Hachette Surveys Readers

A few days ago, Hachette Book Group sent me an email. No, it wasn’t to offer me a six figure book deal, it was a request to fill out a survey.

Hachette Book Group is conducting a brief survey of our e-newsletter subscribers and social network followers to improve online services we offer. Your input may help us provide you with a more custom experience in the future when you visit our sites. We estimate that it will take approximately 5 minutes to complete the survey.

Well, how could I resist! So many people were kind enough to fill out my survey, the least I could do was respond to a large, multi-national publisher.

I wish I had written down all the questions … and, unfortunately the survey link will not let me enter a second time, however, it might interest you to know that Hachette is asking questions about readers’ interest in connecting with other readers online through the HBG website, having the ability to submit book reviews, getting information about new books and so on. If they had looked at the historical fiction survey results, they would have seen where readers prefer to go for recommendations and that publishers rank low on the list.

And why is that? Readers indicated quite clearly that they choose books by author, genre and, in the case of historical fiction, by era. The winners in connecting readers with books share three attributes:

  • thoughtful, trustworthy information about books,
  • opportunities for dialogue and an exchange of ideas, and
  • a community of like-minded readers.

I suspect readers rarely think of publishers by name except perhaps brands like Harlequin that focus on marketing to consumers or, dare I say, Amazon that began as an online retailer and gradually added businesses like publishing to the mix.

A dilemma for sure. I wonder if we’ll see further news on Hachette’s plans for becoming consumer focused.

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Meet M.K.Tod

Meet M.K.Tod

The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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4 Responses

  1. I agree with you, Mary. Why would readers go to a publisher? They aren’t the brand or variety. However, they are in a good spot to do something for readers and reviewers that no one else can.

    Goodreads would be a smart acquisition for a publisher right now.

  2. Make no mistake, Amazon’s business model has the publishers running scared and they are scrambling to revamp their approach to the business. That seems to be what Hachette is doing with this survey nonsense. You see, until Jeff Bezos came along at the end of 1997, the publishing industry had not changed in over 100 years. They were still operating with the same, tired, outdated business model that did not take into consideration the needs, desires, and opinions of their customers. Jeff Bezos changed all that. He revolutionized the publishing industry forever and a discussion of this could go on forever.

    Bloomberg Businessweek wrote a huge expose on the quiet publishing revolution titled “Amazon’s Hitman: A Tale of Books, Betrayal, and the (alleged) secret plot to destroy literature” by Brad Stone (January 30-February 5, 2012). It’s an awesome article and I definitely recommend your readers read it.

    1. I read this article in my husband’s Business Week. You’re right, it’s a great history of how it all got away from them. If anyone wants to understand the background on the whole agency model, the lawsuit, then this is a great overview.

      1. Expect another wave of panic and layoffs in the publishing industry as talks are under way for Random House and Penguin to possibly merge. The combination would create a publishing behemoth responsible for 25% of global English-language consumer book sales and combined sales of almost $4 billion. The goal of the merger: cost cutting on expensive warehousing, printing, and marketing that cannot be sustained in the digital era. (WSJ 10/26/12)

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