Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

Sales and marketing decisions

If your marketing team still develops separate plans for ‘marketing’ and ’emarketing’ then you have a lot of work to do. Marketing products online is an integrated part of any marketing campaign. However, if your marketing team already promotes your print books online and is comfortable doing so, there is very little different about marketing ebooks.

The most important difference is that consumers can buy and receive ebooks immediately. The impulse-driven, convenience purchase of an ebook is a much more important factor in selling ebooks than in selling print. (The success of the Kindle is attributed largely to a user’s ability to add books to it within seconds, browsing the Amazon store on the device and paying from a credit card already registered with Amazon.)

The other difference is that you have to work harder to cultivate or please the curators of content online. Curators guide people to good content, and in a world of over-abundance, consumers will depend on them more and more. In the print world, curators are organisations like Exclusive Books, the Sunday Times, your book club, Oprah. On the Internet, there is some overlap, but important curators include Google (in its algorithms that attach value to search results for sites and for books), Twitter (trends), your social networks (your Facebook friends’ comments, somewhat moderated by Facebook’s algorithms), and influential bloggers.

Pricing models

Ebook pricing is contentious. Consumers expect prices to be lower than print books, largely because ebooks have long been a clearly inferior product to print. If you want to change that price expectation, you have to make ebooks clearly as valuable as print, just in different ways. … Read more

Partners and findability

Integration, integration, integration. The web is a web: a network of information that can travel in any direction. It is not a collection of pipes. What does this mean? It means that buyers and sellers can meet anywhere, at any intersection, and your job as a publisher is to have a hot dog stand at every one. In the print world, this would mean having supply agreements with thousands of individual retailers. On the web, all you need is to be linkable, findable by the curators that count. Those intersections could include Google Books, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, iBooks, Scribd, and others, as well as your own website, whose value is determined largely by its Google ranking. In web-speak, discoverability is everything. … Read more

Sales and delivery processes

Actual sales processes will vary from partner to partner. Where you have any control over the process or its design, the important thing is to make it so easy to buy your books that your customers hardly notice the process. … Read more

Arthur Attwell 16 April 2010
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