Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Case for Publishing Direct to Consumers

As publishers produce ebooks for consumption of mobile devices they are increasingly learning they can also by-pass Amazon and Apple and sell directly to their customers.  John Oakes at OR Books has produced a very nice article for Publisher's Weekly.

"At OR Books, which specializes in nonreturnable, prepaid sales straight to the consumer, we’ve found that, with some effort and increasing success, it’s possible to persuade readers to sidestep the still-young tradition of heading straight to Amazon for purchases. Such a prospect needn’t spell disaster for physical stores, either. Counterintuitively, our growing experience with direct sales has led us to re-examine our bookstore connections."

What comes through John's experience: fostering a community of readers online can stimulate physical books sales through bookstores.  Creating "buzz" and engaging consumers directly is coming of age.

As John says, "Amazon is not the last word in bookselling".  At Bitmenu, we are seeing more PDFs and ePUB files distributed by publishers who have become increasingly sophisticated in engaging their readers.

UPDATE:  In Sweden comes some very compelling examples of publishers going direct.  In addition, this very clear new requirement for success:

But it’s a high that comes with a low. Because the great benefits of selling directly to the readers also demands a new mindset. D2C is perfect for the long tail economy, which grow both bigger and longer, but will always struggle with discoverability as its inherent nemesis. To stand out in the vast and growing world of digital content, you need to leave the shadows of traditional publishing and take a big, brave step out in the light. You need to build a relationship with your readers, be present where they are, and make it easy for them to understand what you do and to tell others about it. In other words: you need to build a brand.