Category: Marketing

Self-employed in publishing

Observing the audience: how reader analytics are influencing the industry

Reader analytics are garnering huge attention at the moment and there are at least four major talks at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair discussing how and why publishers and authors can collect data on their readers. But with reader analytics taking the spotlight in publishing, the debate over the ethics of data harvesting and its uses has been brought to our doorstep.

Consensual data is happy data

The big issues around data harvesting are not just what information businesses and official organisations are collecting about us, it’s whether or not they’re doing it with our consent. For once, however, publishing is ahead of the curve on getting this one right.

Although big boys like Amazon remain the mysterious bastions of data collection they’ve always been, smaller companies specialising in reader analytics are proving to be honest, open and respectful about harvesting data. For example, Jellybooks use “reading campaigns” for as-yet unreleased books to provide information to publishers, in a similar way that a screen test would for a film studio. Jellybooks gathers data from readers who have volunteered to be monitored and received a free digital copy of the campaign book, which is clearly marked, so that the reader remembers they’re being observed.

What’s more, while Jellybooks have said that “though in principle [non-anonymised] data could be provided to the author or publisher” they do not give it. Despite some rumours, Jellybooks also does not gather data by measuring eye-movement, but by observing how the reader interacts with their app as they read. Jellybooks, and most reader analytics collectors, are more interested in the time of day consumers read, how long they read for, when they highlight or perform searches on text, and the operating system, device or browser being used. These are added to information the reader voluntarily provides, such as gender and age.

When working with companies like Jellybooks, publishers don’t need to feel compromised about using this data: it’s not an invasion, it’s a gift!

Data driven decisions

But why is data such hot property in the first place? Some have wondered – both in horror and hope – that reader analytics might effect the editorial process, but Jellybooks has said that this misunderstands how people read and the kind of data reader analytics can collect: “Readers judge a book as a whole based on storyline, language, characters, plot, etc. and not on individual chapters.” Though the data can be utilised in this way, knowing that “x” number of people dropped off at page 57 is not necessarily helpful to an author or a publisher.

Excitingly, what reader analytics can provide are evidence-based assessments of how a book is likely to perform in the market. Data on completion rates and recommendations gathered during the commissioning stage, for example, can help reduce the risk inherent in signing new books by indicating whether or not a book might be popular.

Later in the publishing process, analytics can also help marketing departments figure out how much budget to assign to their titles, what their audience looks like and how to find them – are they young or old, male or female? Do they binge-read on beach holidays, meaning you should get WHSmith Travel on board, or do they dip in on their on their commute to work, meaning you can grab them with a poster on the tube?

Best of all, this data is available via third-party companies like Jellybooks, meaning that although publishers have to pay fees for their data, they don’t need to make the huge investments in building platforms and software that was previously required. This information is more easily available to publishers than ever before.

Scratching the surface

Reader analytics still clearly has its limits and they may never become a magic wand for book sales, but the truth is that the possibilities for using this data are only just starting to be explored. Moreover, the software for collecting this data are still in its – albeit impressive – infancy. Looking ahead there is talk of Jellybooks developing some kind of “FitBit for books,” which will take retail copies of books into account as well as the pre-sales titles currently available. Others claim that one day soon we will be able to use data to predict the next big bestseller.

There can be no arguing that data harvesting is here to stay. The only, opportunity-filled question remains: how else are we going to use it?


Key trends in the global book market at Frankfurt Book Fair

Every year, the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the largest gatherings for the international publishing world and for the second year in a row, Nielsen’s Book team is collaborating with the fair to present key trends in the global market.

Nielsen BookScan operates in 10 territories around the world—U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Italy, Spain and Brazil—and that number will soon climb to 11 with Mexico launching later this year. Nielsen Book is therefore well positioned to provide rich market data and interpretation of global publishing trends that are invaluable to the global book business.

“The Frankfurt Book Fair is proud to work with Nielsen and to provide a platform for the largest gathering of the international publishing community to access this kind of critical information,” said Thomas Minkus, the Frankfurt Book Fair’s vice president of Emerging Media & English Language Markets.

