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Joe Wikert
I'm Publishing President at Our Sunday Visitor (
Interests: Hockey, baseball, football, science and technology
Recent Activity
Hi Bob. Thanks for sharing your Baen experience. Your point about letting customers send the books themselves is where I see an opportunity. It can still be automated but as long as the files are sent by the customer, not the publisher, there shouldn't be a problem. Still, as I noted before, Amazon could shut the entire program down but that would seem a bit over-the-top, even for Amazon. I realize what I'm suggesting here is different from what I originally wrote but my point is that this still represents a service that has potential.
Thanks Mackaybell. As with just about anything, this isn't without risks. I'd like to think most reasonable readers would assume that, particularly since I'm suggesting one use Amazon's own platform to help neutralize it. That obviously comes with risks. Regarding samples, yes, many publisher sites offer samples directly but I haven't seen any that push those samples onto a reader's Kindle bookshelf. I'm simply pointing out that the bulk of ebooks these days are read through the Kindle platform, so it's wise to think about how to integrate efforts like samples within that platform.
Thanks for weighing in on this, Steve. I'd like to think the MOBI standard is firm enough to support this, particularly since it's what Amazon itself uses for their ebooks. Nate, it's not lost on me that Amazon can shut this service down at any time. That said, I still think it's worth pursuing, especially since it can be implemented by a publisher with minimal development expense. I also hope the DOJ starts paying attention to the various ways Amazon reinforces their dominant position with tactics like this.
Publishers who sell ebooks direct to consumers typically do so in EPUB format. That’s because most publishers are still wedded to the false sense of security DRM provides and EPUB offers a popular DRM solution. Contrast that with Amazon’s format,... Continue reading
Last week I highlighted some of the more interesting findings reported in a document Google published called Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile. This week I want to focus on a couple of other important points in... Continue reading
Google recently published a document entitled Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile. You can download the PDF here. It’s a quick read and worth a close look. I’ve long felt the publishing industry is too focused on... Continue reading
Steve, yes, you are correct that COGS have always been a small part of the total price of publishing a print book. The problem is that consumers don't typically see it that way. They figure if a publisher is delivering an ebook instead of print they must be saving a ton, so the ebook price should be significantly less than the print book price. This point of view is very clear in the data Nielsen shared at the Frankfurt Book Fair last year.
After 7+ years of working remotely from my home office I recently started a new job with a daily commute. It’s actually quite an enjoyable ride and I originally planned to make it even better with a variety of mobile/audio... Continue reading
Ebook preview widgets have been around for quite awhile but when was the last time you saw one on a blog or website? I can’t recall the last one I saw but I’ll bet that’s about to change. Amazon recently... Continue reading
Hi Steve. Of course there are costs for creating any format book, print or e. My point is that the physical element costs, including paper, print, binding and returns completely go away with ebooks.
Rather than speculate on what might happen in the ebook sector this year I thought it would be wiser to simply list the developments I’d like to see. So although some, and perhaps all, of these are a long shot,... Continue reading
My youngest daughter asked for a Harry Potter boxed set for Christmas. As I wrapped the heavy, bulky package I kept wondering why she didn’t opt for the ebook collection instead. On Christmas morning I learned why: each title in... Continue reading
Low website traffic and a lack of existing customer engagement are some of the most common reasons book publishers aren’t pursuing a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model today. They’ll point out that almost nobody comes to their site, so they question the... Continue reading
Nate, I'm quite familiar with Logos and the terrific company Bob Pritchett has built there. I wouldn't include them in this because I'm pretty sure Logos precedes the Kindle. So if we're talking only about significant innovations that have happened since the dawn of the Kindle I don't believe Logos would qualify. Great platform and company though.
Remember the excitement surrounding the launch of Amazon’s Kindle eight years ago? It was a clunky device, even by 2007 standards, but it was revolutionary. One of the original Kindle’s breakthrough features was the ability to download books via cellular... Continue reading
Ask a publisher to tell you the biggest challenge they face today and you’ll get a variety of answers. I know because I’ve been asking publishers for quite awhile now. I also made sure I posed the same question to... Continue reading
Are you familiar with the “smiling curve” phenomenon? The details are provided here, but the short explanation is that a smiling curve depicts the value-add potential for each stage of an industry. For example, in the publishing space, you have... Continue reading
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Michael. It's clear that you're not part of the target audience I have in mind for this concept. Then again, even though my example referred to an "app", there's absolutely no reason the same thing can't also be accomplished via a website. That seems to be what you're also suggesting, so maybe our thinking isn't that far apart.
Hi Mike. There's no doubt this strategy requires additional thought and effort. That's simply the challenge of moving from yesterday's static content to tomorrow's (hopefully!) less static content. And you're right that things become more complicated when linking to content owned by others. Don't forget though that many publishers also have access to other complementary content fully under their own control; those links can change as well but probably in a less surprising way. But yes, as we move from static to dynamic there will indeed be new factors to consider.
D, many have tried and I'm aware of none who have succeeded. Don't forget that most publishers are obligated to let Amazon offer the same deep-discounted price as a publisher offers direct. So you're just chasing your tail by trying to beat them on price. You're absolutely right that Amazon doesn't always have the cheapest price on everything. However, trying to beat them consistently on lower D2C prices via a publisher website isn't a viable formula, IMHO.
The beauty of the web is that feedback for what I write here is spread across a variety of platforms. These days it seems most of those community discussions are happening on LinkedIn and that’s where some recent comments helped... Continue reading
Excellent points, Peter. I hadn't thought about all those non-Amazon customers out there but yes, they represent a large chunk of potential D2C prospects.
I recently visited a mid-size publisher to discuss direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies with their sales and marketing leaders. Towards the end of the session I was asked the most important question of the day and it’s something publishers pursuing a D2C... Continue reading
Marion, the stats are for all books Nielsen measures. As I mentioned in the opening, they don't have access to sales of every book from every retailer, but they're a very large data source. Their reach definitely extends beyond trade books. Marcy, thanks for adding data about your books. Very interesting. I was about to reply to Bennett and note that I seriously doubt anyone buys both the p and e editions of anything but you've obviously proven me wrong! Bennett, as you can see from my note to Marcy, I've got to believe her experience is an exception. I can't imagine there are very many people buying both the p and e editions of the same book. My point was more about how a lot of people buying print are also buying e, they're obviously comfortable with digital content on phones/tablets/etc, so what about the opportunity for digital companions for print products? I have no data to back up that suggestion, but my gut tells me there's an opportunity.
Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 is in the rearview mirror but there were a few noteworthy tidbits gleaned from the event. Some of the more important facts and figures were shared by Nielsen’s Jonathan Stolper his state-of-the-U.S.-market presentation. Although you can... Continue reading