Yes to Share

Since the rise of the Internet, more and more businesses are focusing on all the data they can collect and buy in order to generate more profit and attract more customers. The goal of data democratization is allowing anybody within the industry to use data at any time and make decisions without any obstacles. Data democratization can be of great use to collectively help the growth of these businesses, but in the world we live in, a democracy cannot be attained easily. When it comes to data democratization, each entity looks at it in a different way. Business who have a monopoly are less willing to share their data, while small businesses that do not have a monopoly can benefit more from receiving data and are willing to share their own in return. There are pros and cons to data democratization in the publishing industry. Freely sharing data in the publishing industry could be beneficial considering the people who work in the industry are usually passionate about what they do and are more interested in sharing their projects than doing strictly business.

In the publishing industry, data is needed now more than ever. About 1 million books are published in a year in the US only but the sales numbers are unpredictable. Tracking, analyzing, and understanding the readers is critical to the survival of the book. We are now witnessing the rise of new startup platforms whose main goal is to collect not only sales data but focus on the reader’s habits too. Having all the data from all the publishing houses are combined, not only will it result in making better business decisions but can also decrease the “book rejection” percentage.

Data democratization in the publishing industry means also Amazon should make their data available. Since Amazon is a dominant player in the publishing industry, this cannot be seen as a possible option for the time being since. Not having Amazon’s book related sales data, leave a huge gap in the data of the publishing industry. But that should not stop the publishing houses and the (online)bookstores collectively combine their powers and share their data. Consolidating the power of the publishing houses and the platforms that collect data within the publishing industry can truly make a  difference in the future of the publishing industry. From acquiring authors and titles to publishing the books.

Considering the data-driven era we live in, now is the time for publishing houses to share and combine all their data, not tomorrow. We have numerous authors rising and a huge number of decisions to be taken. If the publishing industry focuses on following only their gut and not the data, the sales numbers will remain unpredictable, and the levels of book rejection will stay high.

2 Replies to “Yes to Share”

  1. Thanks for writing this week, Lora! I like how you bring in data democratization—which hasn’t really been dissed this week. I personally like the idea of having open access to data and removing the gatekeepers, but I wonder what this type of system would look like within publishing and how you think we could get a company as big as Amazon to share their data—do you think they should be forced to legally?

  2. Thank you for your piece Lora! I don’t know if tracking, analyzing and understanding the readers is necessarily critical to the survival of the book, it’s doing pretty okay, but I think it could definitely change the “life” of the book.

    Wouldn’t having all this open data result in a kind of homogeneity? If all the same kinds of books are being rejected and all the houses are following trends?

    I don’t know if just following data is the best option either, and that the publisher’s gut still plays an important role in making decisions.

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