Recycle, Remix, Resell
- Michael Healy, Copyright Clearance Center
- Jonas Lennermo, PubLit
- Rachel Love, National Geographic
- Ralph Mollers, Flipintu
For podcast release Monday, October 27, 2014
Recorded at CONTEC 2014, Frankfurt
KENNEALLY: Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon. Welcome back to the session at CONTEC here. We’re very happy to join you, very happy to be a part of the program today. My name is Chris Kenneally.
Recycle, remix, resell. If I didn’t know better, I would think we were attending an environmental conference at a session looking at waste management as a strategy to drive incremental profitability. Of course, in book publishing, the backlist is typically counted as a goldmine, not as a landfill. Digital publishing and distribution, however, prominently and forcefully frontload the frontlist. The potential of the backlist may have never been greater, yet the challenge to make more of your backlist is, likewise, more difficult than ever.
Perhaps as publishers, we might take a lesson from the tree-huggers. No slight intended there. Indeed, I drew these recommendations from a recycling solutions website, treehugger.com. For example, we may want to start with pre-cycling, a more planful production process that reduces potential waste or potential for waste from the very inception of a project. We ought to also work to raise recovery rates – the amount of useful and re-useful material that may ultimately return to market in new form.
How can publishers efficiently and affordably monetize their backlist content? What new opportunities and business models exist for publishers, agents, and authors to license, remix, and resell that content? And how does direct to consumer publishing fit into the mix? For answers, we turn to our distinguished panel of sanitation engineers. Oh, I beg your pardon, I mean our distinguished panel of publishing executives. And I want to welcome them here. Starting on the end, my colleague from Copyright Clearance Center, Michael Healy. Michael, welcome.
HEALY: Thank you, Chris.
KENNEALLY: Michael is executive director for international relations at Copyright Clearance Center, based in New York City. Prior to joining CCC, Michael was executive director of the Book Rights Registry, and previously executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, and you are probably all familiar with their work. Michael is very much indeed a regular here at Frankfurt, and someone who has spent a good deal of his career in the development of international standards for the book trade.
I also want to welcome Rachel Love. Rachel, welcome.
LOVE: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Rachel joins us from the National Geographic Society in Washington DC, where she began in 2005, and is currently vice president of international publishing and business development. She has operational responsibility for international publishing of magazines, books, and ancillary products for National Geographic in over 80 countries and 40 languages. And prior to joining National Geo, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
And beside her is Ralph Möllers. Ralph, welcome
MÖLLERS: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Ralph joins us from Munich and is very much a serial entrepreneur. I’ll just tell you briefly about his background. In 1988, he teamed up with Iris Bellinghausen, his long-time business partner and I understand wife.
MÖLLERS: And my wife. And eliminator of stupid ideas.
KENNEALLY: That’s good. A handy person to have around, indeed.
MÖLLERS: Yes, absolutely.
KENNEALLY: In 1988, they founded together Systhema Verlag, one of Germany’s first multimedia publishers, which Holtzbrinck acquired in 1996. He later went on to start – took over, rather, as the head of the multimedia publisher Navigo, which was also subsequently acquired by Holtzbrinck in 1997. And in 1997, immediately afterward, he founded his third publishing house, Terzio, which publishes innovative children’s media. And again, someone very familiar to everyone here at Frankfurt.
And then finally, directly to my right is Jonas Lennermo. Jonas, welcome.
LENNERMO: Thank you.
KENNEALLY: Jonas is the chief communications officer of Publit based in Stockholm and is responsible for business development, partnerships, and communications with a background in the humanities and with extensive journalistic experience. Jonas works at the intersection of storytelling and technology.
And Rachel Love, I wonder if I could start with you, because a very successful digital strategy you have at National Geographic so far, at least. But I wonder whether the definition of the digital strategy you have is one so common to us, which is it’s always under development. Can you tell us about that?
