Publishing Scotland Annual Conference 2013 report

On Monday 4th March 2013 members of the Scottish book publishing community gathered for the Annual Publishing Scotland Conference held at the Cosla conference centre in Edinburgh.
YUDU were kindly invited to speak for half an hour about our experience of the the challenges of monetizing illustrated and children’s content in the digital space. We followed on from Lindsey Mooney’s talk about Kobo, who offered some useful insights and tips about ebook pricing strategies.

There were some interesting statistics on display at the conference and it was rather surprising that Scottish consumers occupied the largest percentage of ebook to print book purchases of anywhere else in the UK at 13% of all book purchases.

Another interesting stat was that 56% of book consumers still considered the physical bookshop to be their preferred place to browse. However, trying to get these customers make their purchases from within the bookshop was an obvious challenge for the bookselling crowd.

There was an air of optimism for the independent booksellers, as the latest news from the independent sector in the US (a more digitally advanced market place), was very encouraging. Sentiments such as bookshops being an embedded part of the local communities in which they operate and ‘cultural hubs’ were phrases used throughout the conference. In an age where book recommendation is often carried out through faceless computer algorithms, the independent sector seems like it has a bright future in certain niches and maintaining a high level of curation with the content they choose to display. It seems as if the larger bookselling chains may be the ones most challenged by the dominance of Amazon and e-reading trends.

Whilst there was the usual Amazon bashing going on at the conference, I feel it would be more constructive for the publishing industry to learn what makes Amazon the largest and most popular retailer in the world, and I think its mission to be the most consumer centric company on the planet has a lot to do with this. I think that most people agree that no-one wants a world where Amazon dominate consumer purchases from everything from books to nappies, but there is a distinct lack of coherent alternatives in the book trade. Our talk about building your online communities and keeping that relationship with your readers was a hint in the direction that might get publishers more able to stand on their own two feet.

Many thanks to Steve Bohme and Bowker research for the interesting statistics.

Categories: YUDU Books

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