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

paidContent Live: Where content means business. April 17, 2013, New York City. Register now.

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.

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