We’ll be looking at the global picture of growth in key English-speaking territories both year-to-date and in the last 12 months. The main headline for these regions is the strength of the European territories. In particular, Ireland’s volume sales have grown 8.8% in the last 12 months, and all of the Top 10 publishers in Ireland are showing growth, year-on-year, 8 of those 10, showing double digit growth through Nielsen BookScan Irish Consumer Market.

This year, Frankfurt is also hosting a pre-fair conference, The Markets: Global Publishing Summit. The conference will focus on 7 key territories*, 3 of which—the UK, Spain and Brazil—have a Nielsen BookScan print sales panel. So what are the trends in these markets?

In Brazil, print book sales are down 3.5% for the last 12 months, with declines in the top 2 genres: Fiction and Adult Non-Fiction. However, sales of Children’s titles are up 3.9%, with large sales of the translated Little Prince pushing the title to the top the genre’s chart.

The U.K. and Spain print sales are up 6.2% and 0.9%, respectively. Spain’s largest category, Children’s, is up by 0.7% thanks to international bestselling author Jeff Kinney and the perennial favourite Asterix. The U.K. growth has been focused in the country’s two biggest genres, Children’s and Non-Fiction.

The Non-Fiction category, in particular, has been reinvigorated recently thanks to some trends that have had a global reach. In 2015, colouring books for adults reached phenomenal success in most territories, with some titles placing at or near the top of the charts for the year. In 2015 and 2016, the U.K. has seen a new take on cookery books with a strong drive for healthy cooking, at times combined with exercise. In fact, if it were not for the reappearance of a certain wizard in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the U.K.’s top-selling book of the year so far would be Lean in 15: 15 Minute Meals and Workouts to Keep You Lean and Healthy, selling 850,000 copies in nine months.

Looking to other territories, only Ireland and Australia have also had a top 10 ‘healthy’ cookbook. New Zealand’s top-selling cookery title was all about homemade food, while in Brazil, the top book of the year is a guide to a healthy and balanced diet inspired by God.

You can hear Andre Breedt, Director of Nielsen Book Research, discussing the key trends in the global market place at 2pm on October 18th on the Analysis Stage in Hall 4.0. Click here for details.

Marketing vs Design: Mark Ecob interview

Mark Ecob is Creative Director of cover design company Mecob Design Ltd, Associate Art Director at Unbound, and is speaking at our next event: ‘Marketing vs Design, which matters more?’. Prior to setting up Mecob, Mark worked at Hodder & Stoughton, The Orion Publishing Group and as Art Director for Canongate Books.

1) When did you first know that you were interested in a career in design?

I could always draw and had lots of ideas at school, and before I knew what design was I was producing things like posters and theatre programs.

Thanks to some great teachers and lecturers, I was gradually nudged towards graphic design. I fell into book cover work in a desperate attempt to find a job alongside thousands of other graduates, and loved it. That was sixteen years ago.

2) How do you work with marketers in your current role? 

Most of the time, cover designers just package the books. Even though I believe we should be part of a team which brands authors, their books and their campaigns as one overall entity, the industry doesn’t seem to agree, which I think is a real missed opportunity.

Sometimes I’m asked to pitch for a branding project, where my design can translate across mediums, but it generally stops there. Indy publishing is an exception, where authors have to take ownership of their own design and marketing, and look for designer’s help and advice out with just the book’s packaging.

3) Any tips for designers who need to communicate effectively with their colleagues in marketing?

Push to be involved in marketing, even just to consult, but acknowledge the expertise of marketers. Link in with them, translating your designs into brand values that can be taken through to a successful campaign.

4) What might we hear about in your talk on November 2nd (don’t share it all…)?

A rally cry for everyone to work together more.

You can hear Mark in London on 2nd November at Marketing vs Design: Which matters more? Grab a ticket here.

BookGig: The ‘publisher agnostic’ initiative launched by HarperCollins

A new initiative hit the book world this week: BookGig, ‘all the events from the authors you love’.

What’s interesting about that?

Well, it’s one of the few initiatives launched by a publisher (HarperCollins) that isn’t narrowly focused on that publisher’s own lists. ‘Publisher agnostic’, they’re calling it. Which is exactly what readers are, of course. HarperCollins have recognised that to do anything worthwhile they need scale, and to get scale they need comprehensive coverage. (Their reward, apart from the kudos and the opportunity to promote their own events and authors, is of course the contact details of hundreds or thousands of book lovers aka potential future customers.)

