2021 NetGalley Member Survey, Part II

All About Audio

In Part I of our Member Survey overview, we saw that 49% of the nearly 10,000 respondents consider themselves to be Audiobook listeners. It was important to us to gain more knowledge about their listening preferences and habits, so we asked Audio-specific questions to those members who favor the format. We’re excited to share even more of what we learned!


Librarians, Educators and Reviewers are the biggest listeners of Audiobooks on NetGalley, though all member types show significant interest in the format! Once we narrowed down those members who consider themselves Audiobook listeners, we asked even more specific questions about their listening habits. The following charts include responses from only those members who indicated that they listen to Audiobooks.

Across all member types, most survey respondents listened to between 1 and 9 Audiobooks in the past year. But a significant portion (20.5% on average) indicated that they listened to 10-19 Audiobooks. Educators in particular fall into this range. As we saw in Part I of our Member Survey overview, ​​NetGalley members are voracious readers and listeners who consume multiple books per year, across formats.

Most members indicated that they listen to Audiobooks daily:

With only one exception, all member types listen to Audiobooks daily. Only Booksellers are slightly more likely to listen on a weekly basis instead.

Since NetGalley members read and listen across all formats, it was important to us to understand why someone might choose an Audiobook over the print or digital format. 58% of respondents explicitly said they choose Audiobooks because they are already a fan of the narrator. This is not surprising, as we’re seeing elevated profiles for narrators online, where they are building loyal followings on social media.

To escalate this growth, Audiobook publishers can strategically include prepub access as part of their marketing strategy, and coordinate even more closely with the marketing and publicity teams who are working on the other formats. This will ensure that important audio-specific info—like narrator or cast—are included in those efforts, and that prepub access is granted to NetGalley members who are likely to access and review both formats. This will help build more buzz and momentum for the Audiobook at on-sale, and it will empower narrators to build their own platforms and following—a similar process that authors have traditionally benefited from.

Did you know . . . Audiobooks on NetGalley currently generate a higher rate of return for Feedback when compared to Digital Review Copies. The Feedback rate for Audiobooks averages about 46%, compared to 33% for DRCs, since January 2021.

When we asked members why they love listening to Audiobooks, they told us that the audio format allows them to multitask. Nearly all of the top five reasons they listen to Audiobooks have to do with this broadest motive:

The top five activities that members participate in while listening to Audiobooks include:

So, where do these listeners discover Audiobooks?

NetGalley is a top source for Audiobook discovery for most members, with Librarians slightly favoring discovery within a library. We’ve only shown the top five responses for each member type in the chart above, but other sources include Libro.fm and Social Media Influencers.

Nearly all members selected Goodreads as their preferred social media platform for Audiobook discovery, with Instagram as a close second. The one exception was Media, who favor Instagram over Goodreads. Facebook is the third choice for all member types.

We also provided a write-in option to tell us specifically who their favorite narrators were, and over 400 individual narrators were mentioned, many of whom were frequently repeated by multiple members. Julia Whalen was named over 100 times! 

NetGalley is the top source for Audiobook discovery among survey respondents. On average, 64% indicated they discover Audiobooks on NetGalley.

Additionally, 74% of survey respondents said NetGalley Promotions influence their decision to request or download books and audiobooks! Did you know that Audio publishers can take advantage of any of the NetGalley Promotions found in our Media Kit? Explore our Audiobook-specific Recently Added Spotlights and seasonal Audiobook-specific Newsletters—both with special pricing!

We have been so thrilled to work with publishers to promote their Audiobooks. Since NetGalley introduced the audio format on our platform in 2020, over 45,000 members have expressed interest in Audiobooks within their NetGalley Profile and have submitted over 100,000 Feedback and Reviews.

These survey results reinforced how valuable NetGalley can be for Audiobook publishers, so we’re offering new clients a FREE 2-month subscription*—if you sign up by December 31, 2021. Existing clients can get FREE placement in our next Audiobook Newsletter on January 13, 2022 (a $500 value).

Email concierge [at] netgalley.com before the end of the year to take advantage of either offer!

For more information about the NetGalley community as a whole, in particular their habits with digital and/or print formats, please see Part I of our Member Survey overview.

*This free 2-month offer allows for up to 5 active audiobooks on NetGalley, a value of nearly $800. If you’re interested in adding more than 5 audiobooks, please let us know!

All data taken from NetGalley’s 2021 Member Survey (conducted from August 14 – 31, 2021), and/or from member stats and activity on the NetGalley.com platform as of September 2021.

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2021 NetGalley Member Survey, Part I

Over the past two years, NetGalley has recorded unprecedented growth. Since 2019, the NetGalley community has grown by 50%! With so many new members, we knew it was important to gain more knowledge about their reading preferences and habits to ensure we understand how and why they interact with books, whether on NetGalley or elsewhere.

