Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 09 2012

Data-driven publishing is the future

As our industry shifts from print to ebooks we’re discovering a wealth of new data to study. Retailers hold most of the cards for this data, but a startup named Hiptype is looking to change that. In the interview below, Hiptype’s president and CEO James Levy (@jamtoday) talks about how their platform works and how it can lead to making smarter publishing decisions.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • What exactly is “data-driven” publishing? — It goes beyond simple sales stats and review information to understanding how the product is used; where readers spend the most time; and even though we don’t like to think about it, how far they get before they abandon a book. [Discussed at the 0:43 mark.]
  • Where sharing happens — The majority of content sharing with friends takes place in either the first 10 pages or the last 10 pages of the book. [Discussed at 3:00.]
  • Why the first 50 pages matter — Almost a third of readers won’t return to the book by page 50. 85% of readers who get to page 50 are likely to read the next 50 pages. Think about that the next time you release an ebook sample with only 10 or 12 pages. [Discussed at 3:15.]
  • Low conversion of samples — Not only are there loads of unread samples sitting on most devices, but only 4% of all samples downloaded are ever read at all. [Discussed at 4:46.]
  • Like “Google Analytics for ebooks” — That’s probably the best analogy for Hiptype and, prior to Hiptype, the benefits analytics have provided websites haven’t been available for ebooks. [Discussed at 5:50.]
  • Will readers revolt against Big Brother? — Readers can opt out, and the data Hiptype gathers is all anonymized. [Discussed at 6:45.]
  • New revenue streams — Subscription models, similar to what we’re seeing with gaming and apps, as well as more promoted content are likely to become very common; reader data for these models will be extremely valuable to publishers and advertisers. [Discussed at 8:20.]
  • “Make something that people want” — Hiptype is a startup that went through the Y Combinator incubator program, providing seed money and mentor advice as well as access to the alumni network. [Discussed at 13:37.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.


Data is an area everyone in publishing needs to learn more about. That’s one of the many reasons O’Reilly launched the Strata conference. I highly recommend you follow all the data space news and developments on our Strata home page. Be sure to sign up for the free newsletter offered there as well.

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

Related:

August 06 2012

The agency model’s impact on ebook pricing

The agency model has played a key role in ebook pricing models, and the DOJ’s recent ruling has generated a large number of responses from the community. One of the more interesting ones was from Simon Lipskar, President of the Writers House literary agency. I invited Lipskar to participate in a TOC podcast interview so he could talk further about his letter to the DOJ as well as where he sees the ebook market heading.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Agency model and ebook prices — Simon objects to the discount restrictions in the DOJ settlement terms, but he also believes the DOJ has “clearly misread the landscape of ebook pricing.” [Discussed at the 2:15 mark.]
  • Did agency drive prices up? — Yes and no. Yes, prices increased for the small list of titles the DOJ cited, but no, prices did not go up across the board. Further, many other factors are forcing ebook prices lower, despite the presence of the agency model. [Discussed at 1:34.]
  • Another small snapshot shows lower prices — Although arguably no more scientific than the DOJ’s approach, Simon compared ebook prices on the Amazon best-seller list to pre-agency levels and arrived at a different conclusion. [Discussed at 5:10.]
  • The role of “market power” — In reality, the “big six” publishers don’t have the same market power in the ebook world that they have enjoyed in the print world. [Discussed at 10:28.]
  • Competition is driving prices down — The “explosion” of ebooks is having more of an impact on pricing than the agency model. [Discussed at 15:40.]
  • Is price-setting by publishers a good thing? — It’s unusual in the physical product world, but that aspect of the agency model makes plenty of sense in the digital world. [Discussed at 22:55.]
  • “Distributed sales” is the future — Simon believes the underlying assumptions we have about how ebooks are sold will be changed as we move away from destination sites dedicated to ebooks. [Discussed at 33:03.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.


This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

Related:

July 25 2012

The value of free

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.


We’ve been talking about pricing in July, and how could the conversation be complete without coverage of the free content model? Wattpad is a fairly new company that’s built completely upon free content. In the following interview, I talk with Wattpad CEO and co-founder Allen Lau about how they’re leveraging free content and how you might be able to as well.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Sharing and discovery — The numbers are impressive, as Wattpad serves almost 10 million unique visitors every month who post their own content as well as read submissions from other community members. [Discussed at the 0:48 mark.]
  • Connecting readers and writers — Publishers need to establish a direct relationship with their customers, and this is something Wattpad excels at. [Discussed at 1:34.]
  • Paid content is not on the horizon — Allen doesn’t want to rule anything out, but at this point, Wattpad is more focused on creating reader/writer connections, not charging for content. [Discussed at 2:10.]
  • How can “free” benefit authors? Visibility and discoverability on Wattpad lead to a number of other benefits, including monetization elsewhere. [Discussed at 2:58.]
  • How can a sustainable company be built on “free”? — Allen is a bit coy with his answer to this one, but it’s clear Wattpad’s goal is to build an enormous content platform first and the revenue will follow. [Discussed at 6:43.]
  • The Margaret Atwood deal — Ms. Atwood clearly understands the rules of publishing are changing, and she appreciates the community benefits Wattpad has to offer. [Discussed at 8:30.]
  • Wattpad’s customer base is evolving — Like many new online services, Wattpad has its roots in the teen market, but that is rapidly changing. [Discussed at 10:12.]
  • Don’t fear “free” — Wattpad isn’t some outlier the publishing industry can ignore. There are plenty of opportunities for any publisher to experiment with free and freemium content. Don’t forget that we’re competing for people’s time, and much of that time is currently spent reading free content. [Discussed at 11:19.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

The future of publishing has a busy schedule.
Stay up to date with Tools of Change for Publishing events, publications, research and resources. Visit us at oreilly.com/toc.

Related:

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl