Blogs

Why a paywall?

Over the next few weeks you will notice changes to our website. Our intention is to move more of our exclusive content, in news, books and charts, to the secure part of the site accessible only to subscribers.

When you hit the paywall, it will be pretty clear how you can access the relevant pages—essentially you have to log in with your subscriber details. If you're not a subscriber, you won't be able to see the whole article, and you'll instead be directed to the subscriber page. Our job is to make sure our content is so compelling you will want to subscribe if you are not already doing so.

Much of our news coverage will remain free, as will our blogs, and the ability, for those who wish, to comment. Over the past decade thebookseller.com has become a vibrant hub for the UK business, a place to read the best reporting on the book trade and debate what it means, and we wish it to remain so. However, we need to encourage people to pay for this content, in those areas where we add real value—exclusive news, bestseller analysis, book previews.

Coupled with making the paywall more obvious, we'll be introducing new content on the site over the winter. Principally, we'll be putting up all of our books preview content from the magazine—these are the sections where we rank the commercial, and to some extent artistic, merit of all the key releases four months before they hit the shelves. So, although we are going to be more vigorous in how we police access to what we produce, we are also going to improve and expand what we put up.

Paid subscribers will still be able to access all our content, but now they will need to log in first. This may seem a bit of a chore, but the process is no different to many other websites today. We have to make a living by charging for content just the same as publishers and booksellers do, so I know you, our readers, will recognise and appreciate the new landscape we are in.

 

How to login
You can find detailed instructions about how to login, what to do if you have forgotten your password, how to contact Customer Service if needed and how to subscribe here.
 

Comments: Scroll down for the latest comments and to have your say

By posting on this website you agree to the Bookseller comments policy. Comments go direct to live please be relevant, brief and definitely not abusive. Report any "unsuitable comments by clicking the links"

Interesting and a brave time to launch this when people are hanging on by their fingernails.

Will the paid content be made free eventually? Say 6-12 months later when it is no longer commercially relevant but could be useful for reference?

Neill I think its a good move as long as your readers can see that then increased cost of access is reflected in improved standards of journalism. Your approach to paywalling articles also looks pretty random. Compared to other trade sites the normal approach is to make news free but insight and investigative journalism chargeable. I don't see how the current crop of paywalled articles fit that profile.

Lets hope some of the more vitriolic bloggers can't afford a subscription!

Good luck with the approach, I hope it gives you a much needed commercial boost so the overall standards in the Bookseller can be improved.

Pay ? Not likely. I don't subscribe to The Times, why should anybody subscribe to The Bookseller with its currently poor journalistic standards ?

That's your choice Pixie though you keep coming back here so you must like something. Exclusive and investigative news will be paywalled in the main though we are not implementing a hard rule as yet as I think it is wise to be flexible. I'd say the current paywalled stories match that rule: BCA is our exclusive, the e-book story is an investigation. Other sites, such as the Times, Retail Week etc, have put in a stricter rule and I'm not sure it has worked. The plan is to move all archived material behind the paywall, perhaps after a six month window. People who use this material after that point will be using it for business reasons, and I don't see a good reason for not asking them to pay for that access (students being the obvious exception). I'd say our standards of journalism are pretty high already given the various demands we have to meet with a small news team (web/email news as it happens, deeper print stuff weekly), though there is always room for improvement and we aren't blind to the faults.
Thanks for the comments!

I think the comments on journalism are a bit tough but I do think that the Bookseller should do more investigation to expose and question critically what is behind the Press releases.
I used to experience this particularly when past editors did not "like " the news such as NBA initiatives at Dillons and the merger and sale of Bertrams . Then as now the Bookseller was sleeping with the BA where it derived it's trade political policy .

Maybe this subscription facility will give resource for this greater level of investigation.?
.
I am however, alarmed by BRICKWALL's comment "let's hope that the more
virtiolic bloggers can't afford a subscription", just bloggs from ...Waterstones branches and literary agents then ?

Shame...The Bookseller a fairly decent e-rag. Yet, it gets advertising revenue, tho is that enough, obviously not. (For whatever reason). Like PH above, I refuse to pay for The Times, too. The journalism is sliding like most tabloids. Publisher's Weekly will probably go the same way with a paywall, (unless it already has)..

Sad. I expect we've been spoilt by the web and now expect to have everything for free. Oh well, will just have to go elsewhere, or highlight the locked stories found here through Google.

