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Digital book marketing: How to capture the opportunity without breaking the bank


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Title: Digital book marketing: How to capture the opportunity without breaking the bank

Digital book marketing How to capture the
opportunity without breaking the bank
  • Brian OLeary and Ted Hill
  • Tools of Change Conference
  • February 12, 2008

  • Primary findings
  • Managing digital content in a new marketing era
  • Project background and methodology
  • Estimating ROI
  • Recommendations (including how do I start doing

What our studies revealed
  • Every" smaller publisher who wants to compete
    using digital marketing assets needs a digital
    asset partner
  • Most" mid-size publishers could still do better
    working with a digital asset partner than by
    managing it in-house
  • "Only" the largest publishers can justify the
    cost of building an infrastructure that is spread
    across multiple media and content assets
  • The rest of us will have to forge new
    distribution relationships through them or around
    them (your call)

Graphically speaking
Use cases specific to your house may shift your
position relative to break-even, but in almost
all cases the difference will not justify doing
this work on your own
The challenge of managing digital content in a
new marketing era
The growing importance of digital marketing
  • Increasingly, readers, book buyers and the media
    use the Web to learn about new titles and authors
  • As traditional main-stream media outlets lose
    their marketing effectiveness, publishers need to
    increase their presence in emerging online
  • The rapid emergence of these new uses for digital
    assets outstrips most publishers abilities to
    take advantage of them
  • To capitalize on these opportunities cost
    effectively (and maintain content control),
    publishers need to develop a single content
    repository as an authoritative source that serves
    a wide variety of channels

Many literary agents see opportunity in digital
  • Most (96) felt that an effective author Web
    presence sells more books
  • 53 believe authors should spend more than 5
    hours a week on their Web sites (the median
    response was 5.9 hours per week)
  • The digital tools of greatest value were author
    Web sites, fan Web sites, online columns, author
    blogs and book excerpts (in that order)
  • Web site budgets were typically small (between
    1K and 5K to develop, and a similar range or
    less to maintain)
  • The strongest subject areas for internet
    marketing were business, self-help, diet/cooking
    and health, followed by religion and commercial

This survey, developed in concert with Market
Partners, was conducted in late 2006 new survey
results confirm the findings
The content challenge is significant
  • Almost every publisher acquires or creates
    multiple files for each title
  • All publishers manage an even higher number of
    versions of files for each title
  • Even smaller and mid-sized publishers may
    acquire, manage and distribute thousands of new
    digital files each year
  • The mix of formats (adult hardcover, trade
    paperbacks, young adult, childrens) and
    complexity of a publishers front-list has often
    been supported by a diverse range of content
    processes that dont map consistently to a
    uniform content repository
  • As short-run production technologies come online,
    fewer titles are declared out of print and the
    breadth of backlists and the files needed to
    support them has increased

And digital marketing has grown more complex
  • Agreements signed with new partners such as
    Google Book Search and Microsoft Live Search
    Books require support
  • New digital marketing and sales opportunities
    continue to crop up on a regular basis (most
    recently, and will require support
  • Typically, digital assets are not stored
    repositories whose structure allows efficient IP
    discovery and distribution
  • Workflow and infrastructure were designed to
    support turnkey book production and sales so new
    uses must be addressed by hand
  • The fluid nature of this evolving marketing
    toolkit makes it difficult to realize the
    benefits of economies of scale while taking
    advantage of available opportunities

The desired state for digital marketing workflow
  • Digital files for all new titles and most active
    backlist are indexed and stored in a single
  • Book Search, Live Search, Search Inside, and BN
    are supplied with new titles and most active
    backlist in low-cost, turnkey process
  • Highest potential new titles and backlist are
    converted for major eBook formats Kindle, Palm,
    Mobipocket, Adobe conversion costs for Sony,
    Microsoft and other formats can be evaluated
    against sales potential
  • All new titles are evaluated against a checklist
    of digital marketing assets which are stored
    alongside metadata, production files and final
    content assets

Project background methodology
Our studies began with a specific market
We looked broadly at the options, so that we
could reliably establish the relative costs and
benefits marketing in this emerging digital
How we approached the project
  • Based our use cases on the most common list of
    digital asset recipients (DARs)
  • Documented the cost of supplying digital content
    to production, sales, and marketing partners
  • Identified opportunities to use partners to save
    money or improve sales revenues (pre-, on- and
  • Evaluated the likely cost of engaging leading
    digital asset distributors
  • Examined what would help make a publisher
  • Created a business case for digital distribution
    of book content

Market structure influenced our choice of use
An evolving part of the market
There is substantial overlap among DARs
(merchants run web sites and book search
programs, etc.)
Improving your digital asset workflow returns
benefits in two forms
A better workflow helps on several fronts
  • Cost savings and new revenues associated with an
    efficient digital workflow can more than offset
    associated investments (as shown in the following
  • The benefits stem from having a single,
    authoritative source of digital content and a
    simplified workflow enabled by it
  • The extent of both savings and revenues depends
    on the ability of publishers to take full
    advantage of partner capabilities
  • The single biggest benefit may be the avoided
    cost of building and maintaining an in-house DAM

Estimating ROI
Guidelines for analysis
Assessing costs and benefits of a digital workflow
Cumulative over 3 years assumes a staged accrual
of benefits starting with hard costs in year 1
and a portion of soft (staff) costs in years 2, 3
Per-title benefits of a digital workflow
Cumulative over 3 years costs and benefits vary
by publisher, with the relative benefits
available in each area subject to some variations.
Estimated return on investment
A net benefit of about 124K over 3 years
Depending on assumptions about initial expense
and the timing of benefits, ROI can vary from 9
to over 60, calculated over the 3 years
Recommendations, including How do I start doing
Getting ready to implement a digital workflow
Other ways to prepare for a digital future
You can take on this work in stages
  • Develop an internal set of priorities on which
    use cases matter, and which ones matter most
  • Develop a clear internal consensus on whether
    your house will manage or outsource digital asset
  • Identify opportunities to update or revise
    processes to streamline content management
    (whether outsourced or managed internally)
  • Work to streamline efforts that support metadata
  • Look downstream to prepare for use cases in which
    content (complete books or components) and
    metadata will need to travel together

If you are just starting out today
  • Without a comprehensive DAD solution, the pain of
    supporting new asset uses will grow and the
    benefits of investments already made will not be
    fully realized
  • The DAD decision mixes both strategy (how do you
    best manage your content?) and tactics (what is
    the most cost-effective distribution option?)
  • This review indicates that a DAD investment
    offers operational agility with reasonable
    dividends paid over a three-year implementation
  • Some benefits (online book search, syndication
    support) may be more significant than the use
    case analysis suggests, but the benefits will not
    be established until other enabling decisions are
  • There is a healthy mix of current priorities that
    can be addressed now to help accrue near-term
    benefits and determine future paths

For additional information
  • Ted Hill,
  • Brian OLeary, brian.oleary_at_magellanmediapartners.
  • Thank You!