It’s also interesting because of the way it zooms in on a key point of differentiation – in a book ecosystem dominated by Amazon’s sheer scale, author events are a blue ocean of opportunity. (BookMachine fans know the value of a good event better than most, of course.) They’re also a win-win-win scenario: for the author, the opportunity to convert readers into raving fans; for publishers and booksellers, the opportunity to sell significant quantities of books; for readers, an experience that gives depth and texture to the book itself.

I’m fascinated by the range of events already featured – not just your traditional author readings and book launches, but book clubs, business breakfasts, workshops, even a walk. The possibilities are infinite: masterclasses, demonstrations, debates, all-night readings, fan fiction competitions, maybe a sneak preview of a new book with the opportunity to contribute or collaborate?

This for me is the most exciting space for publishing in the digital age – brokering not just a transaction but a relationship between author and reader.

future of the bookAlison Jones (@bookstothesky) is a publishing partner for businesses and organizations writing world-changing books. She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers.

Win a place on ‘Copywriting for publishers’ worth £435

If you work in publishing, you are already familiar with the power of words. Whether you have to write advance information sheets, catalogue entries, back-cover blurbs or taglines, direct-marketing letters, newsletters or website content – you know that your choice of words will impact your business.

BookMachine are partnering with the Publishing Training Centre to offer one lucky BookMachine member (individual or promoted) a free place on the ‘Copywriting for publishers’ course on 21st February 2017.

The workshop shows you how to harness that power to create copy that inspires persuades and sells.

By taking the course you will learn how to…

  • write copy that connects with your readers
  • exploit powerful techniques used by top professionals
  • apply these techniques to a range of copywriting tasks

The competition is open to BookMachine Members only – and you can join from only £3/month. We would very much like it if the winner wrote a short write-up of the course for the BookMachine site (read by 11,000 people a month) with their new found copywriting skills – but you don’t have to do this.

Next Tuesday morning all BookMachine members will be sent an email with a link. The first person to click on the link (hint: it will be sent in the morning) will win the place on the course.

BookMachine members get 15% off all Publishing Training Centre courses – useful if you aren’t the lucky winner and still want to take the course.

Marketing vs Design: Matt Haslum interview

Matt Haslum is Marketing Director at Faber & Faber and is speaking at our next event: ‘Marketing vs Design, which matters more?’. Before publishing, Matt spent 8 years building an award-winning digital creative agency. Since joining Faber, he has built a list-focused consumer marketing team alongside an award-winning website and Membership programme. 

1) When did you first know that you were interested in a career in marketing?

When I saw one of my first ever copy lines (as part of my first creative agency job interview) appear on a press ad. It was a great feeling, and from that moment I have taken real pride in seeing my work in ad form, whether it’s on outdoor, radio/TV, digital or social.

2) How do you work with designers in your current role?

Faber’s marketing team works with our in-house creative team, in-house design resource and external designers and our digital agency. We are involved in the cover process, we collaborate on jacket-led creative for campaigns and work together on briefing design both in and out of house.

3) Any tips for marketers who need to communicate effectively with their designer colleagues?

Here are 3 tips that I think are important:

1. Be extremely clear during the briefing process. Don’t leave things to assumption, unless you’ve worked extensively with a designer who knows you well. This will achieve the results you want quicker and more accurately.

2. Give context – background and aims – and a don’t over-brief look and feel, as that is what you are trusting a good designer to bring to the project.

3. Don’t write lengthy feedback. Make notes on the design so it can be implemented in situ / context, rather than the designer having to read, digest and then try to figure out actually what you mean. There are loads of collaboration tools online which are used a lot for web design, but I think they are great for campaign creative feedback too.

4) What might we hear about in your talk on November 2nd (don’t share it all…)?

Hopefully lots of interesting things! Maybe a little bit on collaboration, awareness of both teams needs in terms of creative output, growing skills and knowledge. All that sort of good stuff…

You can hear Matt in London on 2nd November at Marketing vs Design: Which matters more? Grab a ticket here.

Startup snapshot: Read Dog

Kate Cygan and Michael Wray are an entrepreneurial minded couple with insatiable reading habits. They recently moved to Denver, CO and are working on visiting every single coffee shop the city has to offer. Lifelong creatives, they both write and paint in their free time. You can check out Read Dog online at, on Instagram and on Facebook.

