SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT,
Now that you are out of the starting block, get ready to accelerate!
Though the rate of change in e-book sales is slowing, the rate of change of e-book selling will increase. As publishers have mastered the basics of getting titles up for sale at the major retailers they will face the following major challenges if they want to sell more e-books in the years to come:
Metadata 2.0: The industry understands the importance of metadata, but most of the effort to date has been focused just on getting the basics right. Now that the basics are mastered, publishers will be using metadata in increasingly sophisticated ways. There are myriad opportunities around customizing metadata by retailer, but someone has to do it. It starts with adding retailer-specific links to the back of the books and grows from there. It will include customized covers, copy and content. Publishers are going to need to devote resources to optimizing metadata and content files for the opportunities they are missing.
Channel Challenge: The e-retailer environment will get more complicated, not less. Each of the e-retailers is expanding their international footprint, but with that comes complications for publishers, including how to handle rights management, currencies, tax issues, agency pricing, publication dates and coordination with local print publishers. Every day, publishers are faced with new business models to absorb. Library pricing, subscription models, DRM free sales and author website sales are just the beginning. Channel conflict will raise its ugly head with each new “fill in the blank” of Books. Publishers will not only need to decide if they will experiment with new business models but how they will execute the new model efficiently in order to gauge success.
Pro-Marketing: Please excuse the neologism, but production and marketing will become less and less separated. As a matter of course, publishers will be incorporating their marketing messages, tactics and creative experiments into the production process itself. Building files so that books can be easily “webified” will open more and more doors to talking directly to consumers, be it adding retailer specific links to authors’ backlist; enabling publishers to reach consumers directly through e-mail and social media; or maximizing the content on their own websites. Publishers will build workflows that interleaf production and marketing – “Pro-Marketing”.
INscribe Digital sees these trends happening first hand, every day. Tackling these challenges will require sophisticated technological support in order to execute effectively.