Adjusting to the digital market means continuously recalibrating investments to support strategic goals and the organizational resources for pursuing them.
Bibliocloud founder Emma Barnes sees those costs as amounting to a “strategy tax” publishers and booksellers shoulder in order to compete.
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But more than just the “toll a business must pay in order to set the terms of commerce,” Barnes writes, “it also lays the foundation for a company’s brand identity—plus its brand integrity.”
Whether or not you believe publishers should be in the brand-building game at all, Barnes observes there’s still “an unspoken contract with the people you interact with, whether they’re suppliers or customers,” and it’s measurable in part by how well publishers keep up with their strategy taxes.
“Sure, you can renege on this agreement. But it won’t do your brand any good.”
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Macmillan-Springer Merger Rubber-Stamped (Pub Lunch)
The European Commission approves the merger between Macmillan Science and Education and Springer Science+Business after determining that the “proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the parties’ moderate combined market positions.”
Reedsy Adds Author Platform Tools (DBW)
Around the same time last year that Blurb rolled out a curated marketplace for connecting authors with professional publishing experts, Reedsy launched its own self-publishing services offering. Meeting rising demand for better author platforms, Reedsy introduces a feature allowing authors to create online profiles to drive marketing and discovery.
Why Subscription Ebook Data Trumps a la Carte Data (Futurebook)
According to one admittedly far from disinterested party, the data subscription ebook services provide publishers is more valuable than that drawn from a la carte ebook retailers. “Armed only with [the latter],” one leader at Danish subscription service Mofibo argues, “the publisher is forced—with each new title—to repeatedly spend time, effort and money re-engaging book buyers rather than developing a holistic, long-term approach. It’s a frustrating, inefficient cycle that serves the publisher poorly.”
Debating Data’s Place in Discovery (The Scholarly Kitchen)
Echoing an observation that’s been made in the trade market, one academic publishing expert says “finding stuff to read is not a major problem for most researchers.” Instead of ever more finely tuned recommendation algorithms, consumers of scholarly material might be better served by data-driven filtering tools.
EU to Pursue Google Antitrust Charges? (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
European Union regulators are said to be building an antitrust case against Google, with the results of a four-year investigation reportedly set to go public in upcoming weeks. In one possible sign that formal charges could follow shortly thereafter, Google has not sat down to negotiate with authorities for some time.
Related: Publishers Getting Left Behind on Google’s Mobile Shift
UK Publishers Doing Well, but Are Authors? (Teleread)
Reviewing recent Nielsen figures, one industry watcher argues that despite a clean bill of health for the British book business, “there is no sign of any recovery in author incomes” from traditional publishing arrangements, the terms of which a UK-based author group recently characterized as “no longer fair or sustainable.”
Related: Odds of Success Still Slim for Many Authors
Why ‘Prime Now’ Looks So Promising (Forbes)
Amazon recently expanded its two-day shipping service for Prime members to additional U.S. cities. One analyst explains why the program makes sense not just for customers but for Amazon’s strategic goals as well—among them that “it creates incredible disruption for other retailers.”
Story App Invades Users’ Lives…for Art! (NYT)
The future of story apps? Probably not. But it is a fascinating glimpse at what is already technologically and narratively possible in interactive storytelling: A British art collective unveils an app called “Karen,” featuring a fictional life coach who gradually oversteps her professional boundaries by gathering—and rather manipulatively deploying—information about mobile users’ own lives and behaviors.