AddMe - Search Engine Optimization Book Printing Forum: July 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

International Interest for Short-run, Digitally Printed Books

I check my blog to learn from where my readers come periodically. To date, I have had readers from outside the United States from:

Czech Republic
Great Britain
South Africa

This broad-based, international readership confirms a worldwide demand for short-run, digital book printing. Consider the opportunity of printing several copies of a single book in each of these countries. Book printing is experiencing The Long Tail phenomenon.

Thank you to my readers from throughout the world.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Book Printing Acceptance Guidlines

The most exciting book printing & publishing job I am currently involved in is a book entitled, "The Death of Manolete," by Barnaby Conrad. The book chronicles the final days leading to his death in the ring of Manuel Laureano Rodríguez, known as Manolete, arguably the greatest bullfighter of modern times. The book is being re-released in trade paperback after being out of print for over fifty years. Its republishing is coordinated to coincide with the release of a major motion picture, Manolete, in March 2007.

Two things make this project exciting. First, the connection between the book and the movie gives this project high energy and cross-promotional opportunities. Second, the subject matter of bullfighting is quite controversial, especially with organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA commends LolaFilms, the movie’s producers, for not harming any animals during the filming of Manolete. The bullfight scenes are recreated using Computer Generated Images, CGI. PETA remains steadfastly against bullfighting, however. In PETA’s opinion, therefore, the book is controversial because it celebrates bullfighting.

Book printers, in general, benefit from deciding in advance which types of books to print. In my opinion, the historical significance of "The Death of Manolete" outweighs the controversy over bullfighting. A little controversy is good for book sales, too, and I have no issues over exploiting it. I did, however, choose not to print two genres—pornography and hate books. This is a personal decision each book printer must make individually before accepting any book project. Clear book acceptance guidelines help employees make better decisions when dealing with customer. Put the policy in writing, whenever possible. You’ll be glad you did.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Explaining Print-On-Demand to Potential Customers

New, digital printing technologies permit authors to publish a book and print as many copies as needed, in quantities as small as one book. Print-on-Demand provides the author with the control of self-publishing. Some profit potential is traded off for a smaller initial investment compared to self-publishing. Print-on-Demand is ideally suited for books at the beginning or end of their life cycle—before they find their true audience or as sales decline.

Book printers courting customers interested in Print-On-Demand may use marketing text such as the June 15th posting to attract prospects.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Self-Publishers As Potential Book Printing Customers

When authors self-publish, they are making a statement about their book—they want to maintain control and reap the financial rewards of a successful book. In exchange, they understand they will take more risk because they assume all the duties of the publisher. Many successful authors have started as self-publishers— John Grisham, "A Time to Kill"; Richard Nelson Bolles, "What Color Is Your Parachute"; Rick Evans, "The Christmas Box"; Tom Peters, "In Search of Excellence"; Richard Nixon, "Real Peace"; James Redfield, "The Celestine Prophecy"; Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson, "The One-Minute Manager"; William Strunk, Jr., "The Elements of Style"; Irma Rombauer, "The Joy of Cooking"; Deepak Chopra; Mark Twain; Gertrude Stein; D.H. Lawrence; Mary Baker Eddy; and Benjamin Franklin.

Book printers that choose to serve self-publishers can use marketing text such as the June 14th posting to attract prospects.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bloggers As Potential Book Printing Customers

Bloggers get it. They understand the new dynamics of publishing. They know they are producers of content and go directly to consumers with their information rather than dealing with intermediaries such as retailers, distributors or wholesalers. They find and develop their potential readers before ever printing a single sheet of paper.

So it is with one blogger turned published author, Stephanie Klein. She began a blog, Greek Tragedy, which built a readership, got noticed and led to a book deal. Her book, “Straight Up and Dirty,” will be available in August 2006.

When asked why she blogs, Stephanie writes, “When you’re first trying to be a published writer, you just want to be heard. How do I get people to read my stuff? …I started a blog.”

Is this a portent of the future or an isolated instance? Only time will tell. Not all blogs are interesting, well written and worthy of a book deal. At the same time, Stephanie understood to be heard above the noise of other authors, she had to go directly to her potential readers through a blog—and it worked for her.

Book printers may want to keep track of this development. All bloggers have content—sometimes lots of it. The bloggers have found their readers. They know how many people may be potential buyers for any future items they publish. There is a great opportunity for printers to contact prolific bloggers to persuade them to consolidate their writings into a book and sell it to their reader base.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Revised Book Publishing Value Chain

The book industry is constantly evolving. Since the March 19, 2005 posting, I have added more detail to the value chain of traditional book publishing. The new diagram looks like this.

Revised .

In reevaluating the value chain, it is valuable to break down the different constituencies: producers, distributors and consumers. For book producers, I've added agents to the value equation. I've also added rights management to the publisher's responsibilities.

The intermediaries' section is the most expanded. I lumped the wholesalers such as Ingram or Baker & Taylor, with distributors such as Publisher's Group West or Independent Publishers Group with jobbers. The retailer's section is greatly expanded to include discount stores, warehouse clubs, food & drug stores, military and PXs, libraries, mail order and used bookstores.

The consumer's section is further differentiated to distinguish between book buyers and book consumers. This better represents those book buyers who buy presents for others.

The additional complexity further demonstrates the archaic and Byzantine marketplace for books. The book industry, like the automobile industry, is one of the few industries to build a product on speculation without a specific customer in mind. And, like the auto industry, the book business suffers from overcapacity and lack of differentiation. According to RR Bowker, there were 178,000 new books produced in 2005. The BISG figures there are 65,000 separate publishers in the United States. Meanwhile, readership continues to decline. Is it any wonder that many books are remaindered or destroyed?

According to Chris Anderson in his book, "The Long Tail," the average book sells 500 copies. This is putting enormous pressure on the Book Industry infrastructure. Independent bookstores are closing at an alarming rate. Distributors are closing unexpectedly or merging with other distributors. Large chains, such as Borders, are reporting weak earnings and lower same-store sales.

Why, then, would anyone want to understand and navigate the complex Book Industry structure? Smart publishers are finding ways to by-pass the intermediaries and go directly to consumers. As this happens more frequently, the current Book Industry structure will topple and collapse under its own weight.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Expanded List of Marketing Items for Authors or Publishers

Here is a list of marketing items a book printer should offer. Every author/publisher needs these to help sell the book.

Review Copies
Extra book covers
Letterhead, envelopes and business cards
Shelf Talkers
Table tents for in-store cafés
Success story letters to Independent bookstore owners
Synopsis sheets of the book for booksellers
Pre-written newsletter articles or inserts
Internet advertisements

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