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Day 2: Reinventing Publishing Today: Part Two

By April 9, 2014 October 21st, 2014 No Comments

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Entering Asian Markets

ka meechan 2013“PANZ first attended Taipei International Book Exhibition in 2011, and in 2014 managed the collective New Zealand publisher stand with enhanced NZ publisher representation. In 2015 New Zealand will be the Guest of Honour Country at TIBE,” said Ka Meechan (pictured below), project manager of our GoH programme told a breakfast briefing.

Her outline of the Taiwan market: a book-loving population of 23 million people which supports more than 40,000 new titles every year.
 
David Glover, co-ordinating the educational component of the GoH TIBE 2015 initiative, has lived and worked in Asia and found Taiwan much easier to enter than other Asian markets. First time exhibitor in 2014, Peter Dowling of Oratia Media, stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings. Two of David Ling’s books were launched during the fair by his Taiwanese publisher, plus he sold rights to five of his children’s titles to mainland Chinese publishers.
 
“The cornerstone of the GoH initiative is the visiting author programme. Our pavilion at TIBE 2015 will be the stage for our authors to shine,” said Ka, who aims to have a draft programme schedule available in July. “There will not be another opportunity to enter this market with such support,” her briefing concluded.
 

Split Sessions: Taking your Books to the World / Building and Managing your List

With panels of Kiwi publishers – Belinda Cooke, Peter Dowling, Claire Murdoch and Fergus Barrowman talking about their overseas rights and distribution endeavours in one room and Nicola Legat, Robbie Burton, Rachel Scott and Kevin Chapman discussing list building in the other, these were a truly collegial sessions that reflect our industry.
 

Building New Audiences – from publisher to reader and back again

brett osmondIn a thought provoking session, Random House Australia’s Brett Osmond discussed the ways publishers and authors can reach their reading audience directly. Brett, Marketing and Publicity Director and Head of Digital for RH in Oz gave a masterclass in the use of on-line technology and shared the lessons learned. “Take risks, but get more sophisticated,” he says.
 
And so sophisticated has RH’s targeting become that there are seven composite identities for book buyers they’ve created and given names and definition; and any initiative must reach at least two of those segments!
 
Marketing and publicity should be joined at the hip and bring in the digital market, he advises. For the latter, ‘work on a few platforms and learn’. At the centre must be the company website, designed so it creates value for the audience who access the site.
 
An area RH is exploring is personalisation, with the first steps taken in developing a ‘crime and thriller’ website to reach one group of readers – and hopefully starting a long-term relationship with that audience.
 
Long term planning is essential – at least five months out from launch; plus a level of planning allows time to review what works and what does not.
Finally “Engage everyone with the whole business, including authors.”
 
 

The Big Idea – What’s Next for Publishing?

 
Dan Caton: The best ideas come from history – tell good stories, and for non fiction, tell good information
 
Brett Osmond:  the future is now
 
Tom Rennie (Bridget Williams Books): use the sheer messiness ahead to demonstrate our value – don’t take the risk of having others tell us
 
So it seems the panelists’ views into their respective crystal balls diverge!
 
Dan felt that Paul Cameron’s idea of making reading a more audio experience was great, and he is going to try it out. Educational e-reading devices that indicate where students are competent or have difficulty would also be a bonus in the future.
 
Brett says the future involves allowing readers to buy into content in whichever way they want to read it. Also ‘open’ organisations and playing with content, perhaps extending it to apps.
 
For Tom, all prophecy is based on digital, with print publishing in decline. Yet, he points out, ‘the industry is in decline’ air of fatalism is at odds with actual behavior as digital sales plateau and print maintains volume. “We have a vibrant and innovative print industry that will persist. And print and e-book publishing will become increasingly interconnected, not two separate worlds.”

Flipping Your Business: Adapting your business model in changing times

When a top selling title is How to Tell if Your Cat is Planning to Kill You, it is apparent that you are a publisher with attitude and acumen.
kirsty melville 
‘Finding that all important niche’ – one that differentiates your publishing house from the rest – was the focus of Kirsty Melville’s keynote address. The Andrews McMeel publishing story is hugely successful, and has been founded on rules for changing times.
 
Know your focus: who is the audience for the book, and how are you going to reach them, even before you acquire the MS.
 
Some of the company’s biggest sellers have come out of left field. Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans a big selling cookbook? You bet, and Kirsty acquired it by striking up a relationship with the authors who had been successful self- publishers.
 
“Your relationship with your author is the foundation of your business,” Kirsty advised.
 
Books of comic strip favourites, quirky cookbooks, kids books with attitude, an upcoming title called The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances… a list that does not depend on novels or high end nonfiction? The message to her audience could not be more clear: think outside the box.

Educational Publishers went the extra kilometre at Conference

stewart gill2The conference closed at 12.30pm and delegates departed however there was more to come for educational publishers. The PANZ Education Summit funded by Education New Zealand began straight after and was attended by more than 30 publishers. 

Stewart Gill (right), an Independent Publishing Consultant and former Managing Director of the Academic and K-12 schools division of Macmillan Australia, was the keynote speaker. He drew on deep industry experience and a lot of current data to tackle issues that mattered to the publishers present—the size and composition of the overall markets in Australia and New Zealand, the challenges and opportunities of entering the Australian market and the evolution of digital solutions (including predictions for change over the next 5 years). PANZ members were seen hard at work taking notes!

Clive Jones (pictured below right), General Manager Business Development at Education New Zealand then briefed the delegates on Educational New Zealand’s overall strategy and how ENZ’s support for the growth of educational publishing exports, delivered through PANZ, fit into that wider strategy.
 
David Glover from Creative Strategies and the Project Manager for education for TIBE Guest of Honour 2015 launched the toolkit for the GoH programme which will ensure that all publishers attending the exhibition are armed with plenty of contacts and key information on the market. By the end of the day, David had a half dozen publishers packing their bags for Taipei and many more keen on the opportunity.
clive jones portrait 
The last session of the day was What Now for Digital Learning? It featured a sterling line up of educators; Stuart McNaughton, Auckland University, Evan Blackman, Microsoft New Zealand and Dan Caton, Wittel Morris Strategic Consulting, and was chaired by Mark Sayes from ESA Publications.
 
Educational publishing had been integrated into the whole conference but the last afternoon allowed a very sharp focus on the opportunities for the sector—in digital innovation and export in particular.
 
 
Tim Lind, Biozone:
For me it was great to meet the other educational publishers and compare notes as to what is working and not working, and what the challenges are. Reassuring to know that there are many shared challenges, and very grateful for the opportunity to raise some industry concerns during our seminar.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the seminar talks and gained valuable networking contacts, and appreciated the opportunity for discussion. I would be very keen to attend next time.

In fact the only downside of Conference was the performance of the coffee machines!