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Folio Fans: The anatomy of a unique publisher

This is a guest post by Toby Hartwell, the former Managing Director of The Folio Society. I love his description of the success of The Folio Society.

It may not come as a surprise to those of you who are aware of The Folio Society that this bastion of traditional hard back publishing is also home to some very interesting fans. They are core to the continued survival of Folio and rejoice in the relationship that they have with the publisher. Folio is probably alone as a book publisher in having such a strong direct relationship with its customers at the heart of its business model. Over the years it has engendered the perfect breeding ground for passionate and enthusiastic followers of its brand. For those unfamiliar with The Folio Society, the company has, for the last 67 years been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of some of the world’s greatest books. In a sector where roughly 95% of book sales are at prices below £20, some 95% of Folio books are priced at above £20 and many of them are hefty three figure prices. Arguably, if you look at the publishing sector as a whole all Folio buyers are already book super fans in some way.

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Love your freeloaders, love your fans–my TED talk is live

Last November, I gave a talk at TEDx Brum.

It is the condensed version of what I believe about the future of art and the future of business. I talk about how piracy is not the issue, competition is. How we need to harness the web to give stuff away, but we need to use that stuff to earn the right to talk to people again. That we need to enable superfans, by letting those who love what we do spend lots of money on things they really value.

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‘Sorry, Martin Mills, the future of music is through innovation, not government protection’

This guest post by me recently ran on Musically.

“Martin Mills is a successful entrepreneur who has built the Beggar’s Group into a successful global music label with international stars on his roster. That’s why it is so depressing to see him using his Midem stage to press for governments to resist the tide of change in the consumption and distribution of music. Continue Reading