Yes! Yes! Yes!
A brand that is in between these two is “Dummies.” It definitely creates a meaningful shortcut for a consumer; they recognize it and it tells them “this book explains the basics on the subject in a way that requires you to bring almost no knowledge to it for it to be useful.” But because Dummies covers many subjects under the sun, it would be difficult to make use of it for audience-gathering or direct marketing the way Harlequin is employed.
You wouldn’t “subscribe” to new offerings, sight unseen, from either Penguin or Dummies. That means that, in at least one very important way, those brands aren’t as useful as Harlequin. Why? They’re too broad. General Motors wouldn’t ever have sold nearly as many cars if they called all the cars “GMs” to create a megabrand and had lost the distinction between Chevrolet and Cadillac. Trying to create “one big brand” if it captures unrelated content or unrelated audiences could be “one big mistake.”
My own theory is that publishers have to completely re-think their imprints in light of the need to move from b2b to b2c. Imprints at big houses are almost always silos with no discernible b2c meaning. In fact, the names of smaller houses, because smaller houses tend to focus on subject areas, can more readily have meaning to consumers.
via Publishers, brands, and the change to b2c – The Shatzkin Files.
Oddly enough my Pecha Kucha session at TOCFrankfurt last year touched on this. I’ve only the slides, must see if I can track down an audio version,
While a technology may change, Centrello said that a publisher’s core mission remains the same: To deliver books to readers. “A publisher’s job is to deliver books in any form that the reader wants to read them,” she said.
via Gina Centrello: EBooks Will Be 50% Of Book Sales In Five Years – mediabistro.com: eBookNewser.
Very nice idea from Waterstones & The Bodley Head! Clever way to take advantage of the digital form preference for shorter material and yet promote the longer form books in both print and digital, savvy!
Brilliant ideas are at the heart of the books published by Bodley Head (part of the Random House Group) – but knowing that not everyone has the time to read all 400+ pages of each of their titles they’ve created Brain Shots: ‘big idea’ books in a byte-sized format.
via Fiction, Children’s books, eBooks, Non-fiction books, textbooks and more at Waterstone’s.
The Bookseller reports today (19/02/2009) that Transworld will run a book festival featuring star authors:
LitFest 10 will be held in libraries across Hertfordshire from 25th March to 27th April. The event is being run by Transworld and Random House Children’s Books and will be promoted in independents such as Maher Books and Books@Hoddesdon, as well as local Waterstone’s branches.
As well as Child and Harris, other authors will include Channel 4 “TV Book Club” pick Belinda Bauer, John O’Farrell, teen authors Bali Rai and Anthony McGowan and S J Bolton.
This is a very interesting move and really highlights what a well positioned publisher can do to enable connections with readers outside of any social or online media. Why wait around for Hay or any other festival to invite your authors when you can rally a fine crop of excellent crowd pleasing writers yourself? The link up with independents is also a clever strategy.
I’m impressed and I hope it comes off for them. I’d expect to see more of this as publishers seek more effective ways to create audience engagement and to build lists and contacts.
First the good news
Random House surprised me a little. They have what look like decent title based blogsites:
The Gods That Failed
The Book of Surfing
But the bad news follows on quickly
But all three lack a little something. They don’t feel like really interactive blogs designed to build a conversation. They feel more like marketing efforts.
And their Sophie Kinsella forum feels the same too. It’s not heavily used for one and seems to suffer from a lack of attention
They do have a huge list of links to authors sites. They also have a ton of mini-sites. Most of them slightly dull and a little wasteful to my mind.
Where are they at?
Still, there is enormous promise here. The sheer volume of digital output here is mind blowing. There is no question that a more focused and slimline digital policy would pay dividends. And there is even a precedednt within the Random House group. As a book buying site their rbooks always impresses and I suppose as a publisher that has to be a good thing!
More importantly if all the imprints can be corralled into one digital home for selling books, might the same not be done for all their digital outreach efforts? I think they would benefit from it, at least for now.
Unlike Macmillan who appear to be really at home with blogging, what it can do and what it cannot do, Random seem a little at sea or perhaps, behind the times.
Listening to Bon Iver and loving it. Remembering the Loire valley and hating being back in Ireland so very much!