This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair in four paragraphs

In case you missed it: Ganxy launched last week! You can find out more about our launch here and here. Thanks to everyone who helped make our launch a success!

Frankfurt Book Fair/ Marc Jacquemin

It’s hard to believe that it’s over a week now since Ganxy launched at The Frankfurt Book Fair – feels like an eternity for the team. While the learning, networking, and schlepping from meeting to meeting were certainly exhausting, the Ganxy team is back to business as usual and totally exhilarated by what we saw and experienced. 

Here are a few observations we made in Frankfurt:

People are still reading books — physical books: Just as the demise of television has been predicted for years now, so too has the demise of the physical book. Yet, TV has managed to stick around and will certainly continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future. The same applies for physical books. A quick walk through the halls made this pretty clear. Not to say that things aren’t rapidly changing, but physical books aren’t out of the game yet.

Europeans are putting the right eBook infrastructure in place: While the continental European eBook market is lagging behind the US and the UK in terms of adoption, the Europeans certainly aren’t wasting any time getting the right pieces in place to create, drive, and take advantage of the burgeoning market. Check out companies like epubli.com and Bookwire to name a couple. These companies look just as impressive – if not more so – than their US and UK-based equivalents.

If you want them to buy, make sure they can sample: One of the points that we heard repeatedly mentioned in conversations and panels is that when customers purchase online, the ability to preview or sample the book is crucial to making that final decision. One thing for those promoting books to think about is how they’re going to make sure that their customers have a good experience when it comes to getting a feel for a book. Will reading a PDF on a tiny phone screen suffice? Remember, anything that detracts from the brand of your book as part of the book-buying experience will ultimately cost your book sales and popularity.

Last but not least, embrace the change! Sure, we’re in a time of unprecedented technological change, and the future feels more unpredictable than ever, but we at Ganxy believe that the opportunities are aplenty for those who are willing to optimistically embrace the change around them. Look to publishers like O’Reilly, OR Books, and Profile Books who are taking new and bold steps. You may not necessarily believe that every new thing they’re doing is appropriate for your business, but keep your eyes and ears open and learn from them. There will certainly be missteps among the innovators out there, but through risk comes reward.

Finally, what’s the next step for Ganxy? We’re still on the go, rolling out new features that we’ve been planning for a while, and listening to our new users to figure out what comes next. We look forward to telling you all about those new features in the weeks to come, and we invite you to start a conversation with us to tell us about some of the issues that you’re facing as you attempt to promote and sell your books online.

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Authors and Publishers: It’s time to take control of your promotions and sales — Ganxy has launched!

Greetings from Frankfurt, Germany. It is with great pleasure that we announce that Ganxy has launched to coincide with the kickoff of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. Whether you’re a self-published author, an author working with a publisher, or are a publisher of any size, our message is simple: When it comes to your online promotions and sales, it’s time to stop worrying about platforms, devices, and retailers and to start focusing on what you do best: creating and marketing books. With Ganxy, this is precisely what you’ll be able to do.

Over many months, we’ve had countless conversations with people in the industry, trying to understand the problems they have. In our last post we mentioned some of the many challenges that you, as authors and publishers, face, like promoting consistently, building long-term relationships, and increasing your profit margins.

And, you know what? We believe we’ve found the solution.

Introducing the Ganxy Showcase

This Showcase was created in just a few minutes. It can be embedded on websites, Facebook pages, blogs, shared via Twitter and email. You can even use it as a standalone microstore / webpage.

We designed the Showcase to engage your audience by offering a number of optional elements like a description, a preview, and more to make sure that they can first get a feel for your book and then decide if they’d like to buy. One of the things that we found while talking to authors and publishers is that video trailers are becoming more important to their marketing efforts, so we’ve made sure that there’s an option to include a video as well.

How do you sell your books through the Showcase? We’ve made it easy to include multiple retailer links so that potential buyers can choose how they’d like to get it. You can also include direct selling for your eBooks and keep 90% of net sales (see a Showcase with direct sales). We handle all the nitty-gritty details like content delivery, payment processing, and customer support.

What about connecting with your audience? Every morning, hundreds of millions check their inboxes. So we built an Email Capture feature to help you connect with them. Turn it on, and let readers send their email addresses from any Showcase so that you can start building long-lasting relationships with them (see a Showcase with Email Capture). If readers miss it on the Showcase, they can also subscribe after they’ve purchased from Ganxy. It’s your popularity or marketing efforts that have generated the attention, so make sure you can build those connections.

