In Case You Missed DBW 2017, Here’s A Recap



Digital Book World 2017 was a very interesting event.  It provided views from all parts of the industry to give attendees a taste of the entire publishing sphere. The conference was categorized into four tracks:-

  • Editorial acquisitions and development
  • Production and distribution
  • Marketing and sales
  • Data analysis and reporting

Over the years, the conference has grown in international stature with an appeal to a growing global market.  According to Porter Anderson of Publishing Perspectives, “FW Media’s production team has reported that some 20 percent of the registrants for the conference are from outside the States.” A lot of issues were discussed at the conference.

For some, there is the increasing difficulty of a publisher’s book being discovered by the consumer. According to John Sargent, CEO, Macmillan, “Discovery is an ever-growing problem. Big titles get bigger, and everything else gets harder and harder to find and sells fewer and fewer copies. Retail power is consolidating.” For others, it was about rights management issue that publishers face in 2017 and beyond.

But let’s get to the specifics. What were the takeaways of DBW 2017?

  • Publishing is Durable – Between 2015 and 2016, there was a gain in the volume of book sales by 3.3 percent. In the same period, consumer confidence was low due to the economy, terrorism and the presidential election.
  • Print Books are Making a Comeback –The aptly named ‘Data Guy’ presented an explanation for the rise in US trade print sales in 2015 and 2016 is that in 2015, the large trade publishers’ agency contracts eliminated retailer discounting of eBooks prompting online retailers like Amazon, in mid-2015, to increase its discounts on their print books.
  • Converting Book Browsers Into Buyers – Peter Hildick-Smith, CEO of Codex-Group, spoke on the difficulty of getting more buyers to buy more books rather than just browsing or reading them on the spot. Codex interviewed more than 8,000 past month book buyers in the last four months to map the path they now take from initial discovery to reading interest to purchase interest to actually buying a new book. His insights provided a great way forward in order to get more people to buy more books.
  • Rights Management – Bill Rossenblat, President of New York City-based GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, spoke on the problems that publishers run into when it comes to using and re purposing content in ways that digital publishing and sales are making available today in the segment entitled ‘Does Your Content Knows its rights?” It speaks to the larger issues of rights management. Rossenblat spoke on how rights management can improve a company’s standing in the market. He said, “First, assess what you have and ask what could be achieved if you could take the wish list, match it up against your inventory shows and see where the gaps are.” He also spoke on the issues of fair use.
  • Amplified Marketing – More publishers are using social media to market their content/titles/books to reach a wider audience. Hachette and Perseus Books Group both use social listening — the practice of listening to the marketplace online to gain insights (not just monitoring your own social media feeds) — to prioritize what marketing activities will make the biggest impact on a book’s sales.
  • Discount Book Bundles increases sales – More people are buying books in bundles. More importantly, it’s a great way to increase eBooks sales.  According to survey data from BookBub, 77% of bargain book buyers also buy full-priced books, and 63% of readers have purchased other books by an author they discover as part of a price promotion.

We’re only at the start of 2017. So, there will be more things that will change as the year passes on.


List of Sources