By now, we’re sure you’ve heard about All Lit Up, the new discovery and sales website from the Literary Press Group that features over 6,000 titles from more than 40 of LPG’s member publishers, as well as original content. Here at BookNet, we’re proud to have contributed to the metadata end of the project, feeding in publisher-supplied bibliographic data via our BiblioShare aggregation system.
We spoke to Julia Horel, Project Manager for All Lit Up, about the new site.
BNC: We’re seeing a trend in publishers selling direct to consumers, which All Lit Up is facilitating for LPG member publishers. What are the benefits you see for small publishers in selling direct?
Julia Horel: There are a few major benefits to selling direct to customers, the most obvious of which is forming a direct relationship with readers who have an interest in our publishers’ books, which creates opportunities for the readers to discover and buy more books in the future.
But the major impetus for launching this site was to help fill a growing gap in our readers’ communities as we continue to see independent brick-and-mortar bookstores—long-time champions of Canadian literary books—closing across the country over the years. Merchandising at major online retailers does not facilitate discovery of our publishers’ books.
We know there are many dedicated readers of Canadian literature who have trouble discovering the books they want to read. All Lit Up now exists for those readers and for those who currently dabble in Canadian lit and might delve deeper if discovery opportunities are given to them.
What is your favourite feature of the All Lit Up site?
Definitely the blog! We’ve been posting editorial content on the LPG blog for over a year now, but including new editorial content on the All Lit Up blog gives our publishers and their writers a chance to really connect with readers on a site that is specifically designed to help lit lovers discover and buy Canadian literary books.
Reading catalogue copy on a sales site is one thing, but it’s more exciting and compelling to read an interview with an author or a piece about how an independent Canadian publisher takes a book from start to finish.
The site includes a number of neat features, including “look-inside” previews of some titles, and the option to sign on as a site member. What happens if you become a member?
We’re still working on implementing all the benefits of signing up as a member! More features will be rolled out as we launch and in the following weeks. Aside from having access to their purchase and download histories, members will have the opportunity to create custom book lists, rate books and save favourites.
I happen to know that you are as big of a metadata geek as we are here at BookNet… which is really saying something! Can you tell me how you used publisher-supplied metadata for All Lit Up?
All Lit Up has provided us with a unique opportunity to gain access to metadata through our partnership with BookNet, and moreover to customize which data elements we’d like to showcase on our site. Designing your own site gives you lots of control over which elements to use, and there has been a lot of trial and error, addition and subtraction.
It’s also provided an opportunity for participating publishers to examine their data in the context of a new site, and to make tweaks and adjustments that have immediate effect on what potential customers will see. Any extra avenue for publishers to learn how their data works out in the world is an opportunity for data improvement.
Agreed! Our last question is about the actual process of putting together the site. Now that you’ve been through the process, do you have any advice for small publishers who are thinking of selling direct?
Setting up an e-commerce site is a big project, but it’s very manageable if you have great tools and great people to work with. I can’t say enough good things about our partners! I think the most important step is to take stock of your needs before determining how to proceed. Do you want to sell both print and ebooks? Which digital formats do you want to support? Will you apply DRM? Which territories will you sell in? How do you intend to fulfill print orders? Do you want the store to integrate into your existing website, or are you seeking a complete solution that includes a rebuild of your website? Once you know where you stand on these types of issues, you can seek out solutions that meet your needs and start to compare them.
Want to learn more about the project, or go shopping for your next CanLit treasure? Visit the All Lit Up site at https://alllitup.ca