At the PRO Retreat today, I listened to a presentation by Carolyn Pittis, SVP, Global Marketing Strategy and Operations, HarperColllins talking about the Changing Publishing Industry: How Publishers are Adapting. It was a very interesting presentation and I’ve tried to capture the highlights of what she presented:
• The new players in the book business – Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.
• Ebooks have really, really arrived – Kindle and Nook sales huge at Christmas.
• Amazon focusing on a consumer business model versus a book business. Going direct to author. Recent article discussed Amazon’s new plan – “Review our books and we will promote you.”
• Average consumer price of the top 100 (not just romance) is .99 to $2.99 resulting in a lot of price pressure on content for self-published and retailers.
• Businesses competing with each other to ensure consumers have as much
• Book business is “global-digital” – lots of demand for romance content for those unable to get books in hard copy due to country restraints.
• Three things are pushing the current book industry, the middle man (agents, publishers, retailers, etc.) between authors and readers – new technology, data and consumer choice.
• She coined the phrase “Trapezoid of Terror” – the gap between author’s expectations and a company’s qualifications.
• Authors HAVE to be educated – they HAVE to understand the market if they are going to be
• Know your “Klout” score (www.klout.com). This is your social media score.
She ended with discussing where authors should focus, what they should understand:
• that their #1 focus should be writing great stories and content
• what success is (for the author – define)
• the basic business economics of the marketing piece
• business plans and evaluate options and partner against that – what am I offering and what are my
• relative market (Klout) power
• how other players win and how big
• assess choices authors have in who they wish to partner with and how authors wish to publish
non-writing work (social media)
If there are still naysayers out there about ebooks (didn’t we hear from one recently?), my opinion is that they really out to take their heads out of the sand. It’s a publishing evolution and I’m very excited about it.