Posted tagged ‘publishing’

Will Books Go the Way of Music CDs?

June 16, 2011

by Stephen Blake Mettee, The Write Thought and IBPA board treasurer

According to a recent USA Today article, retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart are cutting back on their CD selections. A Best Buy spokesperson is quoted as saying, “As people buy less, we stock less.” Sounds like a self-fulfilling cycle to this observer, but, sadly, one that isn’t likely to be reversed.

There’s more bad news….

In 2010, CD sales fell 19% and are down 8.8% this year.

Pretty dire, huh?

But wait.

Downloaded albums sales are up a healthy 16.8% and downloaded tracks are up 9.6%.

Overall music sales are up 1.6%.

Yep, you read right, music sales are up.

Music isn’t going away. Albums aren’t going away. And according to Dave Bakula of Neilson, a company which tracks weekly sales statistics, “CDs are going to be around for a long time.”

So, to summarize what’s happening:
Downloads are growing, brick and mortar store sales are slipping, online sales of CDs are strong. Music is a growing industry.

(By the way CDs are enjoying the “long-tail” effect: offers 4,000,000 CDs. Great for lesser-known songsters.)

Should we look for the same things to happen in books?


The future is bright. Keep on writing and publishing.

Just a write thought.


Want to Sell More Books? It can be as simple as….

June 7, 2011

….making sure that all the information that accompanies your books is correct. That information is called “metadata” and it simply means the ISBN number, the table of contents, the format (paper, hardback, audio, e, etc.), the number of pages—in short, anything that describes your title. If all the components of your title description are correct, your title can be discovered by readers.

If your title description is incorrect, your title will not be found. It’s as simple as that.

BISG is presenting a 4-part series of webcasts to help you learn more about how to make the most of your title’s metadata. The organizer of the series, Sally Dedecker of Sally Dedecker Enterprises, was kind enough to answer some questions, posed by an IBPA member, as to why publishers need to get educated on this critical topic.

1. Do distributors or publishers input metadata?
The publisher creates the metadata and submits it to the distributor. The distributor takes what the publisher creates and disseminates it. If the publisher is creating incorrect data and then sends it to the distributor, the distributor will forward that incorrect data to customers and other industry databases. The distributor will only send to Ingram, B&N, independent booksellers and others what the publisher sends. With this series of webcasts, we are suggesting that all publishers get a good handle on metadata so that what they send is correct and will help readers discover their books.

2. What is “enhanced metadata”?
Enhanced metadata is the fun part of the book’s information…and really helps made the sale! Enhanced metadata covers book reviews, author summaries, author bio, reviews, and sample chapters, really giving the reader the flavor of the book! Search engines pick up on this and this is what keys a reader.

3. Can you give an example of a metadata component and why it is important?
The BISAC Subject Heading is a perfect example. What many publishers may not know is that those subject codes are used to pull recommended title lists for library markets. If you don’t have the code that describes your title (or your code is incorrect), you could be missing sales opportunities. Those codes are available for all publishers’ use here.

4. In a nutshell, what can I expect from the 4 webcasts?
The goal of the series is to really give people and understanding of why metadata is important– booksellers, librarians and others are using metadata to make buying decisions. Incorrect metadata causes missed sales.
We want to encourage publishers to start using the terms and abbreviations and other key core elements that have been established as metadata standards.
You are the publisher, and you should control the information about your books. Having a good plan to create your metadata puts publishers in the driver’s seat.

As a supporting organization, IBPA invites you to join the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) for a 4-part webcast series, Selling more Books with Best Practice in Metadata, that will provide the all-important foundation and hands-on instruction publishers need to take real responsibility for their product metadata. IBPA members receive a 20% discount!

Note that the webcasts will not be posted to the BISG site and will not be made free to those who do not attend. Those who register for the series will have access to the content for review and to use as a guide.
For more information, go to the IBPA home page and click on “BISG Webcast Series.”