This summer, we launched a survey and nearly 10,000 active NetGalley members in the U.S. answered our call. We’re excited to share what we learned!

49% of all survey respondents consider themselves audiobook listeners, and that’s still just a fraction of the over 45,000 members who have expressed interest in Audiobooks within their NetGalley Profile. Keep an eye out for more insights about Audiobook listeners in the coming weeks—we’ll have more to share about the audio-specific questions from this survey in Part II of our Member Survey overview! Keep an eye on your NetGalley publisher dashboard to be alerted about it!

While BookTok continues to turn backlist titles into bestsellers, at this moment TikTok is relatively low on our members’ social media priorities. For Booksellers, it was the 5th top social media platform (after Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). For Reviewers, Educators and Librarians it came in as 6th.  Although social media trends ebb and flow, if Bookstagram and BookTube are anything to go by we’re sure to see BookTok continue to gain traction among NetGalley members. We’ll be paying close attention to their habits in this space.

It’s probably no surprise that Goodreads is among the top platforms for talking about books, and Bookstagram continues to be a popular and powerful platform for NetGalley members. As you can see above, it is among the top social platforms for nearly all members. This is especially true for Audiobook discovery, which we’ll share more about in Part II of our Member Survey overview. 

When you are working on social campaigns for your books, be sure to include NetGalley in those plans! Customize the hashtags you’d like members to use when they’re talking about a book, and consider a Sponsored Social Package with shareable posts and interactive content. (See page 18 of our 2022 Media Kit.)

74% of survey respondents said NetGalley Promotions influence their decision to request or download books and audiobooks!


Perhaps no surprise, but in addition to posting reviews on Goodreads, NetGalley members also use that platform to discover new titles as well. Friend and peer recommendations remain high.

As a resource for discovering new books, Publishers remain high on the list for all member types! All of your efforts to invite members using the NetGalley widget and approving requests are working–we’ve seen an average of over 230,000 monthly approvals in 2021.

As you can see, even aside from NetGalley our community is very active in the bookish world. We know that NetGalley members are avid readers, and it was important to us to gain a greater understanding of their habits even outside of our own system. Demonstrated in the charts below, NetGalley members are definitely reading both print and digital.

NetGalley members are voracious readers–consuming multiple books per year, across formats. In addition to Print and Digital formats, Audiobooks continue to grow in popularity among our members. On average, 20.5% of survey respondents said they’ve listened to 10-19 Audiobooks in the past year. We’ll go into more detail about this in Part II of our Member Survey overview!

It’s clear that NetGalley members favor the digital format, but they are very driven to consume book content in any form and continue to read and purchase books beyond their activities on NetGalley. Remember to follow up with approved NetGalley members at the pub date to remind them to share their reviews, as well as offer them retail links to share with their audiences (or use themselves!).

Finally, here’s a look at the full, 650k-strong NetGalley.com member community today. We are proud to work with these highly engaged and supportive reviewers, educators, media, librarians, and booksellers. They’re here to help your books succeed!

650k NetGalley.com members as of November 2021

NetGalley.com Activity

257k unique users monthly
409k avg Requests each month for Books & Audiobooks
87% approved books are downloaded
82k avg Feedback each month for Books & Audiobooks

Part II of our Member Survey overview will be released soon, all about the NetGalley community’s Audiobook listening preferences. Keep an eye on your NetGalley publisher dashboard to be alerted about it!

All data taken from NetGalley’s 2021 Member Survey (conducted from August 14 – 31, 2021), and/or from member stats and activity on the NetGalley.com platform as of September 2021.


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Announcing NetGalley’s 2022 Promotions

View the 2022 Media Kit here!

Hundreds of publishers use our powerful platform to launch their frontlist and leverage their backlist. Whether your goal is to reach trade professionals and early influencers, generate reviews, run giveaways, collect pre-orders, advertise around the pub date, or connect directly with your audience—we have options for every budget, goal and type of book.

74% of members said NetGalley Promotions influence their decision to request or download books and audiobooks!*

These popular programs continue to deliver outstanding results while remaining at a competitive price—even while NetGalley has sustained record-breaking traffic over the past two years. NetGalley.com continues to average nearly 7 million pageviews each month, and our promotional programs are highly valued for their strong engagement rates.

Our dedicated team is committed to meeting the increased demand, so we’ve expanded our inventory for 2022—including brand-new offerings, too!

It is our sincere pleasure to be part of the success of your books, and we look forward to working with you on great campaigns in 2022.

