Digital publishing news and views from the Firsty Group


November 15th, 2016

Nine tools for successful publishing in 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look back on another year of huge change in publishing, and ahead to prospects for the next one. Here are some of the things we at Firsty think all publishers should equip themselves with for the next 12 months.

1 Top-notch metadata

As several industry conferences and other events have reminded us in 2016, generating and maintaining high quality metadata should be at the very top of publishers’ priorities. Nielsen estimated a few years ago that books with metadata that reaches industry standards sell twice as many copies than books that don’t on average. At a time when online discoverability is so crucial to sales, good metadata isn’t just nice to have—it’s essential. For publishers yet to achieve it, help is at hand from cross-publishing organisations include Book Industry Communication, Nielsen BookData and EDItEUR.

2 D2C capabilities

Along with ebooks, the shift to selling direct to consumers has been one of the biggest sales trends in publishing in the last decade. The IPG’s recent Harbottle & Lewis Independent Publishing Report found that nine in ten of its members now sell direct to consumers, and between them generate an average of 30% of their sales in this way. Selling direct can generate higher margins and better customer engagement than any other channel, and getting the infrastructure for it right is vital. Firsty can help.

3 Mobile optimisation

Deloitte research suggests that four in five UK adults now own a smartphone, and in total look at them more than one billion times a day. It is where many people live their lives now, and it is up to publishers to meet them there. We need to understand how people behave on their smartphones, and engage them with content—video and audio as well as text—that grabs their attention. If current trends continue, any websites that aren’t completely optimised for mobile users might soon be worthless.

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