I'm not sure the paywall will work sadly. As a subscriber to the printed edition, I was always a bit miffed to be reading stories in the printed edition that had appeared throughout the week (for free) on the online version. As we probably all know, there are other providers of 'book news' and of course, Google alerts, etc and sadly, we have all become used to having this stuff for free.

It's a shame that more periodicals didn't adopt the Private Eye model and stick to printed media, with very limited 'free' content online. As a result, their circulation - and one assumes, revenue - continues to grow.

Perhaps this is an important lesson for us all, especially the digital soothsayers as many are convinced the digital tide is turning. Just have a read of some of the 1 and 2 star reviews for the Kindle on Amazon and you get a strong sense that many of these 'new' digital consumers are not happy.

Free is a great model Mr B, but not if you want journalism that costs us money to provide. Private Eye is not in the B2B sector: if we didn't have a website providing timely must-have news daily then someone else would fill that clear information need. That said, each week we run at least two or three news stories in The Bookseller that are exclusive and won't have appeared online before you see the magazine. And that is not to mention the features, business profiles, columns, book preview and author information that always run first in print. Not forgetting Bent, of course. The point is that we can continue to operate a largely free website with a lively community, but we can't ask current and future subscribers to pay for it without providing those subscribers with premium information in return for their investment.

As a vitriolic blogger I am GUTTED the bookseller is going to hide behind a paywall thus showing a complete lack of understanding of the brave new world of digital.

I do have access to the print edition though so will be able to keep up with the quality journalism and news. I'll just be a week or so behind those on the other side of the wall. (Communism, Israel Palestine, the US border with Mexico - walls eh?)

But that's not wot I love about this site. I was kind of getting addicted to the whining of Waterstone's employees but most of all to Clive Keeble.

Clive - we know you're out there! Please tell me you subscribe to the rag?

Dingo, if you subscribe to the magazine you will have complete access to the website. It is not a different subscription. Do come across . . .

In the words of one bard...

"Farewell, fair cruelty."

Just to be clear Philip, I wasn't advocating a 'free' business model, more that some consumers expect this kind of content for free. Of course, there is real merit and revenue in good journalism, which is why I mentioned Private Eye as an example of the press that has stayed purely in print form and succeeded.

DINGO , Clive is I am afraid having one of his sulks [this time because The Bookseller don'tjoin him in a paranoid dislike of everything Amazon.]These sulks tend to last about two months .
If for a change ,you want obsessional dislike of Supermarkets' exploitation of the booktrade aided by the BA , I'm your man .

I come here mainly to nose out books which I then buy. I've no connection to the book trade other than as a customer, and I appreciate that neither your magazine nor the site are really meant "for me" - I can't complain if you choose to put up a paywall and shut me out.

All the same, I do think it's a shame. It looks to me as though your industry needs to engage and encourage customers, and one way of doing that might be the clever use of a little bit of advance information. (I find the next easiest way to pick up this information, by the way, is to search my favourite authors on Amazon and see what's coming up over the next year or so - it's then tempting to buy them there to but I generally resist that.)

What a terrible shame. At a time of titanic change when publishing and bookselling need the widest possible coverage and informed debate you guys slap padlocks on your articles. Very short sighted policy indeed.

How about linking subscriber information to commenter 'handles'? Oblige the more vitriolic/tedious commentators to put their real names next to their pearls of wisdom.

I should also add that as Booksellers we all contribute to the Nielsen sales data, it's wrong that you should make the weekly sales overview a subscription item.

I for one think this is a brilliant idea, and will definitely work as intended. As ever, The Bookseller demonstrates a sound grasp of the internet and its business models with this move.

Bravo!

End of the printed Bookseller?

Interesting and a brave time to launch this when people are hanging on by their fingernails.

Will the paid content be made free eventually? Say 6-12 months later when it is no longer commercially relevant but could be useful for reference?

Neill I think its a good move as long as your readers can see that then increased cost of access is reflected in improved standards of journalism. Your approach to paywalling articles also looks pretty random. Compared to other trade sites the normal approach is to make news free but insight and investigative journalism chargeable. I don't see how the current crop of paywalled articles fit that profile.

Lets hope some of the more vitriolic bloggers can't afford a subscription!

Good luck with the approach, I hope it gives you a much needed commercial boost so the overall standards in the Bookseller can be improved.

Pay ? Not likely. I don't subscribe to The Times, why should anybody subscribe to The Bookseller with its currently poor journalistic standards ?

