We attended Digital Book World in NYC to hear from leading publishers, technologists and agents. Topics discussed ranged from digital marketing campaigns, to innovation and a popular session explaining XML, from Robert Oeste.
A new survey revealed that 90% of publishers are optimistic about the digital future of publishing – a great start to a year!
So what did we learn at Digital Book World?
Research has shown that the children’s market is the most stable – and 54% of U.S. children aged two-to-thirteen are reading ebooks. Parents are willing to pay more for enhanced books, which is great news for the publishers who are looking to add extra features into their books.
From a publishing perspective, Kate Wilson, from Nosy Crow summed it up nicely: ‘reading is now directly competing with media and other games; we do not want reading to be the most boring thing a child can do on a phone or a tablet.’
‘Vertical publishing’ (concentrating on needs of specific communities, and publishing for them), is increasingly being adopted by publishers of all sizes. Publishers at Digital Book World discussed how best to gather audiences and monetise them in ways that go beyond selling them books.
Most readers still purchase books, which have been recommended by peers. It holds a much more powerful message than a marketing blurb.
What does this mean for community building?
Communicate a message effectively to communities of readers; understand their needs and they will do the recommending for you.
Peter Hildick-Smith commented that from a retailers perspective ‘discovery is about interests … we have to find the consumer’s interests and create personal ways to interact with them.’ – the general theme of the conference was that publishers need to do that too.