While book publishing faces its greatest challenges in decades, new Verso Digital initiatives aim to do more than simply gain market share in a declining market. Our goal is to grow readership by reaching out to each book’s interest-group in targeted, measurable ways across multiple digital platforms.
As readers’ attention shifts from print to digital media, the old ways of reaching potential readers no longer work as well as they have in the past. This migration of attention, coupled with declining foot traffic in brick-and-mortar bookstores, makes it imperative that we reach potential book buyers where they are most active and engaged with their subject matter.
The latest data from RR Bowker confirms that this migration has already occurred. For the first time, average hours spent online has recently passed hours spent watching TV. Consumers are increasingly learning about books online.
This shift means that book marketing needs to move from a mass mindset to a niche one. When ads are broadcast across mass channels such as national print newspapers, radio and TV, the ads need to speak as broadly and loudly as possible. But ads can no longer be merely disruptive plays for attention. With micro-targeting now possible across a multitude of devices, advertising should be considered a service rendered to particular, interested readers, not a blanket message aimed at them. That’s why we created Verso Reader Channels–to target a reader pre-disposed toward a particular book’s subject, when and where he or she is interested in learning about it. Doing so not only increases our chances of converting attention to a “buy,” but also increases the chance of the message spreading virally across networks of like-minded readers.