LOVE: Yes. Actually, I was anticipating this question from many, many people, which is what is your digital strategy. And our digital strategy is always evolving, because I think that once you have a strategy, it changes so quickly. And what makes our situation unique is that we’re creating content out of the United States, but then we’re also licensing it to publishers from all around the world. And every market’s digital literacy or digital penetration is different, so that what we’re figuring out in the United States works to a certain extent in other markets, but it might not work at all yet in other markets.
KENNEALLY: Well, we can talk about some of the lessons that you’ve learned, and it’s a very attractive market, though, to be in – one that National Geo’s been successful at.
KENNEALLY: Just international licensing generally.
LOVE: Oh, international licensing – I think licensing is – every publisher should be in licensing. So what we do is we take our content and we license the rights to have that content translated into other languages around the world. And when we talk about the backlist, this is – it’s just a fantastic opportunity to take backlist titles and then see how those titles can be republished in other languages around the world. And right now, we’re in 38 languages on the books side of our publishing business. And I’m amazed that all publishers don’t do this.
KENNEALLY: Well, perhaps after they hear you, they’ll be running out to do all that.
LOVE: Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Don’t do it. (laughter)
KENNEALLY: But they probably also say to themselves, well, if I had content like National Geographic, then I would be very successful. So the brand really –
MÖLLERS: It’s a detail, but (laughter) –
KENNEALLY: It’s a small detail, but an important one. So the brand really precedes you wherever you go.
LOVE: We’re extremely fortunate, because we do have such a well-known global brand. And in many cases, the brand is coming into the market via National Geographic channel or the National Geographic magazine. And so yes, the brand carries a lot, and it is – we have a chief content officer, Chris Johns, he used to be the editor in chief of the magazine – but he keeps talking about what a brand means, and it’s a promise kept. And our brand means something to consumers around the world. And then, of course, it’s up to us to keep that promise and deliver content that is what they’re expecting.
KENNEALLY: But there must be a number of challenges, all the same, and challenges not only to find the right formats and the right content that will work in an individual marketplace, but a challenge to the brand, as well. And so I think of the difficulties in presenting certain topics – topics around world religion or geographic boundaries or any of that kind of thing. Your challenge to provide content that’s going to be acceptable in a particular marketplace.
LOVE: Certainly. For the most part, the content that we’re creating is accepted as being unbiased and well-researched and very trustworthy, and that has a lot to do with the National Geographic brand. But there are of course certain disagreements around the globe about, for example, country boundaries – we’re also known for our cartographics and maps –and we have a certain position on certain things as far as country boundaries go, and in some cases, countries don’t agree with what we say the boundaries are. So that can be a little tricky. (laughter)
KENNEALLY: Well, let’s say I come to you from the stand here in the hall from Fredonia.
KENNEALLY: A country some may recognize from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. And so if I’m from Fredonia, and I wish to publish material in my market from National Geographic but I have objections to discussions around gentlemen with large mustaches, and there’s some of that in your material, how do you work out giving them what they want but yet preserving that brand integrity?
LOVE: Well, the first thing that we do is that we try to establish a meaningful and long-term relationship with publishers from around the world. Sometimes, of course, we’ll do one-shot agreements where we have a title that just works with the publisher, and so we’ll just license one particular title. But we’re much more interested in long-term relationships. And so if you have a long-term relationship, you end up getting to know your publishing partner, and you develop a relationship and a certain level of trust.
So in this case, let’s assume we have that level of trust and professionalism. If there’s something in our content that is really objectionable from that country’s perspective, and they’ve made the case to us why it’s objectionable, then we will look at it on sort of a case by case basis, but if it’s legitimate, and if it’s required that they really want to publish this product but they cannot agree to men with large mustaches being seen in their books –
KENNEALLY: In a derogatory way.
LOVE: Yes. (laughter) Whatever it might be, we can work with them to localize that content, and then have some sort of message in the book product that says this doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic in Washington DC.
KENNEALLY: Well, I’ll come back to you, Rachel, in just a moment, but Ralph Möllers, I’d like to turn to you because the subject of publishing partners when it comes to licensing is really critical, and you’ve got some experience with that. Your latest company, Flipintu, is what you call a discovery platform, and you just launched earlier this year in March at Leipzig first round financing. So I wonder – pretend I’m a venture capitalist right now. Give me the pitch, the very quick high-level pitch for Flipintu, so the audience can understand what it is you’re trying to do.
