Ebooks in Libraries – #BEA2013

Before I give you my two cents on this particular session, here are links to two articles that describe the session pretty well:

Panelists included:

  • Ginger Clark, Moderator – Literary Agent, Curtis Brown LTD
  • Jack Perry, Owner, 38enso Inc.
  • Maureen Sullivan, President, American Library Association (ALA)
  • Paul Aiken, Executive Director, Authors Guild
  • Steve Potash, President and CEO, Overdrive
  • Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster

I have to admit – I didn’t really take notes for this session (but probably should have). Mostly, I just sat, listening in amazement as someone on the publisher side of things would say something silly, and then Mareen and Steve would correct that person. Then during Q&A time, the moderator would blow off questions by answering them herself, then quickly moving on to another question. It was that kind of session.

The thing that got to me the most was this: Carolyn Reidy, CEO of a huge publishing house, sounded like someone who was attempting to talk knowledgeably about ebooks in libraries … but hadn’t ever actually used a library card to download an ebook (which was kinda funny, since she was sitting right next to Steve Potash of Overdrive).

At one point, Carolyn basically said the danger of ebooks in libraries is that a customer can sit at home and download every book they ever wanted … huh? She and Paul Aiken seemed to think that’s how the library ebook check-out process works.

That’s simply wrong, of course. Steve and Maureen corrected them. As did a few people in the audience.

Carolyn also said that her publishing house was doing the ebook pilot project because … no research has ever been done about ebooks in libraries. Again, huh? Someone please introduce Carolyn to Pew Internet and their major research project on … um … ebooks in libraries. And of course, Steve mentioned that he has 10 years of data (Overdrive’s been in the ebook business for at least that long).

I heard a similar thing at last year’s Book Expo conference, too. Executives at more than one major publishing house think libraries give ebooks away to anyone who wants them, willy-nilly, and we let them keep the ebooks forever.

And … these people aren’t stupid – they are running large, successful publishing houses.

So – here’s my question. Where is the disconnect, and how can we fix this?

Argh.

ebook photo by shiftstigma

Goodreads Advanced Strategies – #BEA2013

Patrick Brown, Director, Author Marketing at Goodreads gave a talk on Goodreads. Good stuff!

First, some info about Goodreads:

  • 18 million members. Doubled in size in 2012.
  • Acquired by Amazon in march. Still working things out.
  • What isn’t changing. Goodreads is for all readers, no matter how you read.
  • Working on new features. Discovery, discussion, and author program.
  • 250 books added to the to read shelves every minute.

And now for some tips for authors using the Goodreads Author profile (here’s a link to my Goodreads author profile):

Build your platform.

  • Metadata – make sure the book record is complete!
  • 75,000 authors. I’m one of those. That’s actually a pretty small number compared to the number of member accounts

Get people talking about your book.

Your goal is to get reviews, especially early in the life of your book.

  • Reviews help new readers discover your book:
  • They help readers decide to read your book.
  • Goodreads work harder for you. Reviews are shared via Facebook and twitter

Giveaways help kick start book discovery. They help with this…

  • Who knew?  You can actually do book giveaways via Goodreads.
  • They encourage people to add it to their to read shelves
  • They receive an email on the publication date

Some tips for giveaways:

  • Start early. 3-5 months before publication
  • Give it time. Run giveaway at least one month
  • Offer more books. More books = more reviews. Not everyone reviews the book
  • Do it again. Run multiple reviews for each title

Mobilize your existing fan base.

  • Talk about the giveaway in other places – twitter, etc.

Building anticipation and awareness.

  • A cover reveal – dole out information on the content over the months… To build buzz.

Bring it all together.
If you have a new book coming out, do these things on Goodreads:

  • 5 months before publication – first giveaway.
  • Second giveaway – ends at publication. Looking for awareness this time. Lots of people add the book on publication day.
  • Personal selection email – a paid advertising thing.
  • Sent to fans of the author’s backlist.
  • Then a sponsored poll – another ad unit. You vote.
  • Then a homepage roadblock – another ad unit. A hey, this book is out now ad. On the publication date. A awareness unit
  • Exclusive interviews. God reads interviews some people. top authors, popular stuff. Goes in their newsletters.

Trends and takeaways.

  • Social context. People add the book after they see their friends add it
  • Goodreads effort pays off. People will add the book to their lists…
  • The rise of mobile. Enormous mobile growth. 1/5th of goodreads users use the mobile app.

5 habits of highly successful publishers on goodreads

  1. Start early
  2. Involve your authors
  3. Pay attention to your stats
  4. Use content to build anticipation
  5. Keep the momentum up

Goodreads.com/author/how_to – helpful stuff for authors on using goodreads

pic by Jurgen Appelo

10 Trends Shaping how Content is Consumed Today – #BEA2013

Wow – the Book Expo America conference was busy and exhausting! I’m finally getting a chance to share some notes from some of the sessions I attended.

The first one comes from the final keynote at the BEA Bloggers conference (I was on the advisory board for this). Randi Zuckerberg talked – yes, Mark the Facebook guy’s sister. She has some interesting things to say about content:

10 trends shaping how content is consumed today:

1. You are more than what you write. People want to know the person behind the writing. Your passions. Show the messy, human side of your life.

2. Brands as media companies. We are all media companies. Example – Red Bull can function like an NBC, because they can post articles, journalist-style interviews, videos, etc.