*per August 2021 Member Survey with nearly 10,000 respondents

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Growth & Engagement in 2020

In many ways, 2020 is a year that we’re all ready to put in our rear-view mirrors. In spite of the challenges we have all faced, it’s been inspiring to be reminded of the resilience and creativity that imbues our publishing industry. From Big 5 publishers who suddenly found themselves without access to their warehouses, to independent authors who embarked on digital marketing for the first time, we at NetGalley are proud and thankful to be a trusted partner to so many.

Despite the global pandemic, it’s clear that readers continue to turn to books in all formats. NetGalley’s member community grew by 23% in the US (now over 550,000 members!) and 16% in the UK, where we’re on track to break 100k members in 2021. This growth equates to more eyes on your books, which results in even more early Feedback! We are thrilled to report a 30% increase in Feedback/Reviews when compared to last year. Across NetGalley.com and NetGalley.co.uk over 960k Feedback/Reviews were submitted for over 25,000 books and audiobooks.

30% increase in Feedback/Reviews across NetGalley.com and NetGalley.co.uk

NetGalley experienced record-breaking traffic and engagement in 2020, especially after the launch of the NetGalley Shelf app and Audiobooks. The NetGalley Shelf app is a simple and streamlined experience for members, making it easier than ever to access the books and audiobooks they’re approved for. In 2021, we will introduce streaming audio to ensure an even more seamless listening experience!

Take a look below for some of the astounding activity that books on NetGalley received throughout 2020. If you’re a NetGalley Advanced client, be sure to look at your own “Activity By Member Type” charts to see how your activity compares, and let us know how we can help you reach your most important audiences in 2021!

NetGalley.com
NetGalley.co.uk
Publishers’ approval rates are relatively similar across format, though Media Professionals may receive access to the DRC/ebook format more often than the audiobook.
The audiobook launch drove significant interest in the format, resulting in higher-than-average Feedback rates.

Publishers are approving requests from Librarians and Booksellers at a very high rate–over 90% of requests are approved. This may be because you can easily auto-approve ALA librarians and ABA booksellers from your Settings page. In 2020, these members alone left over 110k Feedback/Reviews!

We know how influential Librarians and Booksellers are, especially when they are nominating books for LibraryReads and Indie Next, in addition to making recommendations to their patrons and customers. If you’re looking for ways to connect with Librarians and Booksellers, consider our monthly Librarian Newsletters or ABA Digital White Box services.

It’s worth noting that the Reviewers on NetGalley have submitted nearly 380k Feedback/Reviews! Reviewers are the largest portion of our community, making the most requests–so even though the approval rate is a little lower than other member types, they are the most significant in terms of overall approvals and Feedback/Reviews. 

When approving requests, keep an eye out for members’ individual feedback ratio and remember that you can click through to see all of the reviews they’ve submitted on NetGalley. Here’s more about what you can see in members’ profiles.

Publishers’ approval rates in the UK are extremely similar across format.
UK librarians respond strongly to the audiobook format.

In the UK, even though approval rates across both the DRC and audiobook format are extremely similar, it’s clear that UK members (Librarians in particular) are responding very strongly to the audiobook format. Be sure that you are associating your DRC and audiobook formats when both are available on NetGalley! This will ensure that members can request the most relevant format for their interests, and is likely to result in a higher rate of return for Feedback/Reviews.

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A Record Breaking Summer at NetGalley

July was a record-breaking month here at NetGalley! With the launch of the NetGalley Shelf app and audiobooks, members have been engaging with content more than ever across the site. This July NetGalley.com saw a 47% increase in the number of sessions over last July, while NetGalley.co.uk saw an increase of over 62%. These sessions resulted in 8.4 million pageviews across both platforms!

NetGalley members are thrilled to be browsing audiobooks from audiobook publishers, and their excitement has spilled over into their reviews. Approved members have submitted over 14,000 Feedback and Reviews for audiobooks in July and August.

And it’s not just audio that’s benefitted! In the first two weeks after launch, we saw over 30,000 downloads of digital review copies in the NetGalley Shelf app. Now, two months in, we’re up to nearly 70,000 DRC downloads! Feedback and Reviews submitted for digital review copies has increased since the launch as well. Activity across the entire NetGalley platform continues to trend upward!

Audiobook publishers whose titles are on NetGalley should be sure to take advantage of our FREE promotion by filling out this form. Approximately 19,000 U.S. members have opted into these newsletters, and the first Audiobook Newsletter had an over 49% Open Rate with 11% CTR! Plus, don’t forget that you can also participate in any NetGalley promotions.

We are closely monitoring members’ experiences with the NetGalley Shelf app and are continuing to release updates to ensure the best reading and listening experience.

Despite this year’s global pandemic, it’s clear that readers continue to turn to books in all formats. It is our privilege to help publishers find the right audiences for their books.

