With brick-and-mortar stores and libraries closed, and COVID-19 changing consumer behaviour permanently, the publishing industry has to formulate a plan.
In a recent letter to PM Modi, The Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India asked for governmental support to save the publishing industry. Already going through a rough patch, the publishing industry stands to lose much more in the wake of COVID-19. And in order to save its existence, the industry need to formulate a plan not just to survive but also to think on its feet to innovate.
Adpot an Omnichannel Strategy
It is true that once things get back to normalcy, the demand for print books will also get back to normal. According to a university study, more than 92% of college students prefer print books to e-books. But does this ‘preference’ to Page Over Pixel should discourage a publisher from taking digital steps? Does this mean the vulnerabilities of print books exposed by Corona epidemic be overlooked? Of course, NOT!
It is not Print Vs Digital. It is print ‘enabled-and-ennobled’ by digital, a synergetic symbiosis of two streams to water the industry.
Engage at every checkpoint. Be available to your customers at every avenue. Learn from the retailers who have been engaging with their existing as well as potential customers through all the mediums that are out there. Go one step further and use the latest technologies like Augmented Reality to create a prolonged customer engagement model.
Stremline Your Digital Imprint
From taking your books to digital in the form of ebooks, audiobooks to preparing a digital marketing strategy woven around ‘snackable content‘, publishers need to diversify their digital business.
Snackable Content is easy and quick to read with helpful template making the act of reading easy for the consumer
In the times of CORONA like situations when the social gatherings are not allowed, publishers can take their events and book tours to digital. Taking book tours and events to digital would also provide publishers with invaluable insights into user engagement and would also cut all the logistical clutter. Besides, an obvious outreach in e-commerce would compliment the overall digital push.
Stop The Brian Drain
As cost-cutting looms large in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the publishers need to overlook the small-term interests to accommodate the longer-term advantages. They must understand that their biggest asset is their human capital. Talented staff is more valuable than a weekly or monthly target.
In order to eat your slice, you have to help bake the entire cake.
Now, it is understandable that businesses need to save themselves first. But they also have to keep an eye on the rebuild. And in order do that they have to keep their assets close. And in any business, the human capital is the biggest asset that needs to be nurtured.
Create New Roles
Recently Penske Media named Craig Perrault its first Chief Digital Officer. Roles like these should be conceptualized and combined with an omnichannel precense to keep publishing houses approachable to the younger generation and cater to the already existing ones.
A role like Chief Digital Officer is responsible for Product Strategy, Business Development, Audience Development and keeping tabs on the winds of the time.
Newer roles mean newer opportunities.
Remember, above all else, your success is predicated upon quality content, and it is the print and especially digital that play pivotal roles in your publishing success.
While print books still remain the home run, it is the digital that amounts for the winning runs. It’s time the publishing industry took to newer and younger means of not just churning out quality content but also taking it to the reader by embracing all the channels available.