Get smarter about your books! The BookSmarts podcast features discussions about publishing data and technologies and interviews with industry experts, deep thinkers, and doers, bringing you insights that will help you sell more books.
Joshua Tallent is an acclaimed teacher and guide on the role of data in publishing, and a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.
This week, Joshua talks with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Chief Content Officer at LibraryPass, about how publishers can become more data-informed and avoid the pitfalls of being too data-driven.
The data-driven approach to publishing can lead to myopic thinking and decision-making. When a publisher only makes decisions based on Amazon sales numbers, they are likely to miss some important data about where those consumers discovered their books. Being data-driven like that can actually lead to reduced sales if broader discovery mechanisms are ignored.
As Joshua discussed in Episode 1, backlist sales are of growing importance to publishers, and the bestseller-focused model often makes the midlist much smaller. This can lead to fewer options in the backlist, and can limit a publisher's reach.
How does a publisher fight the inclination to be data-driven, and where can they get more data that will help them make better decisions? Guy suggests taking a page from the magazine marketing playbook: Focus on building up direct connections with the consumers who frequent your vertical, and learn from those communities. It is also helpful to create connections with other publishers and create shared opportunities.
In this episode of the BookSmarts Podcast, Joshua interviews Brian O'Leary, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), the US book industry's trade organization. Brian and Joshua talk about three areas where Brian sees the industry struggling now and with space for continued growth in the future.
First, Book Publishing is a small industry, so it is important that we leverage our collective strengths to solve problems and become more forward-thinking, using standards and other technological investments to do so.
Second, we are seeing a growing emphasis on rights sales and information sharing, but there are some large technological limitations that still need to be overcome in that area.
Third, the "last mile" of publishing is shifting, both for retail and for libraries, but the industry does not yet have enough data about how books are found, evaluated, and purchased. We need to better understand our market and the path book readers and consumers take.
In this episode, Joshua discusses how he sees some similarities between the state of the publishing industry and the story of the Oakland A's baseball team as told in the movie Moneyball. Competition is fierce, and solid data practices can be the key factor between success and failure.
Music by Timmoor from Pixabay