April 30: Disruptive Models Part 2

On April 30, 2019, we continued our conversation about the changing publishing industry with F Suite Publisher Anna Edmonds. Here are the show notes:


Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting, DMSB

Shennice Cleckley, Smart Cookie Coaching

Anna Edmonds, The F Suite Magazine

Theme for the day:

Disruptive Businesses & the Publishing Industry Part 2

Agenda review:

  • Learn more about the publishing business
  • Talk about The F Suite
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Segment 1:

Disruptive business models create an entirely new way of navigating established industries. Typically, this means a new company addressing the needs of a population not being served by the existing players in the industry.

The Publishing Industry has been flipped upside down over the last decade. Let’s talk about milestones (link to infographic):

  • 2007 Amazon releases Kindle
  • 2010 Apple releases iPad with e-reader app
  • 2011 ebooks overtake hardcover in sales
  • 2015 Amazon still dominating the marketplace with 32% marketshare and launches Kindle Unlimited, a subscription-based service that changes how people pay for books
  • 2016 biggest concern for “Authorpreneurs” is discoverability in a saturated market

So why is disruption so obvious in the publishing industry? Link to article.

  • It’s expensive to publish.
  • Publishers are not leveraging additional sources of revenue (like workshops).
  • Publishers are not turning their writers into their product.
  • Publishers are not capitalizing on the popularity of digital media. (study link)
  • New media companies are capitalizing on content (article about Amazon buying The Washington Post)

So how can print media sustain? What does a publisher have to do to keep people reading?

Segment 2

The F Suite is an idea you’ve had for a while, right, Anna? So what’s the pitch for the F Suite? Who and where are the readers?

Traditional monetization in print and media is advertising and subscriptions. What’s the F Suite model?

We’ve seen some publications experience a resurgence with local focus. A lot of national and digital media has stayed general and feels distant. But local sources like Cola Today, Midlands Business Report, and Free Times Columbia are focusing on the local scene and local stories. Is that a strategy you can leverage?

We also see so much aging content online that there’s a chance for a media outlet to be good at persistent, curated content. Our show brings in resources, provides a kind of “round up” of the topic at hand. Could the F Suite make a play in that kind of curation?

Three years ago, this article asked what the future of publishing look like and got these predictions:

  • Platforms that aggregate content will thrive — like Facebook; the Medium platform is leveraging that as is LinkedIn Publishing
  • Advertising cannot be a sole revenue stream — digital ads especially are being blocked and ignored
  • Stories are being written for search engine optimization — getting ”found” is trumping getting the story told
  • Audio media (like podcasts) and luxury media (specialty magazines) will double down on their niche
  • Humans will still be needed to analyze the results of SEO and so-called “drone” journalism

Segment 3

Authors have new responsibilities beyond storytelling. For one, they must be knowledgeable about their subject matter, expert-level mostly. They should know how to build the story product and deliver the learning. Authors are business people, not just storytellers. They need to be thinking about market and product. It’s less romantic than our old ideas of authors helping us put events into context, expose feelings and behaviors, and elicit emotions and learning. Authors who aren’t read, aren’t making a difference.

So we have choices around how we write. What we write. And what we sell.

Some keys for authorpreneurs:

  • Creative control
  • Higher return on investment (publishers are reducing royalty payments)
  • Reader-driven content determining everything

Are we seeing a failed business model in the publishing industry? If so, what does that mean for periodicals like F Suite?

Last week we talked about market disruption. Here’s a reminder of ways to disrupt your market: Other general opportunities:

  • Freenium model — provide a service free-of-charge but put the upgrades behind a paywall; examples LinkedIn, Spotify
  • Subscription model — services offered into a split-payment model that keeps users engaged; examples Netflix, Amazon
  • Free offerings — the service being offered is not how the company monetizes, instead, it’s what they get from the users that pays their bills; examples Google and Facebook
  • Sharing economy — goods and services that traditionally can only be purchased, are made available for “rent”; example Air B&B
  • On-demand model — the value is in the mechanism that executes the build; no inventory risk; example CreateSpace via Amazon Publishing
  • Marketplace model — connects buyers and sellers on a single platform, earns revenue in transaction fees; examples eBay and etsy

Segment 4:

Some events to get ready for:

Tomorrow, 1 Million Cups welcome Same McGuckin from TCube Solutions, now Capgemini, for a “Made It” session. That’s at 9 a.m. at the Richland Library on Assembly Street.

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce hosts the Salute to Small Business matchmaker event tomorrow at the Columbia Convention Center. It’s a morning event. Register here.

May 10th the City of Columbia’s OBO hosting its Annual Small Business Week one-day conference at the Columbia Convention Center

May 30th the SMBCC’s Next Level Success event at the Brookland Baptist Conference Center.

Ready to support Start Something, Columbia! Call 803-569-8200 to talk about becoming a patron.

Start Something, Columbia! is lovingly supported by:

City of Columbia


Epic Life Coaching


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