The web as portal to printed page
Despite the shrinking market for both printed books and e-books, online content provider MThai decided to take a risk by introducing Book.MThai.com, specifically designed for printed books.
"The market for printed books is dropping [in demand and popularity], but we found it has a huge opportunity there," said Kanyapat Suksamarn, MThai assistant vice-president, head of publishing and online content, adding that promoting printed books via the right channel and targeting the right audience is an important matter.
Book.MThai.com, the latest section on the website www.MThai.com, aims to report news and information of the local and global book market, as well as creative content related to the world of books. Audiences can learn all about new content from every publisher in Thailand.
Kanyapat noted that e-book sales have continued to slip during the last couple of years. This happens even with big e-book platforms, like Ookbee. Surprisingly, many readers have turned back to printed versions.
MThai therefore launched book.mthai.com to serve as an online channel for every publisher. At present, there are four publishers -- including Horo life publishing, Maxx Publishing, Her Publishing and Move Publishing -- using this platform to promote their products.
In addition to news associated with printed books, there is "Editor Talk", an interview section with writers of new releases.
"Readers should have the benefits of previewing new books, and that's our objective in introducing this new book section," she said.
On the website, readers can also learn about monthly best-sellers whose data is collected from over 1,000 branches of Se-Ed, B2S and Naiin book stores.
Also there are sections for rare books, old books and book reviews.
MThai sees around 5-6 million views per month and the web has a system tracking what kind of content is preferred by readers.
"We select interesting books, digest them and present them as infographics, another modern form catering to readers of all ages," said Kanyapat.
She added that at the initial stage, MThai will test the market feedback from groups of writers and through fans of those writers.
It needs to focus on the number of views at the initial stage, which takes some three months, and then the company will discuss with publishers, having the internet link to publishers. "If we get good feedback and have a certain number of readers, then we will start working on activities with participating publishers."
The goal, according to Kanyapat, is that online users will then be more interested in the printed books. "And then the online and offline worlds will merge," she concluded.