10 Points For Publishers To Focus On In 2017



2016 was an interesting year for publishers as there were changes in the political landscape, rising Asian influences and further headway into the digital publishing domain.  All of these factors will contribute to the publishers’ focus in the coming year as well as meeting the needs of the dynamic consumer.  On that note, here are the 10 points that publishers will need to focus on in 2017.

1. Marketing – The main aim of all publishers is to sell more books. In 2017, publishers will put more resources into maximizing their profits through some of the latest marketing techniques available.

  • Increasing visibility – More publishers are interested in having their books reach a wider audience. There will be an increased reliance on the effective use of keywords, rich metadata tag descriptions, book recommendations and targeted book marketing.
  • Automation – Automated marketing has seen an uptick this past year and will certainly become more of a trend as more publishers adopt the system. According to Nucleusresearch.com, “Marketing automation drives a 14.5 percent increase in sales productivity and a 12.2 percent reduction in marketing overhead.” It identifies and maximizes the critical data needed for marketing campaigns, which has proved useful to publishers worldwide.
  • Social Media – More businesses in various industries, including publishing, have increased their investment in social media marketing. Social media AD spending is likely to exceed $35 billion in 2017, representing 16 percent of all digital AD spending globally. More publishers are likely to follow suit in the same direction.

2. Going Mobile – In the last 15 years, there has been an increase in the usage of mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and iPads. It’s estimated that 80% of internet users own a Smartphone.  In education, more users are getting educated via mobile content, also known as m-learning. It’s more to do with practicality, adaptability and instant access through the use of apps.

 In the workplace, more workers are using mobile devices, due to an increase in the number of employees working remotely.  According to Global Workplace Analytics, employees are not at their desk roughly 50 to 60 percent of the scheduled workday. In essence, training employees is being conducted via mobile content. Publishers would be wise to invest in this sector as there is a demand for customized mobile content such as interactive material, multi-lingual text as well as audio-video content.  Investment in m-learning will continue to rise in the years to come.

3. Consumer Behavior – Consumer behavior illustrates how each reader reads various titles and records their actions after reading it. Simply put, it provides clear insights to publishers into how readers are responding to various eBooks and other forms of content on a variety of media devices. One of the key applications of reader analytics is to allocate precious marketing dollars on the right books. Superior analytics lead to a higher profit margin. In 2017, this is more likely to receive additional attention in the industry.

4. Quality Control- According to a recent survey for digital publishers, a topic that continued to generate interest was quality, with more than 56 percent of respondents saying it was a major concern. Other concerns were ‘retaining formatting’ and ‘errors caused by automated conversion.’ In the digital world of eBooks, there is no room for error as more readers are consuming this format on a daily basis.  Publishers should focus on the overall quality of content that is being generated.

 5. Securing New Rights – In 2017, more publishers will be prioritizing copyrights and rights distribution in various countries. In the last 12 months, there have been changes in the political landscape. In the United Kingdom, the effects of Brexit is being felt with a decrease in consumer confidence and spending. In the European Union, there is a proposal for a Digital Single Market (DSM) where the free movement of persons, services and capital is ensured and where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition. Similarly, in the United States, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) sent an open letter to President-Elect Donald Trump in regards to current laws being ill-equipped to protect their intellectual property.

 This brings about the larger issue of monetizing assets and the need for publishers to secure new rights for their assets.  Publishers will need to keep a checklist of their assets, reduce liability and research costs.

6. Growing Indo-China Influence – There will be more investment from China in the publishing sector. According to an article by Publishers Weekly, the state-owned publishing Zhejiang Publishing United Group became the fifth Chinese publisher in the global top 50.

 India is also poised for substantial growth as more people in India are becoming literate. By 2020, it’s estimated that the country’s literacy level is projected to reach 90%. The unique features of India’s demographics in terms of a growing population present tremendous opportunities for the growth and expansion of the publishing industry in all sectors.

7. More Multi-Media Investment – Over the last few years, publishers have seen growth in this sector with more interactive video and audiobooks being offered to clients.  Part of this move has to do with audience engagement. Unlike articles, which tend to be skimmed through, videos have a 75%+ view completion rate; plus, research shows that people are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. Similarly, audiobook sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21% in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association.

In 2017, it will be prudent for publishers to invest in areas of education, corporate training as well as trade publishing, using these formats to their advantage.

8. Go Beyond Digital – In 2016, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) had an impact on the wider spectrum of popular culture. Especially accompanied by the impact of the AR mobile game, Pokémon Go, with an estimated 500 million downloads, since its launch in July. While it’s true that both these concepts are still in their infancy, there is still massive room for further development and investment. Immersive storytelling, ever-changing demands of consumers and an interactive experience are some of the main reasons why publishers could see greater returns in these formats.

9. More Publishing Platforms – Going into 2017, publishers around the world will seek to bring down their overhead expenditures. They’re more likely to invest in more publishing platforms to streamline the production and editorial process, and simplify the publishing workflow to lower costs for a greater return-on-investment.

 10. Rise of Independent Book Stores – Bookstore sales rose 2.5% in 2015, marking the first time since 2007 that sales in the sector were up. This was largely due to an increase in the number of independent bookstores as sales rose more than 10% from 2015 than in 2014. It continued well into 2016, with better prospects in the coming year. While it’s an anomaly as many thought that book stores were declining, it’s something that publishers should keep their eye on in 2017.


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