If you would like more information about using NetGalley to promote digital review copies or audiobooks, please contact us here.


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Big Changes at NetGalley: Introducing the NetGalley Shelf App and Audiobooks

Today we are thrilled to celebrate the launch of two major enhancements to the NetGalley service in both the U.S. and U.K.: the NetGalley Shelf app and Audiobooks!

The NetGalley Shelf App 

The NetGalley Shelf app is our first mobile app, available for free on both iOS and Android devices. This app makes it easier than ever for NetGalley members to start reading or listening to books they’ve been approved to access. 

There are several reasons that we are introducing the NetGalley Shelf app right now: it provides members with a more simple and streamlined reading experience, as well as adds further support for various types of content (including highly illustrated books and audiobooks).

How It Works

After a member downloads the free NetGalley Shelf app from the Apple or Google Play Store, they sign in using the same login name and password as their account on the NetGalley website. Once they log in, the member is presented with their NetGalley Shelf (the books that publishers have approved them to access). As long as you have enabled the NetGalley Shelf app as a Reading Option in your publisher account, your books will automatically appear in approved members’ NetGalley Shelf app.

The NetGalley Shelf app presents members with a seamless reading experience. When publishers enable the NetGalley Shelf app, approved members will be able to access the digital review copy as a protected file, on up to 5 devices associated with their particular account. NetGalley tracks when the file was downloaded and to how many devices. If more than 5 devices associated with a particular member account attempt to access the file, the license is revoked entirely and it can no longer be accessed on any devices for that member account. Files cannot be printed or copied, and you can choose if the file will expire. To learn more about the DRM protection for files available via the NetGalley Shelf app, click here.

The NetGalley Shelf app is for NetGalley members to read and listen to approved books. Members will continue to discover, request,and provide Feedback for books on the NetGalley website. 

Audiobooks on NetGalley

NetGalley members have been excitedly anticipating the launch of full audiobooks. The sustained growth of the audiobook market over the past several years has led audiobook publishers to seek new ways to promote their books and increase discoverability of the format. NetGalley’s existing platform allows publishers to efficiently distribute review copies, and audiobook publishers can now benefit from the robust tools, reporting, and engaged community. 

“NetGalley has been helping publishers to build buzz, receive feedback and reviews, and discover early trends for their digital review copies for over 10 years.,” says Kristina Radke, VP, Business Growth and Engagement. “We’re thrilled to broaden the service to support audiobook publishers. We believe early feedback about new books (no matter the format) is good for all books, and we’re honored to be the place where over 550k reviewers, booksellers, librarians, educators and media discover and review.”

Considering the unique timeline for audiobook production and shorter lead-time for pre-pub promotion, we are excited to offer tools and reports that can immediately expand the work audio publishers are already doing to promote their titles (both frontlist and backlist). It’s our privilege to begin this partnership with audio publishers and continue to evolve to meet their growing needs.

The NetGalley Shelf app is the exclusive way for members to listen to audiobooks made available on NetGalley. Audiobook files are downloaded within the NetGalley Shelf app before playback begins so members will be able to continue listening even if their device goes offline.

We proudly welcome the audiobook community to NetGalley! 

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Mark your Calendars: February 2020

Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities 

In February, the publishing industry really gets into the swing of the new year. We’ve caught up on our inboxes, recovered from our holiday breaks, and have hit the ground running! At NetGalley Insights, we’re looking forward to learning more about production and accessibility (including audio production!), marketing, and overall industry innovation. 

If you are hosting or attending an event in March or after, email insights@netgalley.com so we can feature it.

US


Book Manufacturing Institute: Book Manufacturing Mastered

Conference – Manufacturing

Feb. 10-12, NYC

“The conference, hosted by the Book Manufacturing Institute, will bring together publishers, manufacturers, printers, binders and other pieces of the value chain to help educate those involved in making the printed book. This conference is for anyone involved in the creation of the printed book. Publishers, manufacturers, binders, distributors and others will learn the foundations as well as current trends in book manufacturing. Session Topics will cover the following areas: Pre-press and workflow, paper and other materials, print processes (Offset, Toner, Inkjet), finishing and binding, distribution and logistics, as well as other trends and issues facing the book industry today.“

BISG: Innovations in On-Demand Book Publishing

Panel Program – Technology

Feb. 10, NYC

“The marketplace for short-run and on-demand printing solutions has expanded significantly in the past several years. This program will address where the industry is, how it may evolve, and what you can do now to take advantage of this important manufacturing option. This event is co-located with the Book Manufacturers’ Institute’s “Book Manufacturing Mastered” event, for which a separate registration is available.”

