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!