On “Fewer, Better Books”
By David Nussbaum, CEO, F+W Media, Inc.
The Kindle. The iPad. The BLIO. eBooks. The agency model. Social media. SEO. Direct-to-Consumer sales. Consumer data. The recession.
Not since the advent of the mass-market paperback has there been such fundamental change in our industry, and we can either seize the opportunity these changes bring and embrace the myriad formats and delivery vehicles available today – or be overwhelmed by the new paradigm of publishing and worry about the future.
But there is one very clear strategy that will help the bottom line, improve sell-through, improve shelf display, and continue to encourage the art and craft of producing quality books, no matter what new technology is introduced next.
Produce fewer, but better books.
Yes, that sounds very basic but it is a basic tenet that has been ignored by too many publishers for too long.
How do we do it? Eliminate the mid-list.
No longer can publishers afford to publish mediocrity; we all need to produce books that meet readers’ demand and exceed their expectations. We need to focus daily on creating remarkable, authoritative, entertaining, agile content and make it available through the reader’s medium of choice.
What are the benefits to producing fewer, better books?
- Improved sell-through: Better books sell better; retailers AND readers will be pleased with the return on their investment.
- Fewer returns: Inventory management becomes a process, not a noose, when sell-through is high.
- Enhanced pricing: Readers will pay more for better books; retailers will make more money as a result.
- Focused, cost-effective marketing: Social marketing and networking work best when they are focused on fewer titles and specific communities.
- Improved morale: By producing fewer, better books and selling more of them, publishers avoid falling victim to low morale as the entire organization will have greater pride, increased revenues, and increased profits.
Clearly this strategy won’t happen overnight; however, it might just be the right one to start today. The future is bright and we as publishers must strive to improve our performance.
What are your thoughts?