As you may have heard and experienced, selling books is tougher than ever these days. But it’s not all grim news. The silver lining is that this challenging atmosphere is also creating new opportunities. The proliferation of apps, ebooks, online readers, and related Web-based outlets is opening up new avenues for revenue sharing through permission and licensing opportunities. The key is getting your royalty management and rights management in order first.
Be prepared for this new world and you’re more likely to prosper. If moving whole books, whether hardcover or paperback, is slowing down, consider seeking audiences for chapters, specific pages, or similarly segmented digital content. For example, if you’re in the business of publishing how-to manuals or similar instructional books seek out websites that focus on your area of expertise and offer to license them blocks of content. The website might find creating regular, valuable content to be too time consuming for them to handle and would welcome the chance to take this out of house, as long as the price is right. Again, make sure your licensing is secure and your royalty accounting software sound before you begin reaching out and you’ll be ready for business. And keep in mind that each licensing situation is unique. You don’t have to rely solely on standard licenses. Sometimes they are just a great way to begin a negotiation.
As you venture into new formats you will likely experience a greater volume of transactions at smaller price points, so make sure your royalty software is working for you as things get more complicated. And without proper rights management systems and processes in place revenue, both present and future, will be lost. But here’s more good news: once your royalty software and rights management systems are running and scalable, you can begin finding new audiences and selling to them immediately.
Here’s an example: once you digitize your content it becomes much easier and less expensive to translate it to other languages as compared to translating and reprinting physical copies; hence, more potential markets and more licensing opportunities. By reducing the burden of licensing, and using dependable rights management software, you increase business.
The global demand for digital content also opens up your backlist to new licensing opportunities as well. If parts of printed books in your list are outdated you can digitize just those chapters or sections that are still relevant and find them a new audience as part of an ebook, interactive website, or other online source.
A secondary, but not insignificant, byproduct of seeking out new audiences is the benefits it will have for your publishing brand. By bolstering your reputation as a forward-thinking publisher or content collector, content creators will come looking to you to benefit from your prowess. Once you’ve proven that you can increase the reach and scope of their audience, you become an asset.
The writing is on the wall (or more likely the screen)–the publishing world is in the midst of seismic change. By getting your content digitized, licensed, and ready to sell and having robust rights and royalty management, you can spend your valuable time and resources pursuing new audiences and customers rather than chasing the pack.