1) What exactly is Read Dog?

Read Dog is a monthly book curation service. We send monthly book boxes with books chosen specifically for individual readers. Every box is unique, hand-packed, and personalized.

Each of our boxes include a book (or sometimes books), notes on what’s new with Read Dog, and bookish items. Last month we included markers, crayons, a hand-bound notebook, a Read Dog coloring page, a ruler, and a ton of starburst candies. Check out our past boxes here:

In addition, we’re building a book-centered community to discuss novels, non-fiction, and short stories as well as book-relevant news. For now, we are creating a Facebook community for our Read Dog readers where we connect our readers with other bookish people, authors, and new books!

2) What problem does it solve?

We hope to build a the largest online book community in the world.

To start, we are learning what books people love, want, and re-gift to loved ones once they’re done. But the ultimate goal of Read Dog is to make sure that readers everywhere feel less lonely by connecting them with their book soulmates. Part of this goal includes making sure readers always have a book in their hand that challenges them and gives them a new perspective.

For now, we are guaranteeing an end to the re-reading conundrum where, as one of our subscribers described, you’re stuck “in a re-reading loop and unable to choose a new book.” We guarantee a new book, every month, that you’ve never read before.

3) Who is your target market?

We cater to readers everywhere. Though most of our readers have been reading since childhood and want something new, we have a couple of very young readers (one newborn even!). We have a fair number of parents buying boxes for their children and also children buying boxes for their parents which we love!

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We just quit our full-time jobs to focus on growing our business and brand, which makes this one of the most exciting and nerve-racking periods of our lives. Luckily, we are seeing results!

Over the past couple of months we’ve doubled our subscribers. Now we need to find a way to maintain our current growth while keeping in touch with the personalized aspect that makes Read Dog such an incredible service.

Our goal is to build a community of 1,000 readers by the end of 2017. Wish us luck!

5) What will be next for Read Dog?

We’re definitely going to have to be innovative in our solutions as we grow. We’re currently working on some custom “book playlists” for our readers that we know will be huge hits and will help us scale.

In the meantime, we also need to find a way to feed ourselves so may be doing some cross-promotions with local authors and bookshops. But for now, we are hyper-focused on delighting our customers.

Why small publishers sell more books with Nielsen Book2Look

ralph-moellersSmall independent publishers and self-published authors need to maximize the impact of their books and ensure they are easily found on the Internet. Ralph Möllers, the founder of a children’s publisher based in German decided to develop his own book widget, Book2Look, that would enable book buyers, both trade and consumer, to look inside the book before they purchase. The Internet makes content readily available for free. Ralph felt by offering easily digestible free content as a hook would encourage readers to want to read on and most importantly to click ‘buy’. Making the point of discovery the point of purchase.

As a starting point before any book campaign, publishers should think about whom their current readers are and what is happening in the marketplace. Here are some of Ralph Möllers’ latest observations, together with how this led to the development and continuing enhancement of the Book2Look widget.

Your Readers are web savvy

According to BBC research, young people now spend an average of three hours online a day. This seems quite a conservative estimate really, and professionals must spend more than double this amount. Tech savvy millenials are wise to advertising and many use ad blockers to protect them from the ‘lure’ of online shopping ads, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. According to eMarketer, about a quarter of all U.S. internet users, nearly 70 million people will use technology to block online ads in 2016. Publishers therefore need to develop respectful ways of promoting to these readers, as a result of this.  Nielsen Book2Look is therefore an ideal option that lets you share sample content, video, audio clips and other promotional material via the internet on social media sites, on your own site, author site or with retailers, bloggers and reviewers.  Each version can be tailored to meet your audience needs.

Shelf space is decreasing

Despite books such as the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, which achieve huge sales, shelf space for the average book in traditional book stores has been decreasing and this makes discoverability of new books extremely difficult for publishers. Author James Patterson launched an admirable initiative to help indie bookshops survive and thrive – however, in the UK in 2014, almost twice as many bookshops closed down as new ones opened. Between 2009 and 2016*, the number of independent booksellers in the UK and Ireland, has fallen by 25%. With fewer options to browse books in-stores, publishers need to replicate the ability to browse books online, and that’s where Nielsen Book2Look can help you reach a wider audience for your books.

