The Importance of Discoverability in a Digital World
Peter Hildick-Smith, Codex Group
For decades, readers discovered new books and authors by browsing in their local bookstore. But in a digital world, where an increasing number of books are being bought in online bookstores or an e-tailer and shelf space in bricks and mortar stores is decreasing, that discoverability is all but lost. Without that discoverability, how do publishers launch new writers?
In the afternoon session of the Publishers Launch Conference, Peter Hildick-Smith, Founder and CEO of Codex Group helped to answer that question by sharing his research from two studies done with over 250,000 US book consumers in June 2010 and September 2012 which illustrated how consumers came to find the books they read and identify ways to strengthen that relationship.
Currently, there is a 11% discoverability gap between the bookstore discovery in 2010 and the online tools (Facebook, YouTube) US publishers are using today to help readers discover new writers. Though analog publicity has increased in importance (3%), there is still a significant struggle to help readers find new books. That situation is further exacerbated digitally with the rise of tablet-only users, who make up 49% of the device market but purchase 21% fewer books in total (both print and e-books) than other device owners. Publishers must find a way to reach those book buyers online and lure those tablet owners off email, YouTube, Angry Birds, and back to their e-books. But how to do that?
Hildick-Smith notes that discoverability is an important part of a publisher’s revenue stream. In order to grow that revenue, he suggested that it is essential to protect the “Discovery Theater” (bookstores), invest marketing dollars in social media and other online discoverability tools to bridge that gap created in declining bookstore traffic, and publish books designed for the tablet reader. Based on his research, which you can see more about in this Publishers Launch webinar Hildick-Smith did, this should help revive the discovery of new writers.