Preliminary data. Revenue data for price points $11.00 and higher may lack statistical significance due to lower underlying sample size.
  37. 45. Source: Smashwords random survey of 353 “name-your-own-price” sales Average, paid sales: $3.20 Median, paid sales: $3.00 Average, paid & free: $.49
  38. 46. <ul><li>Free as a strategy for audience building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminates friction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversion opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to sell things that go with your free stuff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds goodwill </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Danger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can devalue content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alternatives to free </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free samples that lead to sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contests with free eBook prizes </li></ul></ul>
  39. 47. <ul><li>Marketing begins BEFORE you finish book </li></ul><ul><li>You are the brand, your book is your product </li></ul><ul><li>Word of mouth most important </li></ul><ul><li>Go viral with social media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make easy for fans to share links to your book via social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shareable samples and coupons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog tours instead of book tours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support community reviews (bloggers, Librarything, Goodreads, Shelfari) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Widgets (shareable, interactive ads) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More ideas in the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide at </li></ul></ul>
  40. 48. <ul><li>Develop and implement an eBook strategy now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your readers want eBooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digitize easy books first </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design for plain and simple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get closer to your customer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enlist readers and fans as your sales force </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t abandon print </li></ul>
  41. 49. <ul><li>“ .&quot; </li></ul>Where to find Mark Coker: Web: Blog: blog HuffPo: huffingtonpost .com/mark- coker Twitter: @ markcoker Email: first initial second initial Where to find Dan Poynter: Web: Sign up for the FREE Publishing Poynters ezine Twitter: @ danpoynter Email: FirstnameLastname @ parapublishing .com SizzleReel: http://www. youtube .com/watch?v=mWl0fnBu7bs
  42. 50. THE END Electronic books are not going anywhere—they are already here