Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007


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Notes from Google UnBound conference for book publishing industry

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Google UnBound Conference, NYC, January 18, 2007

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