NYUSPS Media Talk: Passionate Readers, Powerful Publishing: Reaching Niche Audiences in New Ways

Panel Program – Authors & Audiences

Feb. 12, NYC 

“Please join us to hear four bestselling authors talk about the importance of genre fiction and connecting with readers through unique vantage points. Whether you love reading mysteries, romance, dystopian fiction, or sci-fi, or simply enjoy exploring literary styles and categories, this will be a night to remember. Learn how Sarah MacLean, described as the “queen of historical romance,” links gender and cultural studies in works translated into more than 20 languages. Find out how current events inspire Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls, Beasts Made of Night) to write science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Get the inside story on how Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series and Carve the Mark duology, weaves her cautionary tales. Hear internationally acclaimed mystery writer Karin Slaughter discuss her latest bestseller, The Last Widow. Moderator Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review and all book coverage at the paper, will guide the conversation into exciting new directions.”

Kids Comics Meetup NYC: How to Start a Kids Graphic Novel Publishing Company

Panel Presentation – Children’s 

Feb. 12, NYC

“Join professionals in kids comics for this presentation and informal networking event. We will start by chatting with entrepreneur Manuel Godoy about how he started publishing company Black Sands Entertainment from scratch, and has grown it to more than 25,000 books sold, 10,0000 customers, and $500K in gross revenue in less than three years. Then we’ll hang out and talk comics together while enjoying Resobox’s tea and Japanese snacks.Anyone who works in children’s graphic novel publishing or promotion is invited to attend, including artists, writers, editors, librarians, agents, book designers, booksellers, reviewers, etc.”

BIGNY: Publishing Romance 

Panel Presentation – Editorial

Feb. 18, NYC

“Redefining what love looks like. A panel discussion featuring Adriana Herrera, Author and President of NYC chapter of Romance Writers of America, Cindy Hwang, VP and Editorial Director of Berkley Publishing Group, Kim Lionetti, Senior Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary Agency, Kristine Swartz, Senior Editor at Berkley Publishing Group.”

Pub West

Conference – Independent Publishers

Feb. 20-22, Portland, OR

“The theme for this year’s conference is “Publishing in the Clouds: Practical Solutions for Big Ideas” PubWest 2020 will feature keynotes by Charlotte Abbott, founder and director of FutureProof Content Strategy; Laura Brief, CEO of 826 National; Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, project lead, Panorama Project; and Andrew Proctor, executive director, Literary. Pre-conference intensive sessions include (now included free for PubWest members with conference registration): “From Start-Up to a Sustainable Business” and “The Art of Literary Publishing.” The PubWest 2020 Conference will include: Intensive sessions with leading industry experts, lively panel discussions that present new perspectives, informative peer-to-peer seminars, inspiring keynote speakers, fun and valuable social and networking opportunities.” 

BISG: ONIX Training 2020

Workshop – Metadata

Feb. 21-26, NYC

“ONIX Pricing Workshop, ONIX Essentials Training, Using ONIX to Better Market Books, Thema Workshop, and Advanced ONIX training”

UK


BookMachine: BookMachine Unplugged – Talking Production: The New Tools for Modern Book Production

Panel Program – Production

Feb. 12, London

“Most book publishers are still producing books in the same way they did five or even ten years ago. Anyone starting a new publishing company in 2020 could do well to challenge how things are done by not simply accepting ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.’ But what can established publishers learn from this fresh approach? Ken Jones invites us to rethink how we work by looking at some of the new and emerging tools and services that can help book publishers today. From cloud storage and better communication to ideas and new methods for document creation; from page layout to image manipulation and illustration though to proofing and commenting. Even sharing of advance copies, exporting and publishing can be refreshed.”

BookMachine: Understanding Accessibility in EPUB

Workshop – Production & Accessibility

Feb. 25, London

Currently less than 8% of the world’s books ever make it into accessible formats. Making our books, ebooks and other content accessible is crucial, both from an ethical standpoint and as a legal requirement. This presentation is aimed at digital publishing professionals wanting to improve their publishing practices using EPUB in 2020. The training plan: Adding accessibility within InDesign, extra Recommend tools (Sigil, Brackets, GreenLight), EPUB types, ARIA Roles & semantics, image descriptions and alt text -Structure, TOCs, Page Lists, Landmarks and supplemental lists, language declarations and shifts, adding Schema.org Metadata, checking accessibility with ACE, modern ebook reading software for accessible EPUB content, Stop Press! Also to include a look at the brand new format recommended by W3C for Audiobooks. 

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Introducing Audio Excerpts on NetGalley!

“Promoting all book formats is good for all books”

The audio boom is finally coming to NetGalley! 

We are thrilled to announce that NetGalley is now supporting Audio Excerpts. 

Right now, publishers can add Audio Excerpts for any books listed on the site, regardless of publication date. 