The social media frenzy continues

Trends in Social Media usage are changing. Many Facebook users have migrated to Instagram or Twitter away from parental observation. Groups of friends prefer to communicate via closed groups on Path or What’s App. Professional networks such as Yammer give work colleagues a valid reason to chat online. Nothing remains constant but the one thing all forms of social media have in common is that they give their users the opportunity to share. Nielsen Book2Look lets your readers share sample content. It gives them a valid reason to communicate on their preferred social channels, and you can add a link to your preferred retailer, ensuring that you achieve sales.

Nielsen Book2Look is a tool that encourages readers to share and spread the word about the books they like. A tool that supports your local retailer by offering customised sample content. And lastly but not least, it’s a tool that gives you great analytical data about the performance of your book content that can be connected to your existing Google analytics account.


Today Nielsen Book2Look is helping thousands of publishers of all sizes worldwide to promote and sell their books. Nielsen Book2Look has achieved millions of book views, last year the figure was 20m, and we expect that to increase this year.  Ralph Möllers says: “As a developer and as a publisher I am really proud of this contribution to our industry and I am delighted that so many publishers around the world can take advantage of this remarkable book widget. Even better news is that Nielsen Book has launched its new ISBN Store which enables publishers not only to purchase their ISBNs online but the Book2Look widget too – what could be simpler than that?”

*2016 is seeing a number of new independent bookshops starting up, which might lead to a resurgence of high street retailing, but this is still a hugely competitive market with customers being offered a huge of point of purchase.



10 tips for authors to up their book marketing skills

rachel-thompson-225x300-225x300Rachel Thompson is a bestselling author, and a social media and author marketing/branding consultant (BadRedheadMedia). Here she shares her top 10 tips for author self-marketing.

Many authors are intimidated by the thought of marketing their books. As I mention in a post on my blog recently, the concept of an author platform makes most writers run away or start talking to the dust bunnies in the corner.

The basic premise of book marketing is this: write great books that people want to read, then effectively market them. If you’re self-published, use professional editors, designers, and formatters so your book looks amazing. I self-published my first three books and invested in those services through scrimping and saving. Now you can crowdfund. It’s doable.

If you’re traditionally published, you will still be doing the majority of your own marketing. I have an agent now and am published by a boutique literary agency out of NYC. While they do a small bit of marketing, I do 90%. My BadRedhead Media clients are a mix of NYTimes bestsellers and successful indie authors, and they too are doing all their own marketing.

You must market your books so people can find them. Here are my top ten tips:

1) Know your demographic

Who is your ideal reader? Most authors have no clue (I know I didn’t at first either). The best place to start: Pew Research Center. Tip: Everyone is not your demographic.

2) Where is your ideal reader spending time online?

That’s where you need to be. Most authors spend their time on Facebook, whining about how their books aren’t selling. Facebook is the largest social media channel in the world – but is it where your readers are? If your books are YA, you need to be on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, which skews younger.

3) Be social on social media

Too many authors blast and spam, with little to no interaction, which is not only ineffective, it also violates almost every social media channel’s rules. Listen, retweet and share, interact and reply. It’s not all about you. And for all that’s holy, cancel that automated welcome on Twitter. Newbie mistake.

4) Blog at least once weekly

This is effective for your SEO. Not sure what to blog about? Focus on your branding and keywords. What are you most excited about? Remember, we brand the author not the book. Write about what you are authentically passionate about or an expert in (Hint: it doesn’t have to be writing!).

5) Add your social media icons to your website and blog

This is seems so obvious, but so many authors don’t do it. If you make people search for ways to find you, they’re out.

6) Add your books to your site/blog

One author complained recently that nobody was purchasing her books. I looked at her site and you couldn’t find a single purchase link anywhere! Lesson: add your books and link to Amazon (and other purchase sites).

7) Be authentic

Not sure what to tweet/post/blog about? It’s really easy: what interests you? Share that, even if it’s not at all about your book. So what? Unclear about your branding? Read more here: Branding 101.

8) Use tools to manage it all

I love tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, ManageFlitter, and content aggregators (there are many) that shorten and organize my online time. Most offer free options and are zombie-easy to use.