That's your choice Pixie though you keep coming back here so you must like something. Exclusive and investigative news will be paywalled in the main though we are not implementing a hard rule as yet as I think it is wise to be flexible. I'd say the current paywalled stories match that rule: BCA is our exclusive, the e-book story is an investigation. Other sites, such as the Times, Retail Week etc, have put in a stricter rule and I'm not sure it has worked. The plan is to move all archived material behind the paywall, perhaps after a six month window. People who use this material after that point will be using it for business reasons, and I don't see a good reason for not asking them to pay for that access (students being the obvious exception). I'd say our standards of journalism are pretty high already given the various demands we have to meet with a small news team (web/email news as it happens, deeper print stuff weekly), though there is always room for improvement and we aren't blind to the faults.
Thanks for the comments!

I think the comments on journalism are a bit tough but I do think that the Bookseller should do more investigation to expose and question critically what is behind the Press releases.
I used to experience this particularly when past editors did not "like " the news such as NBA initiatives at Dillons and the merger and sale of Bertrams . Then as now the Bookseller was sleeping with the BA where it derived it's trade political policy .

Maybe this subscription facility will give resource for this greater level of investigation.?
.
I am however, alarmed by BRICKWALL's comment "let's hope that the more
virtiolic bloggers can't afford a subscription", just bloggs from ...Waterstones branches and literary agents then ?

Shame...The Bookseller a fairly decent e-rag. Yet, it gets advertising revenue, tho is that enough, obviously not. (For whatever reason). Like PH above, I refuse to pay for The Times, too. The journalism is sliding like most tabloids. Publisher's Weekly will probably go the same way with a paywall, (unless it already has)..

Sad. I expect we've been spoilt by the web and now expect to have everything for free. Oh well, will just have to go elsewhere, or highlight the locked stories found here through Google.

I'm not sure the paywall will work sadly. As a subscriber to the printed edition, I was always a bit miffed to be reading stories in the printed edition that had appeared throughout the week (for free) on the online version. As we probably all know, there are other providers of 'book news' and of course, Google alerts, etc and sadly, we have all become used to having this stuff for free.

It's a shame that more periodicals didn't adopt the Private Eye model and stick to printed media, with very limited 'free' content online. As a result, their circulation - and one assumes, revenue - continues to grow.

Perhaps this is an important lesson for us all, especially the digital soothsayers as many are convinced the digital tide is turning. Just have a read of some of the 1 and 2 star reviews for the Kindle on Amazon and you get a strong sense that many of these 'new' digital consumers are not happy.

Free is a great model Mr B, but not if you want journalism that costs us money to provide. Private Eye is not in the B2B sector: if we didn't have a website providing timely must-have news daily then someone else would fill that clear information need. That said, each week we run at least two or three news stories in The Bookseller that are exclusive and won't have appeared online before you see the magazine. And that is not to mention the features, business profiles, columns, book preview and author information that always run first in print. Not forgetting Bent, of course. The point is that we can continue to operate a largely free website with a lively community, but we can't ask current and future subscribers to pay for it without providing those subscribers with premium information in return for their investment.

Just to be clear Philip, I wasn't advocating a 'free' business model, more that some consumers expect this kind of content for free. Of course, there is real merit and revenue in good journalism, which is why I mentioned Private Eye as an example of the press that has stayed purely in print form and succeeded.

I should also add that as Booksellers we all contribute to the Nielsen sales data, it's wrong that you should make the weekly sales overview a subscription item.

As a vitriolic blogger I am GUTTED the bookseller is going to hide behind a paywall thus showing a complete lack of understanding of the brave new world of digital.

I do have access to the print edition though so will be able to keep up with the quality journalism and news. I'll just be a week or so behind those on the other side of the wall. (Communism, Israel Palestine, the US border with Mexico - walls eh?)

But that's not wot I love about this site. I was kind of getting addicted to the whining of Waterstone's employees but most of all to Clive Keeble.

Clive - we know you're out there! Please tell me you subscribe to the rag?

Dingo, if you subscribe to the magazine you will have complete access to the website. It is not a different subscription. Do come across . . .

In the words of one bard...

"Farewell, fair cruelty."

DINGO , Clive is I am afraid having one of his sulks [this time because The Bookseller don'tjoin him in a paranoid dislike of everything Amazon.]These sulks tend to last about two months .
If for a change ,you want obsessional dislike of Supermarkets' exploitation of the booktrade aided by the BA , I'm your man .

I come here mainly to nose out books which I then buy. I've no connection to the book trade other than as a customer, and I appreciate that neither your magazine nor the site are really meant "for me" - I can't complain if you choose to put up a paywall and shut me out.