IBPA Publishing University Stuff Members (and others) May Not Know (but Need To)

May 12, 2011

by Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA president

What You Know: IBPA Publishing University is just around the corner
What You May Not Know: IBPA offers Publishing University scholarships every year through our affiliates and also as an at-large benefit of membership. This year 20 winners will attend IBPA Publishing University free of charge. Next year, one of them could be you!
What You Know: Authors and readers need publishers. Publishers are relevant.
What You May Not Know: Maybe not according to the proposition to be argued during the Great Debate. JUST ANNOUNCED: The North American debut of the Great Debate opens IBPA Publishing University with a bang! Fresh from a successful London Book Fair, the Great Debate features 4 of publishing’s finest debating the proposition, “Authors and readers are all that matter. Publishers in the future will be irrelevant.” Agree or disagree, what we all can agree on is that it’s one of the hot topics in publishing today. Audience participation is required! And one of the audience could be you!
What You Know: Attending Publishing University will save you more money in avoiding expensive mistakes than it costs—and it costs less than most other events around.
What You May Not Know: IBPA members get Early Bird Priority Pricing until May 15. Save $100!
What You Know: There’s plenty of written information about Publishing University 2011
What You May Not Know: But there’s only one (well, ok, two—a shorter and a short one) video.
If you have 4 minutes and want to hit the high points of Publishing University, check it out here

If you have 1 minute and want to hear a bit of my own Publishing University story, check this one:

If you haven’t met me and think that I’m young and attractive—please don’t watch the videos as I’d like you to maintain your illusions.
If you have met me or were taught to respect your elders or are curious as to what’s really happening at IBPA Publishing University, then please watch and consider making the best investment you can make in your publishing career. Come to IBPA Publishing University on May 22-23 at the Javits Center just prior to BEA!
Hope to see you there.

What Does the Google Book Settlement Rejection Mean?

March 31, 2011

by Steve Mettee, IBPA Board Treasurer

Federal Judge Denny Chin, after 13 months of pondering, rejected the proposed amended settlement agreement in the Google Books class action lawsuit.

If you don’t recall…

In 2005, Google began systematically scanning every book they could find. A number of august university and public libraries stepped forward to allow this.

Both copyrighted public domain material was included.

While the libraries would be allowed complete access to the digital copies, Google, at the time, said their goal was simply to allow snippets of each book to be accessed in a Google search.

Some people complained.

Google yelped, “Fair use!”

Everyone wasn’t in agreement. Suits were filed.

Attorneys enriched.

The plot thickened when Google announced they would begin selling copies of any out-of-print book they had a scan of unless the copyright owner objected. These works were given the handle “orphaned works.”

If the rights owner identified himself, and agreed to Google’s terms, Google would share the revenue. A nonprofit Book Rights Registry was to be created to receive the right’s owner’s share if no rights owner stepped up. If the rights were in dispute or unclear, the Registry would play arbitrator. If I recall, there was to be a small fee for this.

Some felt it was unfair to have to opt out of Google’s program. Copyright law is pretty clear on this. Permission must be granted prior to use.

More people complained.

More attorneys were enriched.

Feathers and fur flew. The Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers joined the fray.

Time passed. Speculations abounded.

Attorneys were further enriched.

The Authors Guild, the AAP, and Google forged a settlement. It was later amended.

In 2010, Judge Chin began his deliberations on the amended settlement. His goal was to be sure the settlement was fair, adequate and reasonable. His long-awaited decision came on March 22. Chin ruled it wasn’t fair, adequate and reasonable.

Here are some of the judge’s concerns.

• The classes that were supposed to be represented in the class action suit were not broadly enough represented. The Authors Guild has about 8,000 author members, the AAP about 300 publisher members. Hardly complete representation of the hundreds of thousands of rights holders.

• An opt-out system fashions an involuntary usurpation of rights. International law came into play here since foreign authors would also have to opt out.