9) Have a plan, work the plan

I find most authors will flit from here to there, trying a bit of this and a bit of that, with no strategy or clear goals in place. Create a marketing plan, have goals, and measure those goals. Reset as needed.

10) Above all else, write a damn great book

None of the above will matter if your book is awful. Learn your craft. Spend the time and effort to work with a professional editor, formatter, and graphic designer. Use betareaders. Send out ARCs. Make sure your book is as close to perfect before release to have the best possible chance at success!

Engaging new readers using Nielsen Book2Look widgets

Julia How co-founded The Witcherley Book Company in 2013. They now have a list of over 50 titles in an expanding catalogue, mainly covering puzzle books and comedy fiction. Here Julia talks about how The Witcherley Book Company have been using Nielsen Book2Look widgets for engaging their readers.

Around 40% of the world’s population has an Internet connection. Back in 1995, it was just 1%. Does that make it easy for publishers to get their books found by everyone online? Not really. As Internet usage increases, the amount of content on the web is increasing exponentially. To give you an even more precise figure, the amount of content on the Internet has started to double every 9-24 months.

So how do publishers go about getting their books found amongst this plethora of content? For a start; it helps to try something different – a new format, for example – to take your readers by surprise, and give them a better experience than they are used to. Nielsen Book2Look widgets do just that. They allow book publishers to share book extracts on their websites and on author websites, whilst also encouraging readers to share what they have found on social media.

We signed up to Book2Look widgets as soon as we heard of them, and have benefited from the range of features ever since. Here are some of the benefits:

QR codes

QR codes are a marketers’ marmite. They either work for you, or they don’t at all. Our main use for QR codes is in the back matter of other books in a series, but they have also been very useful on printed promotional materials: on leaflets, catalogues, bookmarks etc. With the increased use of mobile phones to access and buy products, they allow us to link through to a professional online book display.

ONIX and analytics

Smart publishers know the value of using an international standard to supply their book data, for instance using ONIX. Nielsen Book2Look data and images can now be loaded via ONIX, making it easy to use for publishers everywhere and provide a consistent source of data to data aggregators such as Nielsen Book and others. Google analytics can be embedded on each page too, so that you can fully analyse your reader journey.


Once the links to the widgets and QR codes are set up, they retain the same link addresses, so we haven’t had to change where they are embedded or printed, as they show the latest version with all the new features, automatically and simply allow us to keep up with new developments while we retain full control of the material presented.

The results

We’ve added the widgets to the company and author websites, and have seen them shared on some social media sites. Although we’ve not had masses of widget views (in the 100s rather than the 1000s), our first widget, set up in 2014, continues to receive views. We have seen follow-throughs to the shop links of 12-20%.

We’ve been pleased with the Book2Look widgets and look for opportunities to use them, and to update them with new material and to exploit new features. We plan to continue using them for our future fiction books. We’re excited this leading edge tool is accessible to a small publisher and look forward to future developments.







Click on the jacket image above to see this in action

10 lessons from BIC’s New Trends in Publishing Seminar

Attending an event on ‘new trends’ seems apt at this time, just as everyone is ramping up on their Frankfurt preparation. We took away much more than 10 lessons from this jam-packed morning – but thought 10 might just whet your appetite for now.

Ruth Jones (Publisher Business Development, Ingram Content Group):

  • Amazon chose to go to market first with books, because books are well-ordered and categorized. Publishers understand their IP and know how to sell under ‘normal’ conditions – which helps to ride any waves of uncertainty and makes experimentation easier to manage.
  • It is thought that young people who spend time online have small attention spans as they constantly engage with bite-size content. This is just not true – they have huge attention spans, but only for content that is relevant, engaging and personalized to them.

Richard Orme (Chief Executive, DAISY Consortium):

  • Captain Ian Fraser lost his sight during Battle of Somme. Because of this, he worked with RNIB to find a reading machine for other blind soldiers. RNIB and DAISY now work with publishers to make sure as many books as possible are published in accessible formats so they can be enjoyed at the same time by anyone, regardless of their reading requirements or preferences.
  • The Marrakesh Treaty facilitates access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled. It was the fastest UN treaty to ever be signed, and it comes into force on 30th September 2016. The Treaty lays out specific rules for accessible formats.

