Key tips for managing the digital development of books

As part of our focus on data, we’ve talked about the impact of digital products on the wealth of information that publishers have to play with. Digital products like apps and eBooks offer incredible insights into consumer behaviour, and usable information about your readership. Whilst the sales of eBooks have plateaued, digitalising content will remain key for publishers in the coming decades.
This article looks at some of the considerations to make before embarking on the creation of a digital product.
We’ve also published a similarly-themed article over at Book Business, so check that our for some more tips.

Better digital development means better books

As the digital publishing era hits its stride, publishers are striving to create eBooks and apps that meet the criteria of a demanding consumer market. In the digital development of books, there’s more potential for a bigger audience reach than ever before. At the same time, an important factor to consider is the seamless integration of monetisation with new publishing technology.
Here we provide some key tips to successfully manage the digital development process of books, from planning to launch and beyond.

Plan well

Whether it’s Android, iOS, Kindle, or a hybrid that works across all platforms, knowing the user preferences of your target audience is a great place to start your planning. Interactive eBooks are especially successful in the children’s market for example, while academic non-fiction consumers may have very different wants in terms of their user experience.
Prepare early by finding out how your target consumer will be using your product before you hit the drawing board.

Use experience

It’s essential to put together an experienced team to manage the digital development of a book. Cast your net far and wide in order to catch the best designers available for your budget, or hire an appropriately experienced project manager from the beginning to take care of every last detail for you.
A good developer will be able to tell you how your product will perform as the market evolves, and advise on the right level of post-launch technical support. Building in a contingency plan to your schedule is a good idea in case things overrun, as is sourcing freelance specialists through word of mouth.

Pricing and monetisation

Before getting your digital product out there, decide on a pricing structure. There are several options to choose from, starting with free. A more effective option to start with, though, might be freemium. Freemium products offer basic functions for free, with the option to pay for a more sophisticated version with better features. This can be a very effective way to attract customers. If you opt for freemium, it’s paramount to load the free version with enough features for them to enjoy their user experience. If they like using the free version enough, it’s a persuasive tactic for them to purchased the paid version.
The next pricing strategy leap is from paid to paidmium (or paymium). If your existing consumer base is strong, combining a paid base model with the option for in-app purchases is in many ways the best of both worlds. Whatever your decision, make it carefully; it may seem tempting to start with paid or paidmium knowing you can always switch to freemium if your first pricing strategy proves ineffective, but taking the time to weigh up the advantages of every option means you will be accurately pricing your product to your target consumer, and this pays dividends in the long run.

Cornering the market

A successful digital product doesn’t simply end with sales. Beyond ‘the bottom line’, if your customers like a new launch, it’s invaluable to understand why.
App store or third-party analytics software (Google, Apsalar, and plenty of others) provides invaluable data that not only measures downloads and product ratings, but also how consumers are using the product. This gives digital publishers the opportunity to interact with customers, respond directly to consumer preferences, and opens up potential to expand on their existing user base by measuring habits and trends.
Ultimately, you need to be sure your product is being developed in the right hands and in the right way. Do you like the user interface? Are you satisfied with the artwork? Do you feel confident the technology has longevity? Will it transfer smoothly as you roll out across new platforms?
Whilst we specialise predominantly in enterprise solutions, our experts can advise you about the digitalisation process of any book, or series of titles. We combine experience of the publishing industry with technical knowhow and creativity to provide an unrivalled service to clients. In a fast-moving market, good ideas are precious. Make them work.

Contact us for more information

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