• Antitrust comes into play also. The settlement gave Google a “de facto monopoly on orphan works.”

• Individual privacy is also a concern. Google would get a clear window on what people were viewing and for how long.

The judge’s suggestions included:

• Make it an opt-in rather than an opt-out program.

• Set up systems so others have more access to Google’s repository of digital works.

• Send the orphaned works question to Congress. (The question has gone before Congress before but failed move through to law.)

What will happen now?

It’s anybody’s guess, but here are some thoughts being bandied about:

• Google may start lobbying Congress. What they can’t get by fiat, they may be able to get by cozying up with your local congressman.

• Google may admit their audacity and be content that they have already collected a huge database of rights holder information from those who registered with Google Books while the case was being deliberated and be happy with an opt-in program going forward.

• Chin’s ruling may be overturned. (The legal pundits say Chin was deliberate in his wording making this outcome unlikely.)

• The parties may go back to the drawing board. The Authors Guild and the AAP appear willing to do this. Google, at this writing, simply says it is “disappointed.”

What we do know for sure will happen:

• Large organizations, governments included, will continue to assault individual rights.

• Attorneys will continue to be enriched.

Just a write thought.

IBPA Goes “E”—New Marketing Programs for 2011

January 31, 2011

by Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA President

IBPA is proud to be launching two “e-nitiatives” designed to help our members  sell more books in 2011—and beyond: the IBPA-Ingram marketing partnership and the IBPA-Serendipity partnership. Created specifically to help members expand their online marketing reach, these programs have just been launched,  and your board and staff at IBPA are looking forward to your feedback as we fine-tune them during the next few months.

The IBPA-Ingram marketing initiative offers several opportunities for working with the large wholesaler and reflects a major departure from Ingram’s policy of working only with publishers that have 10 titles or more. If and only if you are an IBPA member, Ingram will accept your company as a vendor even if it publishes just one title.

The IBPA-Serendipity partnership began in the fall of 2010 as a pilot program with this creator of a master online interactive catalog and we will be looking for more opportunities to work together going forward.

Following are the details on both.

FAQ: IBPA-Ingram Marketing Program

How will the new IBPA-Ingram program help me sell more books?

The Ingram Marketing program includes three marketing opportunities for IBPA members only:

Wholesale distribution: As noted, in the past Ingram accepted only publishers with at least 10 titles in print for wholesale distribution, but now IBPA members with one title and up will have access to Ingram’s wholesale distribution network.

The Independent Voice e-catalog: IBPA members can participate in an every-other-month cooperative e-catalog mailing from Ingram to its customers. Members’ titles’ covers and information will be sent to more than 28,000 libraries, book retailers, and international recipients.

Ingram Advance print catalog: IBPA members can participate in this monthly print publication that mails to 13,500 book retailers and librarians.

What are the criteria for acceptance into the Ingram database?

Just these three:

• Your book must be either perfect bound or hardbound (no other bindings, including no spiral bindings).
• Your book must have a price imprinted on the cover.
• Your book must have a 13-digit ISBN.

That’s it.

How does this new Ingram program compare with IBPA’s current cooperative direct mailings?

IBPA’s current mailings are exclusively print and, in general, targeted to certain industry segments. The number of recipients ranges from 3,500 to 11,000, depending on the type of mailing. Mailings include IBPA member titles only and are sent on schedules that vary from monthly to every six months.

The IBPA-Ingram Independent Voice mailings are exclusively electronic and are sent every two months to 28,000 recipients—14,000 libraries, 10,000 general book retailers, and 4,000 international accounts. They include titles from publishers that don’t belong to IBPA, but IBPA members’ titles will be highlighted and will receive special pricing and placement.

The IBPA-Ingram Advance mailing is comparable to the IBPA cooperative mailings in that Advance is a print catalog. As in the Independent Voice, IBPA members’ titles will be prominently identified as such, distinguishing them from nonmembers’ titles. Advance mails every month, and there are opportunities to participate in target-market mailings including Christian, Children’s, Parent, Travel, and so on.

