In many ways this issue highlights both the complex decision-making processes that lie behind things that are highlighted as faults among large publishers (and in so doing offers if not a defence, then at least an explanation for seemingly bizarre decisions) and the core problems of these publishers (that they are at once too large to move easily and too small to challenge their existing partners on tech or ecommerce grounds). There’s much to ponder in this post as you would expect with Mike:
Because Random House didn’t have that blind spot, they were, first of all, aware that their conversion rate on clicks to Amazon was very high, much higher than they would expect to get themselves if they tried to encourage consumers to buy direct. So the capture of more margin per sale would be at the expense of losing many sales. But, in addition, the extra margin can get burned up pretty quickly with the costs of running a direct-sale operation. One that provides solid user experiences, customer service, and other now standard eCommerce practices anywhere near today’s customer expectation is expensive — more so when it isn’t your primary business. eCommerce is a huge distraction, especially when it is executed by the folks who are also your digital marketers! That, or additional head count (which further lowers margins), would constitute a publisher’s choices.
via Publishers do need to sell direct, but here are five things they should at least be started on first – The Shatzkin Files.
One thought on “Go Read This | Publishers do need to sell direct, but here are five things they should at least be started on first – The Shatzkin Files”
Frankly, I’m amazed. Random House is the only large publisher who knows how to open their Amazon Affiliate reports? If this and the rest of the article is accurate, self-publishers are much farther ahead than I thought. I also think Shatzkin misses the key cost of selling direct versus directing customers to Amazon. A sale on Amazon can have a multiplying effect through (counting towards) appearing on various high-visibility spots around the site (Best Seller lists, Popularity lists, Hot New Releases lists, Movers & Shakers, Also Boughts etc. etc.). I sometimes wonder how much time people in publishing spend trying to figure out how the Kindle Store works and/or how many of them own a Kindle.