10 th jubilee congress of slovenian publishers the evolution of bookselling
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10 th Jubilee Congress of Slovenian Publishers The evolution of bookselling. Sheila Lambie Senior Lecturer, Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies. Outline of talk. Understanding the environment The marketing mix: old and new Tools of the trade The key role of publicity

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10 th Jubilee Congress of Slovenian Publishers The evolution of bookselling

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10th Jubilee Congressof Slovenian PublishersThe evolution of bookselling

Sheila Lambie

Senior Lecturer,

Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies

Outline of talk

Understanding the environment

The marketing mix: old and new

Tools of the trade

The key role of publicity

Discoverability – why is it important?

Metadata in the publishing industry

Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies

Understanding the competitive environment

“Any company that drives forward while looking out the rear view mirror will sooner or later run into a ….”

Scan the environment

Google, Amazon, Apple, new rivals, new technologies, new markets

Gather information: constantly and from a wide range of sources

Make sense of the information

Analyse its implications

Use tools to help you act and differentiate yourself


Ansoff Matrix, Boston Matrix

How out of date is the traditional ‘marketing mix’?

The famous 4 Ps = a promise

Product = Content in Context

Price = Customer value

Place = Convenience

Promotion = Communication, Conversation

The Productor Content in Context

Encyclopedia Britannica, from print-only to

- CD-Roms

- Internet licensing

Apps for the iPad

Chunks of content for partners

Enhanced Ebooks – where publishing meets marketing, and readers get more value

Priceor Customer value


Hardback£12.99 rrp

£8.31 Amazon

Paperback£7.99 rrp

£3.92 Amazon

Ebook£7.99 rrp

£7.21 min from chains (Kobo, etc)

£1.99 Amazon Kindle

(not to mention the audiobook; Amazon owns Audible!)

Placeor Convenience

Customer choice is everything now, but good service plays a part


Amazon has world domination in view; can it be controlled?

But what happens when all the booksellers have gone?

And what happens when the publishers’ profits are nil?

Promotionor Communication, conversation, and community

‘Prosumers’ (producers who are also consumers) can access and read content in so many different ways now

Social media


Instant messaging



Discussion forums

Video and music sites

Ebooks that encourage you to talk to friends and even the author (eg Kobo)

We need to use these tools better:FaBs, USPs, and AIDA

FAB = Feature and Benefit

F: concrete, specific, measurable, “editorial”

B: fuzzy, emotional, practical, “marketing”

Ask: ‘So what?’ Answer: ‘…which means…’

USP = unique selling proposition

AIDA = Attract Attention→ Gain Interest → Create Desire → Call to Action

So how can publishers and booksellers put themselves at the centre of these ‘conversations’?

Provide the tools and the places for interaction and communication

Add value to the experience of reading/sharing/discussing the content

Use the tried and tested tools we have

Focus on the quality that we as specialists can offer – but will the quantity follow?!

Don’t allow Google and the other techie companies to take over access, search, and discovery, as these are the new ways of selling

The key role of publicityPublishers: do more of it!Booksellers: just do it!

To increase sales

To raise profile

To create word of mouth, recommendations

Pivotal role – internally and externally

Internally: with other departments

Externally: author, agent, customers, influencers

Matching media with book and author, matching events with author

Not just digital: twitter isn’t the answer to everything!

Why is ‘discoverability’ so important?

The information on Google and other search engines is only ‘good enough’

If you don’t provide the right information for the right range of contexts, no one will find your content

People are starting to ‘try before they buy’, ie usage before purchase

Many people are looking at the topic before they look at the title

Google is hackable and corruptable (and messes up!); they, Apple, and Amazon have their own agendas

Metadata is critical to discoverability

The title of this book is “This is a Call ”

If you searched for

“ Dave Grohl ” you wouldn’t find it.

If you searched for

“ Kurt ” you wouldn’t find it.

(“We’ve fixed that now”, say Harper Collins)

Metadata in the publishing industry

Not just author, title, a clear abstract, and key words

You need metadata elements such as

- related editions

- movie tie-ins

- other titles in a series

- prizes, rankings, awards

Publishers need to gather, structure, maintain it

Booksellers need to present it in an attractive and simple way

Then people can discover, assess, and…buy!

Any questions?


Thank you


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