All the same, I do think it's a shame. It looks to me as though your industry needs to engage and encourage customers, and one way of doing that might be the clever use of a little bit of advance information. (I find the next easiest way to pick up this information, by the way, is to search my favourite authors on Amazon and see what's coming up over the next year or so - it's then tempting to buy them there to but I generally resist that.)

What a terrible shame. At a time of titanic change when publishing and bookselling need the widest possible coverage and informed debate you guys slap padlocks on your articles. Very short sighted policy indeed.

How about linking subscriber information to commenter 'handles'? Oblige the more vitriolic/tedious commentators to put their real names next to their pearls of wisdom.

I for one think this is a brilliant idea, and will definitely work as intended. As ever, The Bookseller demonstrates a sound grasp of the internet and its business models with this move.

Bravo!

End of the printed Bookseller?

This is nothing new really - the website did this a few years ago. Will it force me to subscribe? No, I'm afraid. With inflation rising and job uncertainty, there's more important things to spend my money on, and in all honesty while being a decent read, Bookseller has a tendency to counter every bad news story with a fairly banal or corporate good news tale packed with hyperbole which to a casual reader like me, makes this a site only for curiosity than devotion. And while I don't mind paying for added value content, being asked to pay for non-essential content and/or bad news stories that were once free to read won't coerce subscriptions, at least not from my side of the laptop screen.

Well said !

Well said Matt. If we don't provide you with added value content, then you should feel no obligation to pay.

I will pay. The Bookseller has done wonderful journalistic work in the matter of public libraries. Both in its reporting and in its editorial analysis. I'll definitely pay.

Tim, you can afford to. Lots of us who are concerned about the industry cannot.

Understand the commercial imperative completely but still not welcome
news for the many in the publishing industry, ie published authors, who
must struggle to earn a decent income at an anxious time.

Much of your editorial is informative -- but what percentage of it
is press release material, completely free to all?

Bad call. Self serving and short sighted.

I subscribe to the print edition of The Bookseller and last week I was stil affected by the paywall when I tried to view a basic article about some of Viking's new rights acquisitions. Apparently I am a 'low subscriber'. It was hardly a top secret article I was trying to look at.
So I don't understand Philip's claim of 'complete access to the website' if you subscribe to the magazine. It didn't happen in my case.

Peveril, as a print subscriber you are definitely entitled to access to all the online content. Take a look at http://www.thebookseller.com/faqs to help you get access and for the customer helpline if you are still having problems.

(I am marketing manager for The Bookseller.) Books Blog -thank you for posting that reply to Peveril. You are absolutely correct, anyone who has a paid subscription to the publication is entitled to full online content - there are no different levels of access.
If anyone has a paid sub and is struggling to get access then please do contact our Customer Service team. They can easily look at the database and link your online registration to your subscription info ensuring that you have easy access to paywalled content from that moment on. Tel 01604 251 040 or mailto:info@booksellersubs.com

I will certainly subscribe if I can get the cash together. I think there are things you could do better and I'm often irritated by the paucity of material intended for authors, who need to know more about the business of getting their books into print and what the issues are. But then, that's probably why the magazine is called The Bookseller. Good luck, anyway.

Thanks for your responses Philip and Anna - will do if there are any more problems with accessing content.

Damn. I'll have to subscribe when I'm richer.

I'm very fond of the website though. As someone who has hopes of being a novelist & has padded round the shallows of the publishing industry - reading about the trade has encouraged me to think of it as a practical business and not a vague dreamy thing I might do more of in the future when I've stopped doing theatre-things.

It may take me some time - but I'll get behind that paywall eventually.

So, if the print version subscription is registered in the name of one person, as it is in our company, then is it only that person who can access the online content?

Hi Mark, yes that's correct. If a company has just 1 print subscription then it's just 1 online user. We do have company packages available however. Can you email me with how many users you would ideally need and I'll get back to you with a tailored quote. Thanks. mailto:anna.martin@bookseller.co.uk

This is ridiculous. Those who would pay for it are already paying for it (through subscriptions). Your conversion rate of everyone else will not be more than 5%. If people have to know that much about publishing news they would already subscribe (as quite a bit of content never turns up online). Instead, the few interesting blog posts or news items will remain free or easily obtainable elsewhere, and thousands of readers pointed here from around the web will never return, nor will blogs or other news sites cross link. What a waste of time. Your advertisers - those mighty New Age vanity presses that invariably buy the cover every other month - won't be thrilled.

