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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Double Dipping- 2 posts for the price of one

I wanted to share some highlights from Skip Prichard's great speech at Wi7 this morning.  I won't do justice to the examples and the way he laid things out, but he had some great ideas that apply to any business and not just book selling.   His theme was the 5 Ifs...

  1. If selling books is your purpose, your store will fail  His point being you have to have a much broader mission, if it is just to sell books - it might as well be widgets.  You have to inspire and give people a reason to want to work for or come to your store.
  2. If you think it is impossible to compete in today's market, it isn't.  
  3. If you are doing the same thing you did yestersay, you may be in trouble tomorrow.
  4. If you want help, it is within reach.
  5. If all else fails, get a NYT #1 best selling author to be your partner.  That was his lead in for Ann Patchett, who was terrific and inspiring as well.

The blog post below was forwarded to me from Rick Calvert who we partner with on BlogWorld East.  I was talking to people last night saying this was interesting but I did not have the guts to post it.  I hate thinking I would not do something that even though it is provocative, because I would be worried about getting backlash.  I think it is worth sharing and as BEA morphs along with publishing, book selling and everything else on the planet, the crime would be in ignoring the conversations like this one.  




Jonathan Fields  Publishing's Big Bad Game of Chicken...

Interesting game of chicken we see happening in book publishing. For a few generations, a small number of companies who fund and release the content have relied on an extensive network of distributors and resellers to extract and return cash. They don't consider the ultimate viewer/reader the customer, in their minds the distributor/reseller is.

The publishers see the handwriting on the wall, but every time they hint at doing something that'd go direct to the real ultimate consumer (the reader), their current perceived customer--distributors and resellers--freak out and say they'll stop selling their stuff.

So, it ends in one big, fat stale-mate. Nobody wants to balk, because both sides know the change that's necessary will mean a huge amount of creative destruction and, very likely short-term financial hit, while publishers build the machinery necessary to make up the loss of an immediate hard-stop in the current mode of distribution.

Publishers need to embrace the opportunity to build huge, vertical-specific communities, prime them with regular non-book value and establish direct relationships with ginormous numbers of readers. That will become the new value proposition that replaces distribution as the big sell for authors.

And, it'll let publishers be able to finally reclaim the ability to tell authors, "hey, you just write, we've got your market right here." Because even if authors can go indie/self with increasing ease, most still don't want to. They just want to hide out in some cafe and write (I'm the aberration, and yes, I also train other aberrant writers to work the new system and actually enjoying, gulp, marketing, what of it? lol).

Meanwhile, the direct-to-consumer market keeps chipping away and increasing the realization that change is inevitable and it's going to hurt, at least for a short while, and very likely eliminate a huge number of people in the middle.

At some point, the pain of not changing will become greater than perceived pain of change, and the studios/publishers will say screw it and make an aggressive move to go direct and serve the people they need to be serving to stay alive. And, in the end, they'll be a lot better off because of it. But, nobody wants to endure the disruption until they have to.

In publishing, at least you have massive disruptors like amazon forcing the issue and individual content creators have the ability to increasingly peel away and do it all themselves.

This is the future. The only question is when the pain of the status quo will exceed the perceived pain of reconfiguration on a level that finally inspires action.

What say you?

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