MÖLLERS: Oh, we have the same pitch that everybody has. We’re the next Amazon. (laughter) But no, what we’re trying to do is approach the distribution concept from another side. If you go to Amazon, I think – I don’t have exact numbers – but I think like 90% or even more than 90% of the people that come to Amazon know exactly what they want. They have heard about a book or another product, whatever it is, they type in the title or whatever it is, they find it, they buy it, and Amazon tells them, people who have bought this cable have also bought this washing machine. And I say, well, very interesting, and I buy my cable and go home. Well, I am home. I stay home.
And what we’re trying to do is something similar to sort of magazines like Flipboard or Zeit (sp?), saying tell us what you’re interested in, tell us what you like, and then we create a shop – a magazine that’s kind of a shop for you with books that might interest you. And we’ll mix the products that you can buy with interesting content that you might want to read that’s free for you to read that’s also connected to content.
For instance, we’re working with magazine publishers and newspaper publishers and saying, look, give us a series of nice e-books that we create for you that’s based on your content. Süddeutsche Zeitung is working with us. They have a standard series of features in the magazine that’s the page three, and we had a good laugh about this page three, because that’s where the naked girls usually are.
KENNEALLY: It would be a different kind of book that you’d get.
MÖLLERS: (laughter) Yes. But in Germany, it’s a serious feature on page three of the Süddeutsche Zeitung every day, and it’s on culture, on architecture, it’s on politics, it’s on things that have a longer lifespan than a news article. I said just give us a couple of these features for free, and then we create five, six, seven, 10 e-books with articles around certain topics, and then we present this to people that are interested in this kind of stuff. They can start reading, and then they can decide to buy a bundle of this kind of content. So that’s basically really the idea.
KENNEALLY: Right. But what I found interesting was – and it’s in contrast, I think, with Rachel’s experience – so that sort of global brand and the way that the reputation precedes National Geographic’s content – you have found that working with less well-known publishers and content creators is proving more successful or at least as successful as it has been for some of the very well-known names.
MÖLLERS: Well, I wouldn’t put it that way. Of course, if you have a brand name, either something like National Geographic, or if you’re a brand name author, that’s a big part of your success. What we’re looking at is really more of a long tail approach, saying remix – that’s also part of this event today – remix your content. And we try to offer it with some very sophisticated semantic algorithm. We show it, we make it discoverable to people that are really interested in this.
KENNEALLY: But what I was driving at was that some of the newspapers you’re working with are in smaller markets here.
MÖLLERS: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah, OK.
KENNEALLY: And so their content – the kind of content you spoke of earlier would be in the Frankfurt (inaudible) and so forth and so on – very well-known national content. It’s regional content that is doing well.
MÖLLERS: Yeah. Indeed, that is true, because we can really create content in the e-book world. You couldn’t do that with expensive paper productions and stuff. But we can bundle content from regional – very regional newspapers, and we just started doing that, and market it really to the people in this region or people all over Germany that are interested in this region because they were born there or have family there. And that’s something that works very well, indeed.
KENNEALLY: Well, indeed. And Jonas Lennermo, when it comes to the long tail, Publit, which has been around in Sweden for about five years right now, seems to be trying to disprove the notion that has recently arisen that the long tail is dead.
LENNERMO: Yes, absolutely. I think there’s been a lot of talk lately that the long tail doesn’t really work. But what we’ve seen is that there’s no long tail marketing strategy. So that is what’s lacking. When we talk about long tail, we talk about that everything will be available everywhere, but we don’t necessarily talk – the long tail theory doesn’t say that all the books will sell themselves. That is something that we kind of assume, and that is all wrong.
But what is right, though, is that if the books are out there, we need to create a new kind of marketing strategy to sell them. Let’s call it like a long tail marketing strategy, whatever. I’d probably like to use another word, because the long tail is such a weird kind of word nowadays. It’s kind of slightly always changing a bit. So I’d rather use the word catalogue care. How do you take care of your catalogue? I think that is the main question, and I think that that goes really well into what you have said before when it comes to brand. To me, brand is just another word for finding your content, finding your stuff. That is all about discoverability. And you spoke about relationships. It’s all about creating these kind of relationships with the publisher, with the author, with the audience, even.
