Tag Archives: business

Marketing a backlist

6 Jun

With BEA just recently passed, many bloggers are attending to the tender subject of ebooks and the future of publishing.  In his article about the Future of Ebooks Publishing Executive Panel, Edward Champion dictates many debates between different publishers present at the panel and grazes over many subjects, however one in specific caught my eye.  David Steinberger, CEO of Perseus Books Group claimed that “digital is very good for hunters and not so for gatherers”.  Evan Schnittman of Bloomsbury further explained by claiming that “publishing does not know how to market ebooks yet [….] let’s be honest with ourselves, we’ve never marketed backlist before”.

This makes me wonder about the future of ebooks.  Let’s say, following the trends, it will become easier and the only way publishers will be able to survive the inflow decline, that the majority of novels are on now published in ebook format.  How exactly will the marketing teams be able to market the frontlist while simultaneously promoting backlist?  There would be no more “power isle” tables at Chapters Indigo, no more way to distinguish the “new and hot” from the “old but loved”.  When an author appears in public places to read from his or her novel, will they be reading and signing ereaders (inventor T.J. Waters says yes)?  If publishers no longer have to pay Chapters Indigo to display their book on shelves, will the money go towards glorification on the website instead?  Or will the publishing industry see a decline in production employees, requiring fewer people to oversee the correct layout of the digital file and approve the cover photo.

Many people in the industry are excited about the revolution that publishing is a part of right now.  However, looking forward into the future as an aspiring employee of a publishing house, it looks as if, by the time I am ready for the workplace, I may not be needed anymore!  If the future of publishing will eventually phase out the tangible book, I hope that it does not eventually phase out workers as well!