Sophie Kahan has a great job. She is the Manager of Publisher Promotions at KOBO. As part of her role, she develops eBook promotions for retailers such as Indigo Books & Music, Kobo’s award-winning eReaders and apps. She also partakes in events including Book Expo America and the London Book Fair. Tahira Rahemtulla interviews Sophie, ahead of her talk at BookMachine Toronto.
1. So, why did you agree to speak at BookMachine Toronto?
I’m always looking for ways to engage with the publishing community. I attend lots of different events here in Toronto and abroad, and benefit from the insight of others who give their time to present at those events. So this is just another way for me to participate, and to give back something. I’ve also spent the past few years at Kobo working on promotions across borders and time zones, from Canada and the US to the UK and even Australia, so BookMachine’s international scope intrigues me.
2. How did you get to your present position as promotions manager at Kobo?
I started out on Kobo’s Marketing team, working closely with the folks on the Content side of the business to develop promotions for the company’s retail and OEM partners. About a year later, the opportunity to work more closely with the publishing community opened up. Given my previous experience and the relationships I had already cultivated with the Content and Marketing teams at Kobo, the move was natural.
3. How fundamental is collaboration in publishing? How does the future of the industry rely on it? How does the consumer?
Collaboration is unavoidable in this industry. While publishers determine which content to bring to market, retailers are privy to customers’ reading preferences. So retailers are in a position to influence which books are brought to market and ultimately made available for purchase. eBook retailing takes this one step further, with the ability to share behavioural as well as sales data – how many books purchased are actually opened, how far into a book customers get before abandoning, etc. Sales data tells us what customers bought, but behavioural data tells us whether or not customers are likely to repeat this purchase.
4. Whom would you most like to be involved in collaborating with?
There are so many agents, authors and publishers that I’d love to work with – it’s difficult to pick just one! That said, I really enjoyed moderating a Twitter chat with Chuck Palahniuk at this year’s BEA and would welcome the chance to collaborate again. During the half hour so that we spent together, I learned that Chuck shares my interest in Abstract Expressionism, citing Jackson Pollock as his favourite artist, and doubles as a sculptor in his spare time. Collaborating on a project that would fuse art with publishing would be an incredible experience for me.
5. Whom would you most like to meet at BookMachine Toronto?
Jeffrey Archer. I had the opportunity to collaborate remotely with Jeffrey and his agent, Jonathan Lloyd of Curtis Brown, in the spring and would love to have the opportunity to meet in person.