The only business sense behind it is, presumably, the hope that lots of publishers will cough up several grand a year for company-wide access. It's snubbing the freelance spine of the publishing industry - probably the biggest number of readers and comment writers, as they search desperately for ways in which to procrastinate - for corporate handouts.

Good bloody luck, because you'll need it.

The Bookseller will be closed within 5 years.

So once again this week the Nielsen data, which I contribute to, is proprietary information for the Bookseller. Neill / Phillip and others this is simply wrong. Reporting numbers that you didn't have a hand in creating shouldn't sit behind a paywall.

We should all complain to Nielsen - lets start a campaign!!

Brickwall, we are no longer owned by Nielsen. We pay Nielsen to publish the data.

Thanks Phillip, but I still had a hand in creating the data and the snapshot you provide each week is helpful, the charts are in the appears for the weekend but this is a real service that you provided. It's not enough though to warrant a subscription.

If you're an Independent retailer, I believe you can have access to the Charts (via Nielsen) without waiting for the weekend papers. You won't get the informative write up that the Bookseller does, but you'll be able to see the data you had an hand in shaping (unless I've missed the point entirely, which is quite possible)

For what it is worth, here are my thoughts.

I would love to subscribe to The Bookseller but as a first-time author the price is simply too high. I understand that it is well priced as a B2B title but companies always pay more. Even the 15% discount through the SOA makes it £157 a year. 50% morethan the Economist.

Could there not be a "home" package (similar to MS Office Home and Business licenses) for private indivuals that excludes certain industry-related services? Or digital-only subscriptions for private individuals, with say, a four or five-day delay for half the price?

Surely SOME more money and more readers is better than simply closing the door completely?

Hi Jay, Any chance you could email me directly please? I could do with picking your brains if that's ok... mailto:anna.martin@bookseller.co.uk

Thanks.

Having once been a poor and penniless student slogging my guts out to try and get into the industry I used the bookseller like a bible - but I certainly couldn't have afforded the subscription fees.

Something along the lines of what Jay is suggesting would help those trying to get a foot on the ladder. While Publishing MA students will have access, those in BAs may not and it seems a shame to block out young minds. Hopefully, if something cannot be tailored to 'casual' users, the blogs and snippets will be enough to sustain the next generation.

Here's hoping aye?

Sadly, Phillip, you've lost me as a user of the Bookseller website. In these difficult economic times I can't afford to subscribe to a site that is, at best, a source of moderately interesting publishing industry news. Now please don't think that I say that snidely - I really don't but what I do mean is that the content that I have so far read up to this point is not worth subscribing too. Again, this is said without malice but I'm simply highlighting a price point that is in my humble opinion not worth the content on offer. Sorry, but I won't be adding to the Bookseller's hit rate any longer. Thanks for the information and opinion so far to date and good luck in the future.

Ahh well - back to the library and simple daily headlines in some instances for me then - much as I would dearly love to subscribe I'm afraid at this time it's well beyond my means, and I only really do the news and blogs bits online anyway.
However thank you for the info that's been provided prior to the new paywall addition, it's been a pleasure keeping up with the daily news and joining in on here occassionally.

Will you be returning to your successful popular music career too? I'm up for reforming if you are?

While I can understand why its being done, sadly I too can't afford the subscription-especially in the current financial demands of high bills.
As a writer I only read a few bits and pieces on the site that have some interest for me, and I've linked to the site when there are articles relevent to discussions on my blog.
The information in many of the news items can often be found either direct from source or in other areas of media, so like the Times paywall it will be a shame to lose a different viewpoint, but that's life...

Hi Penguinb, can you email me directly please? Got a quick question for you. mailto:anna.martin@bookseller.co.uk Thanks

Well, I don't have a problem paying for the print edition and frankly, the online version is actually more useful, i.e. searchable for info.

Many of us in the business are in fact going through this fairly traumatic digital transition in our own areas, so at the very least, we can empathize.

It's illogical to propose that "physical" information should have value, but digital should be free. That's the Cory Doctorow line, of course - and he's sold an awful lot of (paper) books peddling it :)

I think you will find that the style of comments will become more corporate. Fewer indie participants , less criticism of the BA and Supermarkets etc from the pre NBA old commentators like me . Something to celebrate then .Publishers, literary agents and Waterstones will fill the gap. Excellent .

I totally agree Julian, more publishers commenting would be excellent. Far too often, the comments on here are completely biased and anti-publisher, and quite often this is based on misinformation, misrepresentation or purely through individuals with very ingrained chips on their shoulders.

If this heralds a shake up in this respect, then that can only be a good thing.