KENNEALLY: Right. And so the kind of tools that you developed at Publit are really about working with publishers and with self-publishers, so with authors, as well, to help them sell directly to their readers, which is a real change in the paradigm. And so how does that work? You’ve got certain kinds of technology tools. There’s a widget shop that’s at Publit.
LENNERMO: Yes. We do have a number of tools. But I think the most important thing is that – let me go slightly back again to answer your question, because I think to be able to create a marketing strategy for the long tail, to be able to take care of your catalogue, you need a few things. You need proper skills. You need people that know how to work in the digital environment. You need resources as a publisher. You actually need to have certain people working on this. And then you need tools. So you need the right skills, the right resources, and then the right tools. And yes, Publit are developing some of those tools – not all of them, but some of them.
KENNEALLY: So in a sense, for a publisher or for an author, Publit is the partner they’re looking for, because you can kind of provide them with those tools that they might not be able to develop otherwise.
KENNEALLY: That’s your pitch.
LENNERMO: (overlapping conversations; inaudible), work with us.
KENNEALLY: So what are those tools? It’s about being mobile friendly. It’s also about being social.
LENNERMO: It’s a number of tools. And I think one that you mentioned is the widget shop, which is a direct to consumer tool to sell directly. Another one is an automated campaign tool, so you can set campaigns. But I think it’s important also that we collect all the data so you can actually build something yourself on that data. I think too much publishing today is kind of built on gut feeling rather than actual data, and I think data is crucial to make the right decisions, to make informed decisions. So yes, we give you a number of tools, but I think the most important thing is that we give you something that you can build upon, that you can work with to take it further.
KENNEALLY: Michael, that’s a great cue I think for you, Michael Healy, to tell us a bit about Copyright Clearance Center, which I already know much about because I work there with you. But I wonder if you could tell the audience a bit about our approach to it, because certainly, the experience that CCC has had working with the long tail, creating our catalogue, hundreds of millions of titles and so forth over 30 years, really has taught us a few interesting things, and we’ve developed some services based upon what we’ve learned.
HEALY: Well, really picking up from something Rachel said at the very beginning, when she said that every publisher ought to be involved in licensing. I had to stop myself from pretending I was in an evangelical church and saying amen, sister. But what stopped me was a remark I heard Richard Charkin make – some of you may have been in the rights directors meeting earlier today – but he spoke out loud the sort of rather dirty family secret that we in the English language publishing world never really talk about, which is we have a horribly over-published marketplace right now. If you think of the sheer number of new titles published every year, the number of self-published titles, the number of out of print titles that are being brought back into print every year, if you think of the fact that nothing goes out of print, we have a really over-published market in some respects.
And if you’re not in the English language publishing market, licensing into it is extraordinarily difficult now because of the glut of titles. So the paradox is, yes, Rachel’s absolutely right, but if we don’t find ways to automate to some degree the rights marketplace, much of the opportunity we all identify is going to be lost. And it seems to me you’re never going to automate, to a great degree, the kinds of transactions that bring us all to the Frankfurt Book Fair. It’s an intensely personal as well as being a global business.
But a vast proportion, I suspect, of the transactions are susceptible to the type of automation in which the publisher dictates the terms and conditions under which republication happens or relicensing happens. They dictate the terms of the pricing and so on. And that is all possible, and the proof that it’s possible is the republication license that we developed several years ago now, which hundreds and hundreds of publishers are involved in, including very big names – Elsevier, Sage, and so on.
There’s a million works plus in that marketplace right now where the rights are pre-cleared, the terms and conditions are preset, the prices are preset. And there are millions of dollars of transactions being conducted in an automated marketplace. Now, that’s a very self-serving thing of me to say, of course it is. But whoever does it, whether it’s CCC or another reproduction rights organization or a commercial organization developing solutions for subsidiary rights, and we see them now – IPR License in the UK, PubMatch in the US, etc., RightsDesk, to some degree, in Switzerland as well – this is the future.
