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Distinguished Scribe
gb18
Posts: 819
Registered: ‎12-06-2010
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Publishers need to know their readers

Wordsmith
TnTexas
Posts: 884
Registered: ‎10-22-2011

Re: Publishers need to know their readers

From the article: Publishers need to get to know their readers and find out what they want if they are to halt the loss of market share to online powerhouses such as Amazon, industry figures say. ...... Amazon and Apple have used terabytes of data on their customers' reading and other habits to gain control of the market, leaving traditional publishers scrambling to find a way to get through to their readers.

 

What in the world does this even mean? It's not like Amazon and Apple don't get the majority of their content from the publishers. And publishers have pretty much always sold their content through stores, not directly. So exactly what marketshare are the publishers losing to Amazon? What am I not getting/understanding here?

 

The publishing industry has been "super resistant" to the idea that it should let audience insights drive content development, McLean said.

 

How does this person think publishing decide what to publish and what not to publish if they don't take into consideration what their audience wants? (Or at least what they think their audience wants) There are plenty of decent manuscripts that go unpublished because the publishing house believes there isn't a large enough market for them. How exactly does this person think the companies come to that conclusion?

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MrGrantClarke
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-20-2013

Re: Publishers need to know their readers

It's all about the data. Both Amazon and Apple can use their platform for data mining and that is powerful. No different than the data Google has access to. If you get enough info on people, it's much easier to see trends and cash in on them. If you knew what books consumers or subjects there were interested in now, not 5 years ago, it's a very very powerful tool.

I'm new and happy to be here!
Distinguished Bibliophile
Mercury_Glitch
Posts: 1,395
Registered: ‎06-07-2011
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Re: Publishers need to know their readers

I would be extremely surprised if publishers did not utilize digital tools to track trends and such among readers.

 

Something to keep in mind though, good books are not always popular books, likewise popular books are not always good. 

 

There are also a lot of other factors in to why books take off, look at "This is Why I Jump", it launched without a lot of fireworks, and would likely have been burried among other books on autism, likely overlooked when placed near "Look Me in the Eye".  Until it was on, I believe, The Daily Show (or The Colbert Report, one of the two).  It's jumped to being a best seller, and likely will remain a best seller for a good portion of the holiday season.

 

Apple and Amazon may have passed it over, there isn't a whole lot of demand for books on autism currently, Jenny McCarthy put out some books on it, and there was a small swell.  And while some books, notably the one mentioned above aside from "This is Why I Jump" continue to sell, there are many that barely sell. 

 

So are you really sure you want Big Brother choosing what books get made, or do you maybe think the publishers sort of know what they're doing since they've been doing this for longer than most other industries which have been affected by the digital revolution have existed.

The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.
Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,607
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Publishers need to know their readers


MrGrantClarke wrote:

It's all about the data. Both Amazon and Apple can use their platform for data mining and that is powerful. No different than the data Google has access to. If you get enough info on people, it's much easier to see trends and cash in on them. If you knew what books consumers or subjects there were interested in now, not 5 years ago, it's a very very powerful tool.


Traditional publishing isn't looking at what was popular five years ago, it's looking at what will be popular two to three years in the future.  Books are bought about two full years in advance, and by the time the trend becomes popular to readers, editors have moved on to the next thing.  As a YA writer, I pay attention to what the YA editors are doing, so I can pretty much tell you what the trends are going to be for teens, because I've seen what's been popular, what's been picked up.

 

Editors are paid to know what's good and what they can sell, and what the market will want.  It's not a perfect science and it never will be, but they are d--- good at it.  All Amazon can tell you is what people are doing now, and frankly that's irrelevant, because books aren't written overnight.