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What’s next in digital publishing: New platforms and payment models

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Over 20 percent of Americans ages 16 and up read an ebook in the past 12 months, according to December data from Pew, and big U.S. publishers are now seeing over 20 percent of their revenues come from ebook sales. In other words, ebooks are no longer new: They’re a reality in the publishing industry now, which presents publishers with both challenges and opportunities.

At paidContent Live on April 17 in New York City, we’ll be exploring how book publishers are adapting their business models for a digital age and rolling out new products designed to take advantage of e-readers, tablets and smartphones. I’ll be interviewing executives from three publishers handling the transition in particularly interesting ways: Dominique Raccah, the publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks; Rachel Chou, the chief marketing officer at Open Road Media; and Evan Ratliff, founder and CEO of Atavist. Here’s a peek at some of the issues we’ll be discussing.

  • New payment models: Last spring, Sourcebooks rolled out a romance ebook club, Discover a New Love, that gives members DRM-free ebooks, discounts and access to special events for $9.99 every six months. And Atavist is now offering in-app subscriptions┬áto its e-singles. I’ll be asking Raccah and Ratliff what they’ve learned about their readers and pricing and tips on how other publishers can enact subscription models.
  • The enhanced ebook now: Enhanced ebooks got a bad rap a few years ago, when it was uncertain whether readers would pay more for an ebook that included a few videos and photos. But with the increased adoption of tablets and cheaper technology, publishers are finding new ways to integrate digital media into their books. I’ll be asking our panelists about their best practices in this area: How do they decide which bells and whistles to add and which to avoid, and when’s it best to just go with straight text?
  • New frontiers of marketing: “Discoverability” is the buzzword on lots of publishers’ lips, but how does it translate into practice — and is it actually a problem for readers? Raccah, Ratliff and Chou will speak about the ways that they are marketing their books online and how they’re working with retailers to promote their titles.

Let me know what else you want to talk about! Sign up to attend the paidContent Live conference on April 17 in NYC here, and in the comments of this post, I’d love to hear your burning digital book publishing questions.

5 Responses to “What’s next in digital publishing: New platforms and payment models”

  1. Bart De Pelsmaeker

    Hi Laura – very nice post – really enjoyed it . Discoverability in digital publishing is a concern for everyone in magazine publishing as well. Especially for smaller publications getting traction in the larger stores can be as challenging as SEO for websites. I went deeper on the topic in a post here :

  2. dslrvideostudio

    It will be interesting how the new payment models and revenue deals workout both for content creator / author and publisher/distributor.

  3. I bet you enhanced ebooks will catch on eventually. There needs to be a reason, Just the fact that we can now put video, interactivity, etc. in a book for fun and to show off is not enough right now. Ebooks are still new to a lot of people. Textbooks will continue to be a prime application for enhanced ebooks, but the print juggernaut for mainstream publishers will prevent that application for as long as possible.

  4. In 30 Minutes Guides

    I think the enhanced ebook topic is an interesting one. I’ve been seriously considering it for “In 30 Minutes” guides, to include videos and quizzes. I know readers want this content, because I’ve posted videos on the product websites and they do get steady traffic. What’s been holding me back from creating enhanced ebooks, is doing so would force me to “fork” specific titles, as certain platforms (not naming any names!) don’t support video or other enhancements.