We have got to automate this marketplace. Not to sell German language rights to the J.K. Rowling novel, of course not – that’s an intensely one-to-one thing. But for the vast long tail or the catalogue care that Jonas was talking about. There’s real money there.
KENNEALLY: Right. And the kind of work that you’re speaking about can be both whole titles but also portions, chunks, if you will.
HEALLY: Yes, absolutely. Yes. The millions of dollars flowing through the marketplace that we set up is entirely part works. It’s not whole book rights.
KENNEALLY: Right, exactly. And because of the kind of work, as you say, that goes on here at Frankfurt, that will continue. Very difficult to automate that process. But the portions, the chunks, that is something which no publisher will find, if you will, economical to do, other than in an automated way. And yes, Jonas?
LENNERMO: Can I just kind of add something to what you said? Because you started out saying that we have a really over-published market, which I agree with you on, but that doesn’t mean that the long tail theory is wrong. Not at all. What we’re lacking is also – going back to what you said – an automated way to work with that. So we need a new kind of a marketing to work with that, and I think that’s absolutely crucial, and I think that we need new tools to do that, because otherwise (inaudible) it’s too many books. Let’s stop making books and let’s do something else. And that is not the answer.
KENNEALLY: Well, Ralph Möllers, that’s what you’re working on, if I understand correctly.
KENNEALLY: And so while the pitch you gave us at the beginning is a pitch like so many companies have, what you really have is under the hood, an algorithm that is going to bring the content to the reader when they want it and in the way they want it. Talk about how difficult it is to develop such an algorithm.
MÖLLERS: Oh, it’s immensely difficult. And we like to call our platform a dating platform for people in content, and I think that’s what you both have in mind. And a dating platform is really good when it has a very good algorithm that I really find the right soul mate for me. And so that’s what we’re trying to do. We have basically – well, we’re in distribution. That’s slightly different from licensing. But it’s the same principles apply.
What we do is we have a semantic crawler, we call it, that goes out – it first of all picks the title and the ISBN of a book, and then checks on the net, like a search engine crawler, what words, what topics, what things are happening around this book. And with this, that we feed into our semantic algorithm that then creates a tag cloud for this title or this product, and then finds users that have a very similar tag cloud. We also create tag clouds for users. This has 82% similarity, and that should be something for you. And I think for licensing there would be something very similar.
KENNEALLY: It’s fascinating, and yet it goes beyond the obvious, and I think that’s the difficult part, right? So there are obvious associations, but there are less obvious ones.
MÖLLERS: Yeah. I’ll give you an example. When we were testing this just some month ago, we had a new title about new business ethics. I mean, I don’t know the exact title. So the crawler goes out, the semantic engine works, and we’re getting these tag clouds, and this just stuck out to me, because it said vegan very big. Business ethics and vegan? There’s a bug in the system. We have to find it. Why is this? So we were checking the websites where all these results were coming from, and turns out, this is a title that’s heavily discussed in the vegan community in Germany, because in this book – I don’t know the content of the book, I must admit – obviously a lot of people said, oh, this is – if business ethics would move that way, in that direction, that’s exactly where we, as the vegan community or church, I would like to call it, are trying to convince people of. So it makes a lot of sense to present this book to somebody that has in his tag cloud a very big stress or importance on vegan lifestyle. And that’s something that no editor will write in your metatext for the book or that a bookseller would know unless he’s a member of that community. So this kind of stuff – that, I think, is really important.
KENNEALLY: Rachel, we have a visual I think that’s going to help you make a point, if we can bring that up on the screen for Rachel. But as we do that, I will ask you about a book – I believe this relates to the book, The Journey of a Lifetime – Journeys of a Lifetime, rather. And it’s 500 of the world’s greatest journeys. Now, it’s a perennial bestseller for you, one that you have seen success in around the world, and yet have had to, again, face the challenge of different markets, different formats, and we’ll talk a bit about even different distribution. But tell us more about it.