“This is just the first step in our audio strategy,” says Kristina Radke, VP Business Growth and Engagement. “By summer 2020 NetGalley will also support full audiobook files so publishers can share their audiobooks with important publicity contacts, reach new, influential audiences who provide feedback and reviews, as well as track and report on access granted, feedback received, and trends in activity. Promoting all book formats is good for all books, and now audio publishers will have the same powerful tools that their print and digital counterparts have had for years.”

NetGalley members can browse for Audio Excerpts in the catalog and listen to them through an on-site, streaming player. As they listen to the Excerpt, they are then prompted to submit early feedback by responding to questions about their experiences. Publishers receive these aggregated responses, plus number of listens and average listening time, as part of the reports that already exist in their account. 

Members are just as excited as we are; they’ve been anxiously awaiting audio on NetGalley as much as publishers! Before launching Audio Excerpts, we asked our members via social media about their audio listening habits. Some of them hoped and guessed that we were going to be supporting audio soon. And once we announced the launch of Audio Excerpts on NetGalley, they weren’t shy when sharing their excitement

NetGalley clients can add their Audio Excerpts during this free trial period (until May 15, 2020). Just click “Upload/Preview Files” on any Title Details page. 

According to the Audio Publishers Association’s 2018 annual survey, audio is continuing to grow. And we’re happy to support that growth on NetGalley.

Image: Audio Publishers Association 2018 annual survey, illustration by Findaway

To see the new marketing programs designed to highlight audio on NetGalley, check out the 2020 Media Kit.

We look forward to promoting even more books, in every format!

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Penguin Random House is Bringing Back the Book Fair

Remember the pure, bookish joy of a middle school book fair at PRH’s
Book Fair for Grownups

“We took a playful approach with this event format to inject a bit of that joy into all our lives and to celebrate book nerds everywhere”

On Saturday, November 23, Penguin Random House is bringing bookish nostalgia to life in a Book Fair for Grownups. Attendees will be able to relive their school book fairs in the 80s and 90s, browse books curated by the PRH team, take pictures in a school photo booth, peruse retro crafts by Glue, and see special appearances from PRH authors.

Penguin Random House warns that attendees might experience “Severe middle school flashbacks! Tables stacked with books! Pencils! Mr. Sketch Markers! Erasers! Cubbies! Pins! Patches! Spin art! Snap bracelets! Custom Interactive Mad Libs!”

We heard from members of the cross-departmental team that created this Book Fair about how this event was born, how they are working with partners and sponsors like Belletrist, Urban Outfitters, and Out of Print, and how they are using it to connect with their readers. 

Thanks to Alison Rich & Rachael Perriello, PRH Author Platforms, and Carly Gorga, RH Events & Partnerships, who gave us an inside look at the creation of this event.

What’s the origin story behind the Book Fair for Grownups? 

The idea of Book Fair for Grownups has been floating around Penguin Random House for a while because for so many of us, the book fairs of our youth are what first got us excited about reading (not to mention all of the super cool pencils, markers, Trapper Keepers, etc). By the time this summer rolled around, we believed we had enough excitement among our staff that the time was right to make it happen for the fall.    

There’s been a lot of collaboration across various PRH teams including author platforms, consumer marketing, sales, events, and our publishing divisions to bring this event to life, which has been really fun.

Who is the audience for the Book Fair?

There is no one archetypal “student” at Book Fair. Whether you are a millennial, a mom, or a millennial mom – if you grew up loving book fairs, watching Reading Rainbow, and getting lost in the stacks, this event is for you.

Why this particular era of Book Fair? What are you hoping it evokes for the attendees?

“It made sense to us to try to capture some of that passion offline with an experiential format that would bring our childhood love of books to life, embrace the bookish lifestyle, and create a sense of community around our books and authors.” 

We focused on an 80s / 90s-era book fair because that’s when a lot of us were in school, and also because there’s a lot of nostalgia for that time. That’s definitely the feeling we’re hoping to evoke for guests – the magic of being back in school, shopping for books and school supplies, trading stickers, tie-dying t-shirts, wearing scrunchies, doing Mad Libs. Life gets complicated as you get older and we want to bring people back to a lighter, less complicated time in their lives . . . if only for an afternoon.

How does this event fit into PRH’s larger strategy for reader outreach?

Penguin Random House’s mission is to foster a universal passion for reading by partnering with authors to create stories that inform, entertain, and inspire, and connect them with readers everywhere. Given that reading is such a passion point, it made sense to us to try to capture some of that passion offline with an experiential format that would bring our childhood love of books to life, embrace the bookish lifestyle, and create a sense of community around our books and authors.  

It’s unique for a publisher to have public-facing events like this. Most consumers tend to think about buying books from bookstores or online retailers. How are you hoping this event will influence consumer perception of PRH?

