ENTRIES TAGGED "direct sales channel"
Crowdfunding the news, advice for publishers on surviving the digital frontier, and innovation in library e-lending.
Fundraising for newsMathew Ingram reports this week on one entrepreneurial blogger and journalist who, finding local news coverage of his home town lacking, crowdfunded his own hyper-local news blog. Ingram notes that Joey Coleman does not have a journalism background, but after he started a blog reporting local news in his home town of Hamilton, Canada, readers started offering to pay for his reporting. Since then, Ingram reports, Coleman has completed two successful Indiegogo campaigns to fund his work.
In a podcast interview with Ingram, Coleman described his journey into journalism, which started in 2004 with a domain name and a blog that, once he started writing about university news and politics, became one of the most-read outlets for university news and ended up landing him a job with Maclean’s magazine. He eventually returned to his home town to spend a summer working at the local newspaper, which didn’t do much on the web, opening up possibilities for Coleman. “My goal is to build a local news service, where the business model is sustainable for hiring a number of staff … to build a business model around journalism and then expand when I have a base that’s sustainable,” he told Ingram. You can read more about Coleman’s work in Ingram’s report and you can listen to Coleman’s interview in the podcast.
Giving consumers a reason to buy direct
At last year’s BEA I heard a Big Six executive state that her company didn’t want to build a direct consumer channel because they’re totally happy with their retail partners. She said it as though the two channels are mutually exclusive. They’re not, of course, and any publisher that isn’t working on building a robust direct-to-consumer channel is missing out on an enormous opportunity.
TimesFiles would benefit from a direct channel & community curation
The NY Times realized they were sitting on a mountain of valuable older content. Readers might discover it through search but why not curate and convert it into ebooks? That’s exactly what they’ve done with their TimesFiles initiative.
A viable option for ebooks and direct ebook businesses
I’ve written a lot about how important it is for publishers to create direct sales channels. Building your own online destinations and user relationships is key if you want to protect your margins and market access. And building community and interactivity around your content is key if you want users to keep coming back. But I know none of these things come easy, especially if you want to avoid getting locked into proprietary technologies and platforms.
A look at a looming Amazon monopoly and the DOJ settlement effect on ebook pricing. Also, a chat with The Atavist CEO Evan Ratliff.
Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.
Digital evolution or government-assisted monopoly?
LA Times writers Dawn C. Chmielewski and Carolyn Kellogg took a look this week at Judge Cotes’ decision to approve the proposed settlement in the ebook price fixing case and the turmoil it’s causing in the publishing industry.
Chmielewski and Kellogg cite a statement by the Author’s Guild “warning that the ruling would turn the clock back to 2010, when Amazon sold 90% of all e-books,” but author and publishing attorney Jonathan Kirsch warned that the decision will have much bigger picture implications:
“By putting the legal approval on this settlement, the district court has pushed us over a certain kind of cliff. In terms of the real-life experiences of publishers, authors and readers, this will represent a fundamental change in how books are published and sold … The court says we recognize that we’re in the birth pangs of a revolution of book selling, but we’re not going to torture the antitrust law into permitting one way of doing business over another way of doing business.”
Literary agent Gary Morris told Chmielewski and Kellogg that Cotes’ decision basically handed Amazon a monopoly and that publishers’ biggest fear is “that by solidifying Amazon’s indispensability as a retailer, they’ll drop wholesale prices to a level that’s unsustainable for the publishing business.” On the other hand, Forrester analyst James McQuivey said for the piece that fighting the digital evolution is folly and that “[t]he companies in a position to focus on digital distribution — which is Amazon and Barnes & Noble — those are the companies positioned to take over.”
In a related piece, LA Times writer Michael Hiltzik dug into the background of the case and the history of Amazon’s position in the ebook market, and laid out how the antitrust suit plays into Amazon’s grand plans to build a monopoly. Hiltzik argues that in pursuing the antitrust suit, “the government walked blithely past the increasing threat of an Amazon monopoly and went after the stakeholders who were trying to keep it from taking root.” And he boils down the overall takeaway from the entire situation:
“[T]he most important concern that should be shared by all participants in the publishing world — readers, publishers, retailers, device manufacturers — is that it’s in no one’s interest to have a single company controlling 90% of the market. No one, that is, except the big player, which is Amazon.”
Bob Pritchett on how and why he built his company around a direct sales channel.
In this TOC podcast, Logos Bible Software president & CEO Bob Pritchett talks about the importance of customer engagement, building direct sales channels, and how to beat Amazon.
John Oakes on OR Books' alternative business model.
In this TOC podcast, OR Books co-founder John Oakes talks about the importance of a direct to consumer channel and why OR Books has made it a priority.
Allen Noren on ebook sales success and competing in a global market.
In this TOC video podcast, Allen Noren, the head of O'Reilly's online and marketing groups, addresses questions about how to succeed in the digital market, dealing with "Walmart world" deep discounts, and learning from fixed-price territories.