3. Enhanced media. Starting to see that people will pay for what they love, even premium content online. Ed tech as example. I’ll also add Youtube’s recent threat to charge for premium content.

4. More signal, less noise. When we curate content, that’s a really useful thing for our readers. Those “what did you miss this week” lists from some blogs are a good example.

5. Images speak louder than words. Instagram, Pinterest, etc. let customers post pics. Or find your photo on Facebook, and tag it.

6. Think of yourself as an entrepreneur. She’s starting to see things like small startups within large companies. “Evangelist” jobs, etc.

7. The @ reply is the new autograph. Talking to fans makes them feel special – like when an author or “known person” replies to you via Twitter. Facebook chats, too.

8. Gameification of everything. Apply game mechanics to everything. She used the Gym Shamed app as an example – if you don’t go to the gym, it blasts out how lazy you were to all your friends. Or a scale that tweets your weight. There’s apparently a clock that donates your money to charity every time you hit snooze.

9. Video for everything. Newsrooms use Vine to show personality, or behind the scenes glimpses. Live stream from the fashion model out to an audience.

10. Etiquette and digital detox. How do I manage my professional digital reputation? How much screen time is too much for my kid? Not really tech tuff, but more modern living. Step away from the computer type stuff.

Interesting talk!

The Big Six – where we stand at the moment

I’m headed to BEA next week (I’m on the conference advisory board for the BEA Bloggers part of the conference), and will have a good three days of listening to publishers talk about ebooks (and hopefully libraries).

So I thought it would be a good idea to see where we stand right now with ebooks, the Big Six, and some of our current ebook vendors.

Here’s a list of the major ebook vendors, and what they offer in relation to the Big Six publishers:

3M, Baker & Taylor Axis 360:

  • Hachette
  • Simon & Schuster (but only if you’re a large NYC-area library – they’re still in pilot project mode)
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • … and No Kindle formats.

OverDrive:

  • Hachette
  • Macmillan
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • doesn’t have Penguin or Simon & Schuster
  • … OverDrive has Kindle versions of some titles (and that’s probably why they don’t have Penguin).

What does each publisher offer?

  • Hachette: Full catalog, released simultaneously with print, ebooks will cost 300% more than the print book. Unlimited number of checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Simon & Schuster: started a 1-year pilot project on April 30 with New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library. Full catalog, a one year purchase/lease, unlimited checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Macmillan: 1,200 backlist ebooks from its Minotaur Books imprint. Two year, 52-lends lease model. Ebooks cost $25. I’d say they’re still in pilot project mode too.
  • Random House: Our ebook friends, for a price – entire catalogue available for “perpetual access” at a higher price to libraries (upwards of 300% over the print book cost).
  • Penguin: all titles available, one-year licenses. Except if you’re OverDrive.
  • HarperCollins: 26 checkouts per title lease model.

So – at this point, we have all Big Six publishers willing and able to sell [at least some] ebooks to [at least some] libraries. With wildly varying models and price points:

  • Checkout models include: unlimited use, 26 checkouts per book, or 52 checkouts per book.
  • Time limits include: No year limits, one year limits, and two year limits per book
  • Title availability includes: All titles available, some titles available, hardly any title available.
  • Pricing: an even $25, a variety of more normal pricing. And two publishers who markup ebooks by 300%. If this was gasoline, we’d call it price gouging.

Pic by pazca

Enter the Library Market & Drive Sales with Lessons from Patron Profiles #BEA

BEAThis is a presentation all about book research and the library market… could be interesting…

Rebecca Miller, Editor in Chief, School Library Journal

giving an overview/breakdown of public library book budgets

2011 – public libraries carried an average of 4000 ebooks.

ebook budgets spiked in 2011 over 101%

Kelly Gallagher at Bowker Market Research

talking about their Patron Profiles study…

9046 US public library ssytems

16,698 public library buildings

169 million public library users …

Meet the power patron – customers who visit the library at least weekly (physical visits):

  • 61% female, average age – 48
  • average income – $61,000
  • 62% with a college degree or higher
  • 39% with kids under age 18
  • what do they do at the library? 65% borrow books and media. 59% browse shelves. 40% search the catalog. 43% place holds on stuff.
  • clear link between borrowing and buying: 61% – purchased books by an author whose works were previously borrowed from the library. 37% – purchased book previously borrowed fromt he library. 35% – used the library to discover new authors or genres
  • library patrons are also buyers

Ebook users read more.

Ebook users – 67% purchased books by an author whose works were previously borrowed from the library. Wow.

Takeaways – libraries are a win-win system for marketing, sales, and discovery for books and publishers.

Skip Dye (Random House)

wants to encourage discoverability – this research helped them

wants to be format-agnostic

Said it’s up to the consumer how they want to read/listen. However they want to do that, that’s what is important.

future of print – Skip is old-fashioned. Thinks the format will survive, but change.

George something from Baker and Taylor

talking about exploding digital content in libraries

He also said they should be device agnostic

66% of public libraries experienced a “dramatic” increase in ebook requests

average holdes-to-copy ratio target is 6:1, but actual is closer tro 12:1

Hmm – claimed their Access 360 desktop reader is format agnostic. To that I’d say no it’s not. Can you open up a book from Overdrive through it? I’m guessing not.

showed Orange County Library’s Axis 360 ebookstore – an example of buying the book through a library