LOVE: Yeah, so this book, Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, was published by National Geographic in 2007. And it’s a hardcover book, and in the United States, it’s been a perennial bestseller for us, so much so that we have not yet issued a softcover edition of the book, which is sort of phenomenal, because each year we look at it and we think, is it time to do the trade paperback? And we look at the sales and we say no. So it’s a very special and successful book for us.
But what’s interesting to me about this book is what we’ve been able to do with it internationally. And so as you can see from this slide, we’ve translated it into 18 other languages outside of the English language, which for my business is impressive, I have to say, getting a book into 18 languages. That’s a success for us.
But the reason that this book has been so successful in so many languages – one, the content is very good, just as far as journeys of a lifetime. But we have had the opportunity to work with these different publishers and hear what they need the final product to be. So a large hardcover book does not necessarily work in all markets. It might be because the price point for a hardcover book is too expensive, or it might be that in fact the number of pages – it’s 400 and some pages – is too many pages for a book.
So on the next slide, what you can see is this book in I think it’s about 15 of the different covers. And so what you can see is this is the same book published in multiple languages, and in some cases, the publishers have split it into two to four different volumes. They’ve made it softcover. They’ve made the trim size smaller. They have come back to us – beginning with the French – came back to us to say too many of the destinations were US-centric, and could they take out 100 destinations and make it 400 destinations, journeys of a lifetime. The Germans and the Dutch quickly followed that model.
I just think it’s our ability – publishers – to be flexible and to listen to what the local market needs something to be, and then try and be able to deliver that solution to them.
KENNEALLY: It’s a great story, and the part of it I like is not just – we’re looking here at the print versions, but there’s a version that you have placed into the Japanese market that’s quite interesting. Tell us about that.
LOVE: Right. And so the Japanese, they did it actually as a hardcover, then they did it as a softcover, then they did it as a reduced size softcover. And then what happened – this is very unique to the Japanese market – is they have a device – an electronic device that’s called an e-dictionary. And these e-dictionaries are evergreen products. They tend to be gifts that parents and grandparents give to students when they’re graduating from high school into college. And they are essentially – you can put in Japanese words and you can get other languages – a translation of the other languages. And these are produced by Cassio and by Sharp, these e-dictionaries.
Now what companies like Cassio and Sharp and Samsung and things like that are doing is that these devices have content that’s preloaded onto them. And so what we were able to do, because this book, Journeys of a Lifetime, has been so successful, we were able to have this book preloaded on these Cassio and Sharp e-dictionary devices. When the Japanese came to us, we had no idea what an e-dictionary was. We didn’t understand what this market was. I still don’t completely understand what this market is. However, the royalty reports that come in annually make me delighted by this market.
MÖLLERS: Whatever it is. (laughter)
LOVE: Yes. So it’s just very interesting that this – and it’s an e-book. That’s essentially what we’re talking about. That’s a digital edition of this book in the Japanese market.
KENNEALLY: And what’s interesting about that is – so a buyer here at Frankfurt can be another publisher from another country, but it could also be a device maker, and that’s really changing the way people look at rights.
LOVE: Absolutely. And then it’s really challenging the business model, because we don’t have a legacy business model in place for having our content on devices. So then we have to kind of figure that out.
KENNEALLY: Right. Well, Michael Healy, we give a lot of educational programs at Copyright Clearance Center around copyright, and it surprises me how it attracts over and over and over dozens – hundreds of people from the publishing community, because I think of it as telling publishers about copyright is rather like telling farmers that milk comes from cows. It should be an obvious thing. And I wondered whether we’d kind of round out this conversation by talking about how copyright plays just a central role here. It’s about publishers making the work available, but also managing it, having control of it.
HEALY: Well, copyright is the foundation stone on which the entire house is built. Nobody thinks about that, but it’s true. And erosion of that foundation stone means the entire structure is eroded, and you’ve heard me talk incessantly to the point where you can’t bear to talk to me anymore about threats to copyright, either through the legislatures around the world – look at what has happened in Canada, which has devastated the secondary licensing market in Canada. And if you don’t think that can happen elsewhere, go and watch Australia in the next few years, or Brazil.
