Future publisher roles debated at FutureBook

Future publisher roles debated at FutureBook

Sharing on Facebook makes users over 80 times more likely to turn into paying customers, the Futurebook Conference has heard.

In a panel entitled What Does the Future Publisher Look Like? Andrew Savikas, c.e.o of Safari Books Online, said: "If you give people the opportunity to share, that makes them much more committed to the content. Shares on Facebook are 81 times more likely to turn into a paying customer."

He also said demand for videos of non-fiction content was "exploding" on his platform. 

"Non-fiction publishers will absolutely become video publishers too," Savikas said. "Demand is exploding for video-based content. It is faster than book publishing and sales bring in 10 times the cost." He added that his site's analytics showed that people who watch videos were more likely to pay for content, as were people who read. Safari Books Online has a million active users.

Sam Aspinal, c.e.o of Touchpress, spoke about the benefit of apps, but warned while some material lends itself well to apps, not all content does. As an example, she said: "An atlas in 2D is inherently frustrating because you cannot explore it. A music book is inherently frustrating because you cannot hear the music. That type of content is fantastic for this medium."

She also said apps were useful for building a long term relationship with a reader. "Apps can engage long term with the consumer, It is an ongoing long-term transaction," she said. 

Aspinall disagreed with Tom Weldon's earlier comments that there will still be strong distinctions between publishers and retailers in the future. "I think in the future we are not going to see such a separation between publishign and retailing," she said. "Consumers do not care about that distinction. What they want most is access to that content."

Meanwhile Dan Kieran (pictured), founder of crowdfunding platform UnBound, spoke of the importance of adding value for the reader and book buyer. 

His website recently crowdfunded for the title Bitcoin by author Dominci Frisby. Kieran said: "We are thinking about getting T-shirts printed which say 'I Care About Bitcoin' and only people who helped to crowdfund it can buy one. That says something about them." 

Kieran also spoke about the usefulness of analytics tool Google Dashboard and real time analytics in allowing authors to know how and where to market their books. He said: "My dream is an author gets a bill they can't pay on Friday, they hit social media, Facebook, everything over the weekend and then by Monday, they have enough cash to withdraw that amount for their bill on Monday." 

Henry Volans, director of Faber Press, said he thought publishers in the future would look "like what they look like now, but be more efficient and effective" in the future. He added: "Quite how much more effective is the question."