Natalie Smith (Associate, Harbottle & Lewis):

  • The data protection act was made in 1998, so needs updating in line with changes to the way businesses operate. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into direct effect in the EU from 25 May 2018. It will result in big changes, and higher penalties for misuse of data.
  • Even if the UK leaves the EU, we will still need to comply and adjust to the GDPR standards, because they will have a new extra-territorial scope for those, from outside, who do business with the EU.

Andre Breedt (Director Book Research International, Nielsen Book):

  • New research from Nielsen shows that the most important element of successful book sales is uploading a cover image with your book data. 83.2% of books sold had a ‘full-set’ of metadata assigned to them.
  • Timing is also important for a successful book launch. It is advised by BIC that metadata is provided 16 weeks prior to a publication date.

Florin Craciun (Head of Sales, Ingenta):

  • Your backlist, is another publishers frontlist. In other words – a good place to look, when trying to increase revenues is monetization of the backlist.
  • Revenue from rights departments flows to the bottom line. Historically there has been minimal investment in the infrastructure of rights departments; and this too, can be an ideal place to focus for increased revenues.

Thanks to BIC for hosting such an interesting event!




Savvy business snapshot: Bookspeed

Bookspeed specialise in building the perfect range of books and gifts for retailers. Lewis Dawson is Commercial Director and is responsible for all buying and procurement operations, and overseeing the management of commercial activities across the business. He works closely with Bookspeed’s Sales Director, Fiona Stout, to expand the product portfolio enabling the company to forward into an exciting period of diversification and expansion.

1) Tell us a bit about Bookspeed

Bookspeed has been providing bespoke ranges of books for over three decades for a wide variety of retailers in the UK Gift and Heritage markets. Our customers range from stately homes to design led gift retailers. In recent years we have extended our range building service to include toys and gifts in with our book ranges.

2) What’s the gap in the market?

Buying books is hard. There are hundreds of publishers, producing thousands of books all year round. We use our expert knowledge of the book trade to create highly individual ranges that form a key part of our customers’ retail offer. As an independently owned business, without any allegiances to specific publishers or producers, we are the only genuinely impartial specialist wholesaler in the UK. This means our only incentive is to provide our customers with the best advice and suggestions to maximise their sales, and in turn ours.

3) What are your most popular collections at the moment and why?

There are two really strong collections at the moment in the Gift market, one is “Parody Humor” made popular by the phenomenally successful “Ladybird Books for Grown Ups” series. We sold over a quarter of a millions units of this series alone! This year we have more in the Ladybird series, but also parodies of the Famous Five books that we are expecting to do very well. Our other strong collection is, of course, Adult Colouring. This is a trend that has been popular for a couple of years but in 2015 it reached a crescendo. It is still a strong trend, but we are finding that consumers are looking for the more unusual or quirky colouring titles, rather than the big designer names like Joanna Basford and Millie Marotta. One of our most popular Adult colouring titles this year has been the “Passive Aggressive Colouring Book”

4) What are the benefits of selling books, toys and gifts together?

Our Account Managers, one of which every customer has dedicated to their account, all have a great eye for design and retail layout. Many have experience in retail themselves. These skills are used to build the ranges of books that we offer our customers, however there is no reason to limit the use of these skills only to ranges of books. Expanding our product portfolio allows our creative Account Managers to use their range building skills with more products, encouraging more cross merchandising and driving sales for our customers. We are careful to choose which partners we work with when bringing in new products on board, we want to make sure all new products we add into the business complement those we currently sell. We want suppliers to have a story to tell, not just a collection of products they want to flog!

5) And are there any drawbacks to this approach?

One thing we have found is that we are increasingly becoming a key supplier for many of our customers as their business with us grows. This means there is much greater scrutiny on our performance and the service that our customers receive. Ensuring that our high standards are maintained whilst growing quickly can be challenging, but we have an excellent team here and I’m confident we’ll continue to rise to the challenge.



book blog

Award-winning book blogs: Amber Kirk-ford interview

Amber Kirk-Ford is a 17 year old book blogger who aspires to work in journalism and/or publishing, and dreams of one day seeing her own work on bookshelves around the world. Amber has been running The Mile Long Bookshelf single-handedly since 2009. Norah Myers interviews her to find out more.

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