Our booksellers and online retailers are invaluable partners. Consumer-facing events like Book Fair (among many others hosted by various divisions of Penguin Random House) are simply one of the many ways we can connect directly with readers: To meet them. To talk to them. To hear directly from them what they’re loving, what they’re reading, and how we can better serve them. It’s important for us as a business to know our audience, and events like Comic Cons, book festivals, and now Book Fair make that possible. Books serve so many purposes – they start dialogues, bridge gaps, connect individuals and communities, transform lives – but they also bring people so much joy. We took a playful approach with this event format to inject a bit of that joy into all our lives and to celebrate book nerds everywhere.

How did you decide what kinds of activities or giveaway items the audience would be most interested in?

“It’s important for us as a business to know our audience, and events like Comic Cons, book festivals, and now Book Fair make that possible.”

This was really a collaborative effort from our team. We have a Book Fair brain trust of folks from across Penguin Random House, and we did a lot of brainstorming, reminiscing and laughing, and that’s where we came up with most of the ideas and activations you’ll find at Book Fair. We also worked with a host of amazing partners and sponsors including Office Depot, Urban Outfitters, Glue, Tiger Beat, Mrs. Grossman’s, Lip Smacker and our colleagues at Out of Print.

Tell us about the partnership with Belletrist for this event. Why did you choose to work with them and what does that partnership look like?

Belletrist has been a fantastic partner for PRH since its inception. When we realized we both had the same instinct to bring readers back to the book fairs of their youth we immediately knew we had to partner with them on it. They’ve had a hand in inspiration, in bringing in sponsors, in promotion, and sheer enthusiasm.

What kinds of books can we expect to see at the Book Fair?

Because this event is for those 21 and over, there will be a wide assortment of books for grownups for sale (including YA!). The title selection was curated by Abbe Wright from Read it Forward. Some tables of our titles you can expect to see are “Brand Spankin’ New,” “Munchies,” “Heartthrobs,” and “TBT,” to name a few.

Can you give us a hint about any of the authors who will be there?

Principal John Hodgman will be joined by Deb Perelman, Adam J. Kurtz, Mya Spalter, Summer Rayne Oakes, and others. But you’ll have to come see for yourself to find out more!


Tickets are available for the Book Fair for Grownups here.

*Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

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Mark your calendars: November 2019

Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities 

There is always a wide variety of programming available to help publishing professionals connect with one another, grow their skill-sets, and stay abreast of changing trends and emerging strategies. On NetGalley Insights, we share the events we’re most excited for on a monthly basis. 

This November, there are quite a few conferences, mostly focused on specific regions or niche areas of interest. Plus, NetGalley Insights Associate Editor Nina Berman will be making her way to speak at the IPNE Annual Conference. If you’ll be attending, be sure to say hello! And in the UK, Futurebook and Day of Code will have audiences thinking about 2020 and beyond. 

If you know of an upcoming event for December or after, email insights@netgalley.com so we can feature it.

US


IPNE 8th Annual IPNE Independent Publishers and Authors Conference

Conference – Strategy

Nov. 1 – 3, Marlboro, MA

“Our program includes experts and leaders from across the industry, sure to educate and inspire. This year’s program will focus on industry direction and trends, sales and marketing, and organic growth.”

ECPA: PubU

Conference – Strategy

Nov. 5 – 6, Nashville

“Training, Connecting, and Inspiring the Christian Publishing Professional”

The Charleston Library Conference

Conference – Library Acquisitions

Nov. 5 – 8, Charleston

“The Charleston Conference is an informal annual gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC, in November, to discuss issues of importance to them all. It is designed to be a collegial gathering of individuals from different areas who discuss the same issues in a non-threatening, friendly, and highly informal environment. Presidents of companies discuss and debate with library directors, acquisitions librarians, reference librarians, serials librarians, collection development librarians, and many, many others. Begun in 1980, the Charleston Conference has grown from 20 participants in 1980 to thousands in 2018.”

Women’s Media Group: How to Sell Your Product, Your Brand, or Yourself on LinkedIn

Workshop – Social Media

Nov. 12, NYC

“WMG is pleased to have Afiya Addison the Education Lead, The B2B Institute @ LinkedIn, present all you ever wanted to know about LinkedIn, arguably the most import platform for your professional life. You’ll learn: How to optimize your personal profile, Best practices for brand pages, The art of engaging content, Effective advertising solutions, What LinkedIn analytics can teach you about your campaign.”