Should I continue participating in IBPA mailings, try the new Ingram program, do both . . . or neither?

The best answer I can give is . . . it depends.

On what? On your marketing budget, on your book topic, on the sort of readers you want to reach, and on the amount of promotion you’re able to do to support your marketing efforts. The IBPA cooperative mailings may work better for you if you’re looking for a smaller, more targeted audience; the Ingram program may help in terms of dramatically widening the exposure of your title.

If your budget permits, try both programs, watch your sales for a few months, and look for an upsurge. Although it won’t be immediately apparent which program caused the increase in sales, you can compare the revenue from sales growth with the marketing expenses. If the numbers work, try continuing your participation and even tweaking the marketing schedule a bit to experiment.

As with any kind of marketing, a sustained and steady approach works best—and a single mailing, even if it’s to a million recipients, will generally not bring you results that you can measure. Marketing 101 states that people need to see your offering multiple times before making a purchase decision.

If you try only IBPA mailings or only IBPA-Ingram catalog mailings (or some other program), I recommend that (1) you participate at least three to five times before deciding whether to pull the plug or continue; and (2) you make sure your catalog copy clearly and concisely communicates how the reader will benefit from reading your title. Not an easy task in less than 100 words, but critical to the success of any of your marketing efforts. And, of course, remember that with these programs, or any marketing that you do, a positive outcome (e.g., sales growth) is never guaranteed.

For more information, visit and click on “IBPA-Ingram Marketing Programs.”

FAQ: Serendipity

How will Serendipity help me?

This master online interactive catalog replaces or supplements a print catalog. Serendipity (which is for smaller publishers) and its big brother, Edelweiss (for larger publishers), were created to let publishers reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating paper catalogs and to let them easily and quickly update title information online, including reviews, videos, trailers, and more. Publishers pay a fee to list their titles; retailers, reviewers, and industry professionals can access the master database at no charge.

What is IBPA’s relationship with Serendipity?

IBPA members who exhibited their titles through IBPA at any of the 2010 regional bookseller shows received a free listing in the first Serendipity/Edelweiss master catalog for the regionals as part of a pilot program. All attendees at all the shows were able to access the titles displayed at those shows online through that catalog.

As I write this, we are gathering input from the exhibiting publishers. Watch for news of future joint ventures with Serendipity as IBPA continues exploring ways to expand marketing opportunities for its members.

How can I learn more?

Visit the Serendipity website and your IBPA benefits page.

Even More, and Not Just E

The IBPA-Ingram marketing program and our partnership with Serendipity are the latest examples of how your IBPA board of directors and staff are constantly searching for ways to enhance the value of your membership. Please help us help you meet the challenges of doing business in turbulent times. I urge you to contact any board member and/or Terry, Lisa, or me in the IBPA office with your ideas on what IBPA can do to better serve you—and the independent publishing community.

This article first appeared in the January, 2011 issue of the IBPA Independent.

IBPA Reality Show–Publishing University 2009: The Video

May 19, 2010

I could write a billion words about Publishing University (and sometimes I feel I have!) but it would never come close to communicating the energy and excitement of the event that this video does. Take 4 minutes of your time and find out why you need to be there. Scroll down at to “Live Video from Publishing University 2009.”

IBPA congratulates Pulitzer Prize-winning independent publisher Bellevue Literary Press

April 15, 2010

IBPA is proud to congratulate Bellevue Literary Press for receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The first independent press to take the top prize in fiction since 1981, Bellevue publishes 8 books a year with a full-time staff of two.
Once again, an indie has proven that size doesn’t matter, but quality does. The courage to take a chance on an unknown author coupled with the ability to recognize excellence are common attributes of the independent publishing community, and IBPA honors Bellevue Literary Press for an outstanding achievement.