Data is the name of the [publishing] game these days, as mentioned in last week’s post. As a hot topic at Digital Book World 2014, the use of data analytics is a serious avenue that publishers need to be focusing on to ensure more book discoverability by readers, especially with the current landscape in publishing.
Data Analytics and Book Discoverability
DBW 14 saw much talk this current landscape, including the quickly-receding shelf space in brick and mortar bookstores, as well as the accelerated pace of change in the publishing industry. These issues are why publishers should embrace the innovation at their fingertips, invest in ebooks as a new medium in publishing, and use data analytics and SEO tools to ensure book discoverability. Because despite the waning ebook sales that this past year has shown, more and more readers now own an ereader, tablet, or other digital reading device that allows for instant connectivity. And according to ITU’s (International Telecomm’s Union) 2013 statistics fact sheet, there will be an estimated 7 billion mobile users in 2014, which may include those with tablets or smartphones with ereading apps. That’s a lot of readers and not a lot of certainty in regards to discoverability.
And data and book discoverability go hand in hand, according to F + W Media CEO David Nussbaum. Nussbaum, who spoke at DBW 14, talked about the emerging devices like the various digital reading platforms, such as ereaders, smartphones, and the iPad, and how those devices can only show so much in a particular online store. So how does your book get discovered?
“How do you accumulate data?” Nussbaum asked. “What do you do with the data? How important is it? How do you learn more about your customers?”
SEO, Keywords, and Metadata
One of the more favored methods to expand book discoverability among innovative small publishers and self-published authors is SEO—search engine optimization. Self-pub gurus such as Joanna Penn strongly believe that using keywords in metadata and SEO are crucial to an author’s book being discovered. Adding keywords that are related to a particular book in the metadata, or using those keywords as a marketing strategy in blog posts or author websites has the ability to boost a book’s discoverability, as well as helping to rank among search engines.
Wattpad and Data-Driven Publishing
Wattpad is another iconic example of data-driven publishing from a content perspective. Authors post bite-size pieces of their stories, chapter by chapter. Readers are allowed to offer feedback, taking part in the writing process, essentially acting as a crowdsourced editor. Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James used this Wattpad method to get a response for early drafts of Fifty Shades, posting in Twilight fanfiction forums and eventually successfully publishing what would later result in the Fifty Shades trilogy.
Multiple Purchase Points
Multiple purchase points can also aid in book discoverability. Publishers who are innovative know that marketing content in more expansive ways helps create adjacent customerst, thus leading not only to discoverability but also creates different entry points that allows for reader engagement and community building. This includes direct to consumer marketing strategies, another hot topic in publishing now.
As David Nussbaum pointed out, publishers should be looking for solutions to the emerging issues: shelf space, book discoverability, the process of digitization, and a dramatically changing marketplace. Publishing platforms, such as Pubsoft, help publishers move forward in the digitization process by providing software that allows for multiple purchase and distribution points, SEO-friendly web pages for authors and publishers, and publisher, author, and reader portals with data analytics. These are the cutting-edge services that publishers should be seeking to maintain book discoverability and grow publishing platforms for their authors, while learning more about their customers and establishing long-term reader relationships.