Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ebook (DRM Free) Sales Lead to PBook Sales

At first J.K. Rowling refused to release an ebook version of the Harry Potter series.

But after publication, "In the first month alone, it appears that almost $5 million worth of Harry Potter ebooks were sold. But here's the interesting bit. Even with DRM-free books, and plenty of infringing copies being out there, not only did tons and tons of people pony up for the ebook, but it also increased physical book sales as well, even as some worried that it would cannibalize such sales:
The Harry Potter e-books are DRM-free. ”Obviously there were fears piracy would increase as a result of being DRM-free, and that sales of the e-books would cannibalize sales of the physical titles,” [Pottermore CEO Charlie] Redmayne told The Bookseller, “but we were delighted to see sales of the physical books go up, and piracy come down.” He also said that “though there had been an increase in piracy immediately after launch, the community had rejected these illegal versions because of how the e-books were brought to market.”
Indeed, it's good to see that Rowling's team figured out ways to add value to get people to buy, but it again highlights some points we've been making for a while. Just because things are available for free, it doesn't mean people will automatically go the infringing route. If you offer something better that people want, they'll buy it." - Mike Masnick, TechDirt

The key appears to be adding value to the free content. Of course being J.K. Rowling doesn't hurt!

Listen to Neil Gaiman talk about Piracy & the web.

"He then mentions that after a lot of persuading, he got his publisher to release a free digital copy of American Gods, and sales went up by 300%, even though it had already been selling quite well before that. And that was his epiphany moment that you're "not losing sales" by having stuff out there. And he explains how "piracy" is just a giant way of lending books, and points out that, when asked this question at talks, he asks how many people in the audience found their favorite author because someone lent them a book vs. going into a book store and buying it. And only 5 to 10% of people found their favorite authors first by buying the books." - Mike Masnick, TechDirt 

UsTwo Talks About Investing In Whale Trail (Their Own IP) + ROI

Penguin has acquired Ustwo's Whale Trail.
Watch 'How We made Whale Trail' here.

"This collaboration marks the first publishing deal behind a brand that has debuted as an app.

The partnership will enable us to work on narratives whilst evolving the Whale Trail brand, with a digital picture book planned for release in October 2012. This will be followed by further publishing opportunities both in digital and physical formats throughout 2013.

Whale Trail was all about creating something that brings joy to users throughout the world. Penguin genuinely and passionately share our enthusiasm for developing the brand further, and the coming together of the traditional publishing powerhouse and our first game IP, is a match made in heaven. The ingredients are now ready to be mixed together to make something truly mind-blowing and this is just the beginning.

Eric Huang, Publishing Director, Media & Entertainment Group, said, ‘I discovered Whale Trail from Gruff Rhys’ music video.  When I downloaded the app, I was hooked. There’s something so fresh and cool about the art direction." -The Ustwo BLOG

Listen to Ustwo/Studio interview Faber & Faber, Random House, Hachette UK about their vision of the future of publishing.

Read the Ustwo blog here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Children's Ebook Trends

 The American Association of Publishers reported in January that sales of adult ebook titles rose 49.4% in January ($99.5M vs $66.6M) and ebook sales in the children's and young adult trade segment rose 475% over last year ($22.6M vs $3.9M).

Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks cites the growing functionality of e-books as a new opportunity for growth in the children's market. Right now ebooks are 5-7% of U.S. children's book sales according to Bowker. This will only increase.

Take a look at her slides from TOC/Bologna.
Toc bologna childrens book keynote 2012 hd ratio
View more PowerPoint from SourcebooksInc 

Are you experimenting with ebooks?

GeekDad Dan Donohoo suggests that content creators consider 3 things (at least) when developing ebooks: 

1. create ebooks that allow children control over the narrative
2. create ebooks that support 21st century skills 
3. create ebooks that nurture exploration

I couldn't agree more. Building critical thinking and creativity skills into ebook experiences is great for teachers and kids. I'd also add:

4. create enriching offline activities that foster collaboration & empathy
5. create ebooks that can be easily shared and discussed
6. create ebooks that inspire kids to create content of their own (UGC-user generated content)

What would you add to this list?