I’m attending the IPG conference where a day of keynote presentations and panel sessions yesterday gave independent publishers much food for thought.
Throughout the day the need and opportunity for publishers to focus on understanding consumers came up again and again. Stephen Page of Faber cited the Superfans concept from Nicholas Lovell’s book, The Curve, and James Daunt of Waterstones at least mentioned the opportunity of 4 million loyalty card members (in an otherwise difficult session). Richard Sullivan of Osprey talked to consumer website launches and community and Kieron Smith, in announcing his new project Best Little Bookshop, talked to how consumer behaviours are changing.
This was a reminder to me to celebrate a recent project of ours that demonstrates why embracing a direct to consumer relationship is such a big opportunity for publishers.
Earlier last year we noticed that customers were searching on our Stitch Craft Create site for terms relating to knitting letters of the alphabet. The data told us this was an interest, but we had no product to meet it. Knitting is an ever popular category and other trend data indicated this was a good specific subject. We approved and commissioned content to meet the need, content that we wanted to wholly own as we could see many product opportunities.
Knit the Alphabet is publishing now as a print book and ebook. Individual downloads of each letter can be bought exclusively from Stitch Craft Create and we’ve already begun to sell international rights. Early sales indicators are that it’s going to exceed our forecasts for the first months.
It’s a small project but is a really good example of what can be achieved with direct to consumer reach:
- Data led insight that helps inform our content and publishing plan
- Confidence in approving the project and investing in owning the content
- An ability to create multiple products and revenues from the one source: 1 book, 1 ebook, 26 letter downloads
- Exclusive product for our consumer business in the individual letter downloads
We’ll also use this content in other ways, perhaps in our digital magazine or print bookazine. It’d be nice to do a custom print on demand project where you could buy only the letters of your choice, so that’s maybe something for the future too.