So there you have it. We’re sure you’re curious to know what the pricing is. We’re happy to say that you can create unlimited, fully-featured showcases for free. To get started with your first Showcase, go to ganxy.com. It takes just a few minutes to set one up.

Go and set up your first Showcase!

Thanks for reading, and more importantly thanks for using Ganxy! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to say “hi,” we’re always here at inquiries@ganxy.com.

We have some great features in the pipeline for the coming weeks, stay tuned!

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4 steps authors and publishers must take to survive and thrive

It’s no exaggeration (and certainly not breaking news) to say that the publishing industry is being rocked by a number of trends. To name a few: the continual movement of book sales away from bookstores to online retailers, the proliferation of new reading platforms and devices, the increase in the number of eBooks as a portion of total sales, and the inroads that self-published authors are making into the marketplace.

Consider the following:

While some may fear the unknown consequences of these changes, authors and publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the openness of the web and take advantage of direct reader connections as a means of selling and promoting books.

The problem is that publishers and self-published authors are investing significant time and resources building followings on social media, marketing and promoting books through advertising and word-of-mouth, and driving media attention. Yet, when it comes time to capitalize on these efforts, they have one primary option: driving sales to big online book retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.

To be clear, these retailers are of tremendous value when it comes to increasing a book’s discoverability and offering consumers a familiar retail experience. But in the new and constantly evolving publishing landscape, the authors and publishers who will be most successful in the long term are those who find new and innovative ways to maximize the returns on their own marketing and promotional efforts.

Here are a few steps that authors and publishers can take to survive and thrive in this changing landscape:

1) Start promoting across the web in a consistent way

There are dozens of places an author or publisher can promote books across the web: from websites, to Twitter, to blogs, to Facebook, and more.

This raises a few questions: How can a small publisher, for example, quickly and inexpensively set up their website, the author’s website, a Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, etc. so that they’re making the book look good, convincing the audience to buy, and offering that audience the option to get it from the retailer of their choice?

Moreover, authors and publishers pour their passion and resources into developing their books’ brands, obsessing over every detail from fonts, to colors, to images. How can they make sure that potential buyers experience the book’s brand as it was conceived?

2) Start building long-term relationships via direct access to readers

Currently, buyer information (email address, demographics, etc.) is captured by retailers at the point of purchase and, unfortunately, not shared. But authors and publishers are learning that however influential their efforts were in driving sales to a retailer, their long-term success depends on being able to develop a relationship with readers. The ability to capture buyer information is essential to those efforts.

Put another way, wouldn’t it be great if there were a simple way to maintain a dialogue with readers, promote new books to them, or just keep them interested through additional content like preview excerpts of upcoming books? Instead, authors and publishers are generating interest and then giving up these relationships. It’s a bit like catching a golden goose and then being forced to set it free.

3) Find ways to capture a larger portion of revenues for interest they generate

Major retailers like Amazon, B&N, and Apple take a 30-65% cut of sales, leaving the rest to be split amongst publishers, agents, and authors.

Let’s say a publisher is coming out with a new eBook. They’ve spent months putting their blood, sweat, and tears into producing it and making sure that people know about it. They decide to price the book at $5.99. At this price point, they’d earn in the range of $3.89-4.19 per book (65-70% of the retail price).

If they’re successfully driving traffic to the author’s website, Facebook page, blog, and other web properties that they control, don’t they deserve significantly more of the $5.99 sale price?

4) Coordinate book giveaways or other promotions across multiple retailers and devices

There’s no better way to start building buzz around a book than by giving it away for free or even offering it at a discount. Sadly, because of the scattered landscape of e-readers and their corresponding retail channels, this sort of control over a promotional campaign is impossible.

Let’s say a publisher wants to give away the first 1,000 copies of an upcoming eBook for free to a select group of recipients. Since each of these recipients has his/her own preferred reading device, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee accessibility to every consumer through a single promotion.

Moreover, the online retailers are still pretty inflexible with regard to giving away free content. Giveaway capability is either limited in quantity through some retailers, or nonexistent through others, leaving authors and publishers to pay heavily to gift each copy that they’d like to give away. Why should they have to pay a significant portion of the retail price to give away content that they own?

At Ganxy, our goal is to put more power into the hands of those who own and create content by breaking down the barriers between them and their audiences. If you’re selling eBooks, music, or any other product, our platform gives you the flexibility and control you need to successfully promote and sell across the web.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be providing you with more details to round out some of what’s described above, so come back and visit us!

Joshua Cohen, Ganxy Business Development

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