Should authors market their books like music albums?
Tim Ferriss stopped marketing The 4-Hour Chef as a book. Instead, he marketed it as a startup; relying on an iterative release schedule and spreadable, targeted content. Ferriss let usage drive product upsell, and users drive book seeding and distribution. He built in mechanisms for reward and social echo throughout the promotional cycle, mobilizing potential readers to act. Here’s how you hack publishing in sixty days or less … Ferriss designed each chapter and section to be self-contained. There are infographics and recipe cards. The 4-Hour Chef, and titles like it, resemble albums more than they do books. They’re epic thematics broken down into 3-minute tracks. This book-as-album strategy gives authors like Ferriss a significant advantage. Releasing chapters as singles creates a continuous news cycle during pre-launch promotion. It effectively creates radio play; increasing the chances that you’ll get heard with sample content. At the same time, it provides the flexibility to micro-target: using different chapters to reach and activate different readers. Ferriss used the book’s lessons in restaurant-cool to talk to the fashion kids at Refinery29, adventures in hunting to talk to MeatEater, and performance diet secrets to talk to the UFC crowd. It’s easier to mobilize micro-collectives of readers than it is to move one big mainstream bloc.— Your Book Is A Startup: Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Chef, And The BitTorrent Publishing Model
"A massive process of literary rebirth is under way"
Revenue for adult hardcover books is up 8.3 percent from 2011, and paperback sales are up 5.2 percent. Book sales for young adults and children grew by 12 percent last year. E-books accounted for 30 percent of net publisher sales in the adult fiction category in 2011 — compared with 13 percent in 2010 — but there’s little evidence that those numbers represent anything other than a shift in format. The e-reader is creating a new market, not destroying an old one. People with e-readers read more books than those without, and on average adult Americans read seventeen books in 2011 — a number that hasn’t been higher since Gallup and Pew began tracking the figure in 1990. And it’s not just crap books. The percentage of Americans who told the National Endowment for the Arts that they read literature rose in 2008 (their most recent survey) by 3.5 percentage points to more than half the population — the first gain in twenty-six years.— The Golden Age for Writers
"Same book, three different prices. Only difference is the browsers used."
This image was uploaded by Reddit user annertakeabow, who claims that the prices changed for a book depending on the browser. As if you needed another reason to get off Internet Explorer
The future of midlist books — those that don’t make the bestseller lists — does not look good
The future of books does not look good. The chains have long since succeeded in eliminating most of the independent bookstores by offering huge discounts until the competition gave up. In postwar New York, when I worked as a boy in the 8th Street Bookshop, there were 333 independents. Now there are no more than a few dozen stores overall, including chains. And even these are under increasing pressure from Amazon, which has vowed to eliminate the middlemen. With the end of Borders and declining profits for Barnes & Noble, even the chains are vulnerable. The stores that allowed readers to discover new books—and to receive advice from knowledgeable sales clerks—have largely disappeared. Amazon has not tried to fill this role, and has come to rely more and more on the publicity surrounding established bestsellers, lavishing on them full-page ads in the Times Book Review and The New Yorker. These will certainly continue to sell well in electronic format, even though the chains are beginning to fight back; there are reports that they are refusing to stock, or push, those bestsellers.— How Mergermania Is Destroying Book Publishing
Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org