ARTICLE

Exclusivity: the new growth opportunity in publishing

How exclusive content drives demand

Group of friends taking part in book club

Communities +
customised content =
commercial rewards

The rise of digital content has driven publishers to think ‘beyond the traditional book’. The good news is that books have a new role to play in customers’ wider experiences, with huge potential to make them a more exclusive and valuable product. But publishers will only uncover these new growth possibilities by proactively building and nurturing communities of readers.
 
At our Future Book Forum event, Lucas Dietrich, founder of curated publishing platform Volume, spoke about how rock band Radiohead is a great example of this. Talking about how to profitably publish small editions of books through crowdfunding, Lucas explained how Radiohead created a collector’s edition book for its fans. Sending just one tweet from a band member to promote the book, all 500 copies were sold within six hours.
 
That’s the impact of understanding fans’ interests, knowing where they congregate and using that channel to drive book sales.

Lucas Deitrich, Speaker at Future Book Forum

Cross industry collaboration

So why was this so successful? The answer: collaboration. There’s a huge opportunity for industries to come together to create innovative and tailored content to enhance consumer experiences. Publishers need to consider how to take advantage of digital platforms and processes to make the books they create more desirable. But in order to do so, this requires an understanding of consumer behaviours and their communities.
 
The Radiohead example demonstrates how the record label collaborated with the publisher to create a limited edition book. This meant valued fans received exclusive content, which, in turn, was the main driver for the book’s demand.
 
If publishers can serve special interest communities with unpublished or enhanced content, the rewards will follow. The key is to deliver content that makes fans and followers feel special. Exclusivity and desirability translate into demand and value. And therefore, profit!

Books coming off production line at CB

Personal and premium

Gone are the days of producing one book and distributing it through book stores. Many consumers no longer want a ‘standard’ product. Readers now demand to be treated as valued individuals, offered content that reflects their individuality and recognises their loyalty. And they’re prepared to pay a premium for something more personal.
 
The good news? Digital production models make ultra-short runs and single editions economically viable, opening up exciting new revenue streams through high-margin sales. From limited editions and ‘early bird’ specials, to more customised content such as embellished or personalised editions, or content curated specifically for micro-communities.
 
Publishers must use consumer insight to market targeted products that deepen readers’ experiences if they want to succeed in the future. And there’s a huge untapped opportunity in offering exclusive, intelligent content to individuals within niche communities. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get personal!

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