MÖLLERS: Or Germany.
HEALY: Or Germany.
MÖLLERS: It’s happening.
HEALY: This is a really, really serious issue. And I think people are waking up to it. I hope they’re not waking up to it too late. But the greatest protection we can give to copyright is to make licensing easy. It’s all very well to tackle infringement. That matters a great deal. Copyright education matters a great deal. We should do more and more of both things. But if you put in place an effective, efficient, and I would argue, increasingly automated licensing system, then you make it easy and possible for those who want to reuse content legitimately to do it.
Innovations like we’re seeing in the UK with the Copyright Hub and elsewhere – these really matter. People want to do the right thing, generally, so let’s make it easy for them to do the right thing.
KENNEALLY: And Jonas Lennermo, last word from you from Publit – it’s not only about making things easy, but about creating relationships. You’ve been talking about marketing as a critical piece of this, and it seems to me that the approach that Publit has taken is one where you really encourage the publishers and the self-publishers to think of their readers as part of a community, and to really make deeper and deeper relationships. That’s going to make the business more successful.
LENNERMO: Absolutely, but that also includes us. We want to be part of that, and we want to listen to them and understand what they need. But I think I want to – I will answer your question, but I think I want to go back to what you said previously when you described your title, because I think there’s quite a big difference between talking about specific titles and licensing and titles that are so big, because you can really work with them and talk about publishing from a 360 perspective or whatever where you can publish plush toys and all that. But we also need to think about the catalogue and how you work with the catalogue as a whole. And I think that is two very different things.
And coming back to what you asked me, I’ll try to eventually answer your question. I think when we work with publishers, we work with publishers to sell more of their catalogue, and that is something different compared to selling big titles. And in working with that, in working with selling catalogues, we need to create a great relationship. We need to understand them. And hopefully, they need to understand us, as well. And we need to create these kind of tools that I mentioned previously. And that might be automated tools for campaigns. That might be D-to-C tools. That might be a number of different things. But more importantly, it needs to be based on data.
KENNEALLY: And it would promote a lasting approach to this whole question. When you talk about recycle, remix, resell, it’s not one-off one title. You’re talking about making this a core part of the business.
LENNERMO: Absolutely, absolutely. And I really think that the publishing business, so to speak – the publish industry’s kind of splitting up into two quite different things. It’s we have the big, big titles, and they might work on an international level, and you can do plush toys and whatever. But we also have the huge catalogue. And that doesn’t mean that is niche products. Not at all. But we still have a gigantic catalogue. And how should we work with that?
And our answer to that is, as you started out saying, having a digital strategy is saying that we have a strategy that is continuously evolving. So I’ll don’t say that we have all the answers today, hence the relationship is so important to us. We want to learn from the publishers that we work with. We want to be a part of their world, and we want to develop tools in collaboration with them to resell, remix the catalogue.
KENNEALLY: Well, we didn’t have all the answers today, but we tried to get in as many as we could in the time given us. And I want to thank our panel, Michael Healy from Copyright Clearance Center, Rachel Love, National Geographic, Ralph Möllers, most recently from Flipintu, Jonas Lennermo from Publit. And we’ll find out before we end the program if anyone in the audience has a question for our panel here.
Yes? Hang on. Hopefully – we’ll just test this. Yes, indeed. I’ll hang onto it. You ask the question.
M: Have you translated your books in Persian?
LOVE: That’s so interesting that you ask because the – well, the immediate answer is no. However, we are right now in conversations with two different publishers to get one book, in particular, translated into Persian, which would be a first for National Geographic.
KENNEALLY: Any other questions from our audience today?
LOVE: And if you’re interested in it, just let me know.
KENNEALLY: Well, again, I want to thank Michael Healy, Rachel Love, Ralph Möllers, and Jonas Lennermo. My name’s Chris Kenneally. The last program was called Beyond the Book, but we have a program at Copyright Clearance Center called Beyond the Book. It’s our podcast series at beyondthebook.com. Do check it out, and thank you very much.