What are the most effective publishing pricing models? #bytethebook

“What are the most effective publishing pricing models?”

Last Monday evening found us gathered at The Ivy for an interesting and engaging discussion on pricing within the industry. The panel consisted of George Walkley – Head of Digital at Hachette, Jo Henry – Director of Nielsen Book Research, and Nicholas Lovell – Director of Games Brief and Author of “The Curve”.

Justine opened the discussion by asking the panel to examine the issue of a fair price for a book or an eBook. First up was George Walkley who focused on eBooks and looked back over the years of experimentation with eBook pricing. There is now a definitive price range for eBooks, from £3.99 – £5.99, and this is seen as cost effective especially when compared to magazine prices, for instance. A fair price is a relatively low one but how fair is it to have an eBook costing the same as one and a half coffees from Starbucks? Does this make the content seem less valuable?

Free ebooks

The relationship between volume and value was also examined and Jo Henry spoke how eBook pricing is directly influenced by how much self-publishing is out there. She noted how people are only wiling to spend small amounts of money on something they know nothing about. Impulse purchases are usually a result of a low price. Nicolas Lovell agreed with this and asked for a show of hands for all those who have bought cheap eBooks and never read them

The point was also made by Jo that data monitors what people have done and not what people would have done if the price was right. In effect, the data misses out on the feedback from all those who found the price to be too high and it is harder to get an idea of what the best price point would be. Nicholas thinks that competition for free content is inevitable and that while publishers and authors want to fight this, they need to keep up with competitors.

Money globe

When questions were put to the floor, one in particular left us with food for thought. An audience member asked the panel their opinion on the “superfan concept”; will publishers begin to sign authors who have “superfan” potential over those who create great content? There is so much to be said for an author who comes with an established following and a guaranteed market for their books.

From a publisher’s point of view, this eliminates the need to invest in a huge marketing campaign. It also encourages authors to maintain and grow their connection with their readers, relating to them, empathising with them, keeping them close. Does this mean that the content suffers though? For those authors who don’t come with the 100,000 Twitter fans and the established social media persona, are they now at risk of not being signed? Or if they are signed, will their marketing budget be too small to allow them to gather the superfans? Watch this space……

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter


The SYP Launches a Brand New Mentoring Scheme for 2014..

See details below of a fantastic new initiative launched by the Society of Young Publishers for 2014:

“The Society of Young Publishers is delighted to announce a new mentoring scheme for
young publishing professionals in 2014.
Intended to help young SYP members to build contacts and advance in their chosen
field, the scheme will feature successful, dynamic young mentors from five different areas  of publishing. In a departure from traditional one-on-one mentoring arrangements, each will mentor 5–10 young professionals in their own area of expertise over five group sessions, meeting in London roughly every 2 months for the remainder of the year.

Confirmed mentors include: Auriol Bishop, Creative Director at Hodder (design and
brand management); Sophia Blackwell, Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury (marketing
and publicity); Chrissy Charalambides, Key Account Manager at Penguin Random
House (sales); Hellie Ogden, Agent at Janklow & Nesbitt (author representation); Max
Porter, Senior Editor at Granta (editorial skills); and Mark Richards, Editorial Director
at John Murray Press (editorial skills).

SYP Vice Chair Federico Andornino said: “Talking with our fellow SYP committee
members – all young publishing professionals in the early steps of their careers – we
realised we needed a tool to help those who find themselves in a similar situation.”

SYP Chair 2014 Helen Youngs added: “The SYP’s aim has always been to inspire and
help people learn and progress in this ever-changing industry, and we could not be more thrilled to have such a fantastic group of mentors on board.”

SYP members under the age of 30, who have been working in publishing for between
one and five years, will be able to apply for the scheme by emailing a CV and cover letter  to mentoring@thesyp.org.uk by 7 March 2014.

More information on the mentor scheme and how to apply will be available on the SYP’s
website: thesyp.org.uk/mentor-scheme. Press enquiries should be directed to Rebecca
Needes at mentoring@thesyp.org.uk.”