2020 was a rollercoaster ride for the publishing industry globally, and no doubt for you as authors and publishers.
That’s certainly been the case for all of us at StreetLib: We started the year with big plans to kickstart the new decade, only to have our roadmap torn to shreds as Italy became the frontline of what quickly became a global pandemic.
As we closed 2020, there would be a lot to be said about what happened during the last twelve months in the media landscape. As an industry, we definitely had five-years-progress in terms of digital content awareness and consumption… there are plenty of articles and interviews out there about this topic, so that’s all I would say about that.
Rather, in this short essay I intend to take a look in what we’re building at StreetLib while trying to balance into the new year, with the aim of understanding how the post-2020 publishing era will unfold.
People love books in any formats. Reading and listening activities are increasing everywhere around the world, wherever good content is made available to people at accessible prices.
For authors and publishers out there, that’s great news!
But we believe that the ones who will benefit the most out of this new Renaissance of Publishing will be the ones willing to publish their stories in multiple formats, to experiment with different business models, to explore all the possible available consumer and marketing channels, and to implement modern and effective publishing workflows.
At StreetLib, our practical approach is leading us into building something that is specifically targeting each of those opportunities… and the following are some bites of what we’re working on.
Implementing multiple Formats
One of our main goals is to provide a seamless and effective publishing experience to publishers of all kinds.
We do this by supporting all book-formats natively within our software infrastructure, connecting the “content supplier” with the “consumer point” in a very secure, reliable and efficient way.
The new StreetLib cloud-publishing platform that we’ll be releasing in the coming weeks will allow the native digital distribution of ebooks, audiobooks, POD books and podcasts:
We strongly believe that authors and publishers should explore every possible avenue for exploiting their own Intellectual Properties. Making books available in digital, audio, POD and podcast formats, when appropriate, is a smart strategy: we want to make it easy for authors and publishers to implement it.
Embracing new business models
Nowadays, new business models like digital lending and digital subscriptions are increasing in popularity, especially among the young people.
There’s much more to digital publishing in 2021 than just selling books and ebooks on Amazon: companies like OverDrive, Axiell, MLOL, Odilo, Audible, Storytel, Scribd, Kobo, BookBeat, Nextory, Izneo, Perlego, YouScribe and others are becoming household names in different countries and regions of the world, thanks to their mobile apps for accessing digital content in new and modern ways.
Most of them are already part of the StreetLib distribution network, and our job is to make it easy for our authors and publishers to enjoy the benefits of all the innovative apps that are popping up in every corner of the globe.
As part of our effort, we’re going to release a new version of our StreetLib Analytics service that will allow advanced sales analysis across different markets and business models:
Thanks to StreetLib Analytics, authors and publishers can monitor and track sales across multiple formats, genres, channels and business models… and they can even do that with our native mobile app.
Exploring sales and marketing channels
We’re going to provide authors and publishers increasing levels of control over their distribution options, as we grow our network and add new and promising distribution channels to our platform.
Each author and publisher has its specific needs, and the new StreetLib cloud-publishing platform will allow each of them to manage how and where their catalog is distributed:
At the same time, though, we believe that authors and publishers need much more than just relying on 3rd-party distribution channels. That’s necessary, but on its own not enough anymore.
By trying to connect with their audience directly, without any intermediary, authors and publishers can better understand and evaluate who their audience is, what they need and what they respond to.
The reality is that many of our authors and publishers already understand this and have been asked for a solution for a long time.
So we listened, we kept on building, and after many iterations we came up with a new service that we called StreetLib Direct:
StreetLib Direct is a D2C (direct to consumer) marketing service that, among other features, provides a “giveaway tool” allowing authors and publishers to setup landing-pages for specific campaigns and to monitor the usage of the coupon codes on their ebooks and audiobooks catalog.
If you want to take part of the beta-test or just provide your feedback, you’re welcome to send us a line.
Digital publishing workflows
The pandemic has not only increased the consumption of digital content across the board. It has also shaped remote work in general, internet-based collaboration patterns, and editorial workflows within media companies and publishing organizations of any size.
At StreetLib, we have always encouraged authors and publishers to embrace and implement digital workflows to streamline their daily operations, and starting from 2021, we will also start providing some of these services within the StreetLib platform.
We have identified many pain points along the publishing value chain and our goal is to address most of them in order to provide superpowers to our authors and publishers :)
To be very concrete, one of the biggest need that we see among the modern publishing organizations is the urgency to streamline the management of their publishing assets, from production to distribution, to marketing and sales.
Publishers need to manage a lot of files nowadays, and the situation gets worse as they have to deal with multiple formats, files requirements for different sales channels, and so forth. And even worse with audio files which are usually quite big. Also, these assets have to be arranged and archived securely and reliably, and oftentimes in a way that need to be easy to share and to reference among different teams and online collaboration apps.
As always, we try our best to build useful tools and services for everybody to use, and in this context we came up with the new StreetLib Storage service:
With StreetLib Storage, authors and publishers can easily upload their assets onto our platform, they can activate a number of intelligent actions to fix, rename and process their files, they can securely archive them, organize and share them, and eventually attach them to their publications.
We’re building these services with the collaboration of a group of selected customers, but of course our goal is to make all our publishing services accessible for everybody to use with just a bunch of clicks as part of the platform.
And in fact, this is our mantra: that we are inclusive for all publishers, of any size, anywhere in the world.
2020 was a year like no other. Yet it didn’t stop us from achieving some remarkable milestones and working to support some of the most amazing authors and publishers out there.
Your books have the power to change people’s lives and to improve the world we’re living in, and we feel extremely honoured to serve you every single day.
I wish you all, on behalf of the StreetLib team, a prosperous New Year.