Day: August 7, 2009

Bloomsbury’s digital strategy begin to take shape

Eoin Purcell

I hate to say, I told you so!
It has been a hobby horse of mine for some time that Bloomsbury’s clever bolt on acquisitions have real potential for online and digital development:

nearly all the moves place them in a position to exploit the brand potential of all these properties and to do that through new digital avenues if and when they choose to. All told Bloomsbury has acquired or built a tidy little reference and academic division featuring quality brands and properties.

And then today we see the announcement (Bookseller story and econsultancy report) of a new social network based around The Writers & Artists Handbook brand & content:

The redesign will allow users to create a public profile that will enable them to promote themselves and be contacted by interested parties using the site. Additionally the site now provides free searches of the Yearbook listings for people happy to supply their contact details. THE BOOKSELLER

This seems like a very sensible and I predict it will have an impact on the online community of writers and aspiring writers who are increasing in number every day. One of their key goals seems to be building profiles of who these writers are, what they want and what they might be willing to pay for. We rarely value the data that can be gathered from collecting the searches of site members even though that is partly what Google’s amazing dominance of search is based on. From the econsultancy report:

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook website will also be encouraging data collection among its users by offering free searches of the Yearbook listings to those happy to provide their contact details. This will enable the Yearbook, A & C Black and Bloomsbury to engage them with relevant information and offers.

I really believe that the Writers & Artists site will enable Bloomsbury to exercise a degree of leadership in this area. That might sound far fetched but think it through, there are few sites around with this depth of information and reputation. Equally if A&C Black and Bloomsbury play their cards right this could just enable them to move ahead of Faber who with their Faber Academy have extended their brand most sensibly and effectively.

Of course they might not be able to over take Faber, maybe they will have to buy them. I suspect if the shareholders could be convined, Bloomsbury could afford it, they do have rather a lot of cash!

Thinking about brands, publishing and the web.
Eoin