BIGNY: Program Night: Designers’ Roundtable

Panel Program – Design

Nov. 19, NYC

Moderated by Anne Twomey of Celadon Books and She Designs Books, a panel of New York Book Show award–winning designers will discuss what goes into a book’s design. Presenters include adam b. bohannon, NYU Press and adam b. bohannon design; Nicole Caputo, Catapult and Counterpoint Press and She Designs Books; Richard Ljoenes, Richard Ljoenes Design; Jen Wang, Clarkson Potter. The event will be held at Penguin Random House, located at 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Program begins at 6:30 P.M.; a professional networking event will precede at 5:15 P.M.

Penguin Random House: Book Fair For Adults

Book Fair

Nov. 23, NYC

“Back in the days of recess, snap bracelets, and Dunkaroos, life was simpler, wasn’t it? When your biggest fear was getting detention, and your best days were when you had the luxury to spend an hour picking out which book(s) to read next? We miss that, too—so we decided to bring it back for an afternoon.

Join us on Saturday, November 23rd for Penguin Random House’s first-ever Book Fair. All afternoon, we’ll have 60-minute sessions where you can browse the latest and greatest books and merchandise, participate in throwback activities, and get schooled by our beloved authors.”

UK


BookMachine: Can Design Thinking Transform Your Publishing Strategy 

Panel Program – Strategy

Nov. 13, London 

“Designers as creative thinkers are powerful problem solvers. But traditionally, colleagues in finance, editorial, sales or marketing are promoted to the top publishing jobs. What is lost without the transformative effect design thinking can add to strategy and leadership? How can design thinking enhance management decisions? What can publishing learn from our own and other sectors’ creative leaders?

Join our panel for an intriguing discussion on how design thinking can transform a business. Hear from an organisational behaviour expert on the theory, as well as a Creative-turned-board-member on the practice. And get inspired by the insights from a Creative Director who will show how design thinking really does make a huge difference.”

Futurebook: Day of Code, 2019

Workshop – Technology

Nov. 22, London

“As one of 40 bookselling and publishing delegates from across the book trade, supported by ~15 coaches, you will build a real website on your laptop using free technology showcasing your own selection of book data provided by Nielsen. You will publish your website to the web and can continue to develop it after the workshop. The results will be showcased the following Monday at FutureBook 19, to inspire and motivate your peers. This exclusive course, created especially for FutureBook 19 by publishers who code, is included in the price of your FutureBook 2019 ticket. But you must apply separately after buying your FutureBook ticket: space is strictly limited to 40 delegates. “

The Bookseller: Futurebook

Conference – Technology

Nov. 25, London

“For 10 years FutureBook, The Bookseller’s annual publishing conference, has tracked, interrogated, and challenged the way the international book business has embraced (and rebuffed) the digital content revolution. Today the event remains the stand-out gathering for smart thinkers, creatives and innovators across books, with FutureBook Live 2019 offering the most ambitious and far-reaching programme so far, with executives from Pearson, Hachette, Waterstones, Bonnier, Springer Nature, Faber, Booker, the BBC, Penguin Random House, Blackwell, and Lonely Planet, confirmed as speakers.

The conference will once again examine the burgeoning audiobook and podcast markets, the academic and educational sectors, and will also tackle the big themes dominating the book business right now, including the globalisation of platforms and audience, the threats to freedom to publish, the cultural importance of books and renewal of physical bookselling, the rise and fall (and rise) of female leaders, and the challenges (or opportunities) posed to reading by other entertainment sectors.

The prestigious FutureBook Awards will return, including BookTech Company of the Year, Podcast of the Year, and the FutureBook Person of the Year, who will once again deliver the closing keynote.”

BookMachine: Facebook Ads Training for Publishers

Workshop – Marketing

Nov. 26, London

“BookMachine Works is running a training session for publishing professionals who need a deeper Understanding of Facebook Ads, either for managing a team/agency; or for setting up your own campaigns. Understanding Facebook Ad Options, Building Facebook Advertising Content, Measuring your Facebook Ads Success.”

Global


6th Annual Sharjah International Book Fair

Book Fair

Oct. 30 – Nov. 9, Sharjah, UAE

“Featuring more than 400 literary events and a stellar line-up of authors, this annual book fair is one of the world’s largest. Returning for the 37th year, the Sharjah International Book Fair features 11 days of writing workshops, poetry readings, book signings, cookery demonstrations and children’s activities. The prestigious fair attracts more than two million book lovers and 1,420 publishing houses to the Expo Centre, with great discounts on books available in 210 languages. Entry is free and the fair is open daily from 10am-10pm (from 4pm on Fridays).” -via Visit Sharjah

6th Sharjah International Library Conference

Conference – Librarians

Nov. 5 -7, Sharjah, UAE

“The American Library Association (ALA) provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is one of the largest book fairs in the world, the most prestigious in the Arab world and home to the most exciting literary event in the region. ‘For the love of the written word’ is its inspiration, passion and reason for being.”

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