Cracking the Nonfiction Code

Market Duffy-Columbia
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Fiction represents the vast majority of sales in ebooks, with non-fiction maintaining a significantly smaller share of sales than in the “print-and-mortar” world. In addition, nonfiction titles present greater challenges to publishers than a traditional fiction title. Instead translating text on a page, publishers are dealing with sidebars, illustrations, maps, charts, and content traditionally formatted to fit the page of a book, rather than to reflow to devices as disparate in size as a Blackberry screen or a desktop.

In a rapid-fire, data-rich presentation, Michael Tamblyn will examine the causes of fiction’s early predominance, the device trends that have created the conditions for non-fiction success, the successful strategies Kobo sees publishers employ to drive nonfiction sales, and how the worlds of digital non-fiction and print non-fiction are diverging faster than their fiction counterparts.

With nearly three years of selling digital books to customers in every country in the world, on every platform possible, Kobo brings a wealth of data from direct-to-consumer sales that attendees literally can’t find anywhere else—the other players aren’t sharing this kind of information, and many of them simply lack the insight on the range of devices or the length of sales data that Kobo can access.

Drawn from Kobo’s over there years of internation nonfiction ebook sales data, Tamblyn will use hard numbers to answer the questions:

  • Do you sell different non-fiction on an eInk reader than on a tablet?
  • What were the significant sales spikes for nonfiction titles so far? Are there more on the horizon?
  • How publishers have effectively driven nonfiction sales
  • The pitfalls any publisher should avoid when converting nonfiction
  • Are there any titles that are not worth converting to ebooks?
Photo of Michael Tamblyn

Michael Tamblyn


Michael Tamblyn is Executive Vice President, Content, Sales and Merchandising at Kobo, Inc. He is responsible for sales, publisher and industry relations, content acquisition, and the merchandising experience across all of Kobo’s web and mobile services. He co-founded Canada’s first online bookstore, which was purchased by Indigo Books & Music in 1998, where he served as vice president of online operations. Most recently, Tamblyn was the founding CEO of the supply chain agency BookNet Canada. He also works as an adjunct professor in publishing, sat as a board member of the Book Industry Study Group and currently sits on the board of directors of House of Anansi Press, Canada’s most prestigious literary publisher.

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

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