Posted by Frances Gow
In this article from Futurebook, Chris McVeigh, digital publishing consultant considers the idea of Vertical Publishing.
Publishing as we know it is rapidly changing and any organisation, be it publisher, bookseller, retailer or writer alike, needs to adjust their business plan to take account of these changes.
The changing landscape of the industry dictates that publishers now follow their market in a more proactive way. Publishers are being urged to change their business model from one that traditionally operated in a passive way, allowing the readers to find them via means such as booksellers and print media, to a more proactive one; putting their marketing efforts into following the patterns of the readers. So instead of sitting back and waiting for the readers to find them, publishers need to understand the market and take the product to the reader. (Think… Tesco’s clubcard.)
Chris McVeigh’s recommendation is to “learn how humans move around the web and learn how to exploit this market intelligence to have at least some hope of building a direct relationship with readers again.”
A great example of this is Angry Robot books, a new global publishing imprint of genre fiction; SF, Fantasy and WTF?! (Their words, not mine!) From the Robot Trading Company, you can buy a range of e-books from a variety of independent publishers. And they have devised a way of ‘following their flocks’ called the Robot Army which calls for the very best – the most dedicated and fanatical – genre book bloggers, reviewers, booksellers, librarians and journalists to sign up for free books in return for reviews. Spreading the word to the flocks of genre fans who grew up on a diet of Dr Who and Battlestar Galactica.
In the BSFA FOCUS Magazine for writers, Kristine Kathryn Rusch delivers a sobering look at how publishing has changed radically over the last ten years. This a wake-up call and if you are a writer or a publisher, you can’t go far wrong by checking out her blog on the business of writing.
In his article, Chris McVeigh says “There are still plenty of opportunities for publishers to engage with their customers and allow their businesses to evolve if they begin to make some sensible strategic decisions.”
Douglas Adams is quoted as saying, “The web is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is”. Well, anyone not heeding the changes will eventually find themselves saying, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”