State of the Digital World 2013
Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Digital Book World, which takes place in New York City every January, becomes a more significant bellwether for publishing trends every year. I’ve been collecting insights from this year’s event to help us stay on top of what’s happening.
1. Consumers are so distracted that discoverability is becoming increasingly challenging.
Marketers used to apply the Rule of Seven to the product they were selling: A consumer needed to be exposed to a product seven times before deciding to buy. But, with so much “noise” in our world nowadays, consumers often need to come face-to-face with your book 14-20 times before purchasing. That means showing off your cover or talking about elements of your book multiple times. And that means being inventive about how you bring up your book because we all know the person who is overly commercial will be shut out of the social media conversation.
2. Traditional categories aren’t working online.
Much finer lines are being drawn to define what a book is about. It’s not enough to describe a book as historical fiction or Christian living. Readers know what they like and look for books in such finely-tuned categories as YA Christian dystopia or bullying or devotionals with a garden theme.
3. Sampling is working well to sell books.
Offering a chapter for free is an effective way to convince potential readers to buy the book. Publishers are also finding that offering one book in a series for a low price as an ebook is a good strategy to convince readers to buy others in the series. One publisher made such an offer and increased one of my client’s book sales 120%.
4. Bloggers are becoming the new booksellers.
As newspapers drop their book review sections and fewer bookstores remain open to offer reading recommendations, bloggers seem to be stepping in to play this role. Studies continue to show that we find books based on recommendations more than any other way. That means bloggers’ voices will become more important, as will reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
5. Facebook is the biggest bookstore that isn’t a bookstore.
Readers and authors hang out on Facebook. With Facebook’s move to make content searchable, look to this social medium to become more important in enabling readers and authors to connect.
6. Frequent book buyers are engaged with Goodreads and Pinterest…and other places.
If you don’t know how these social media entities work and you aren’t involved, you’re bypassing important ways to connect. Two other entities weren’t mentioned at Digital Book World, but Library Thing is an amazing way to establish groups (and connect with librarians), and Novel Crossings is a new venture that WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Random House, created to facilitate readers of Christian fiction to find the books they want to read. (I know, just what you wanted to hear–more social media outlets to learn about. Help me, I’m drowning in options!)
What other trends are you aware of? As you read the list, what ideas do you want to explore? As a reader, which social media outlets are you involved in?