“Why would I need to know who buys my books?” — some publishers have asked (and still are asking) this question. “I have my distribution channels and am quite happy to give them my ebooks too.”
If this statement surprises you, you are most probably (at the least) contemplating a direct sales channel. Traditional publishers have been migrating to the digital retail world by following the same principles that were applicable to print book sales. As a result, not many of them have been successful. Direct digital book sales require some fundamentally and radically different approaches.
First, publishers need to build a community around their content. Communities help not only to spread the word about their content but also enhance it. When a publisher or an author is actively engaging with the readers, the value of the channel increases tremendously.
Second, publishers need to look beyond their traditional strongholds. Print products limit the geography of a publisher’s market, both in terms of marketing and distribution. Digital products break that restriction and provides a wider, global market. Digital marketing is inexpensive and generates a good ROI, provided it is done right.
Third, publishers need to customize their content to suit the consumer needs. Publishers need to make sure their content reaches the consumer regardless of the form — books, chapters or even smaller sections. This creates a wider opportunity for publishers to sell their content to those who want to use the book long-term but also customers who need parts of it or only need it for a shorter period of time. The transaction values become smaller but the transactions themselves increase exponentially, making the bottom-line better.
To do all of these, publishers need relevant data to understand consumer behavior. They need to know which content is relevant to the consumers and what is gaining traction. They need to listen to conversations involving their content. They need to take in what is important and make better products.
Qbend was founded 4 years back with exactly that thought — to provide publishers with a direct sales channel and help them engage their consumers.
Qbend is conducting a panel discussion comprised of Kaushik Sampath (Chief Operating Officer of Qbend), John Costa (Chief Technology Officer of Qbend), Nathan Welch (Program Manager, Wolters-Kluwer Law and Business) moderated by Joe Wikert of O’Reilly that is titled “Connecting to and Engaging your eBook Consumers”. Get a publisher’s perspective on this as Nathan Welch speaks about Wolters-Kluwer’s direct sales vision and results. I hope you’ll mark your calendars and participate in the discussion that is bound to provide a lot of insights into the direct sales trend.