Perfect bound. Case bound. Soft cover. Hard cover. Sewn signatures. Glued signatures. Case wrap. Dusk Jacket. Board book. Chap book. Saddle stitched. What does it all mean? And what combination is best for your project? […]
In July, I presented a talk at the Eastern Sierra Book Festival. The organizer asked me to give an update on trends in the publishing industry. I decided to spend the allotted 30 minutes discussing current market forces that impact not only independent authors and small publishers but also impact any business competing for an audience’s valuable time.
The first two market forces are Our Competition and Our Content. These synergistic forces are evolving faster than many large businesses can adapt.
The third force is Amazon.com. In particular, I will emphasize the importance of diversification away from Amazon while continuing to use their platform.
Creating quality control protocols is just as important for the book publisher as it is for the factory. At the end of the day, book publishers are producing a product that will be mass manufactured on an assembly line and, hopefully, consumed by many people. The implication here is that we need to take great care in producing the books we publish, from design and editing to marketing and distribution.
Here is how it is going to happen.
- The new publisher establishes an imprint with one or more books that will sell.
- A website is built for the imprint. This includes a book submissions page with information on how to submit book proposals.
- The initial books are successful and penetrate the market, the publisher gains new contacts in the industry, and the imprint becomes known.
- Authors and others learn of the imprint and the submissions roll in.
- An undisciplined, new publisher sees these submissions and gets excited. This enthusiasm leads to taking on projects that the publisher doesn’t know how to market.
- Alternatively, the disciplined publisher browses the submissions, finds no leads and thus rejects all submissions, and then continues with the original business plan.
Book pricing is difficult and a bit like cold fusion—many people claim to have discovered the key to success, but none can prove it. That being said, there are steps that publishers can take to eliminate some of the magical guesswork from the process of setting prices for books.
Publishers must always remember why prices exist. Prices exist to create profit. The publisher should strive to generate their desired profit from the primary audience. Understanding the primary audience and the price elasticity of the book within the primary audience is critical to designing success and achieving profit goals. What follows is the method that I use to decide prices for books.