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OTHER ITA SITES:
Bookstore Books Don't Always Make Hot Selling E-books
I write e-books for a living.
It's my bread and butter. Right now I'm on a lovely summer holiday... in a country other than my own... courtesy of the $49,613 just one of my e-books generated in a span of three months.
But let the truth be known - I despise reading the darn things on the computer. Okay perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. I don't like reading 'certain' e-books on the computer.
And once I give you my readers perspective, you'll see why most bookstore books turned e-books flop in their digital format.
Okay, a couple of years ago I bought my first Palm Pilot. Neato little device. And the biggest selling point - for me at least - was that I could load it up with all the e-books I wanted.
A funny thing happened though.
I jumped onto the Palm web site, and downloaded an e-book that I'd been wanting to read. What joy to discover that: #1) I would save a couple of dollars by not purchasing the print copy. And #2) I could satiate my 'immediate gratification' bug and begin reading it right away.
So that night I started reading the e-book on my Palm Pilot. I think I got to page 11 before I stopped. And then I never went back.
Now jump ahead to early 2006 when I purchased my second Palm Pilot.
Once again I returned to the Palm e-bookstore watering hole. I picked up not one, but three new titles.
"Newer, better Palm Pilot!" I rationalized. "I'll REALLY read those e-books now."
It's now August 2006, and I've used my Palm Pilot as an iPod substitute, a telephone book, a mini laptop, and as a convenient place to store my doodles. But I've yet to read any of those e-books that I've downloaded. Not the first one. And not the last three.
With that said, why am I such an open advocate 'for' e-books.
Because digital delivery really is a magnificent tool when you combine it with the right type of data.
In my opinion, fiction isn't an ideal match for digital delivery. That's why Amazon's e-book section is minuscule shadow of their print book offerings.
If fiction e-books were a smokin' hot commodity, Amazon would've been buried up to their eyeballs in them a loooong time ago.
But they're not. Their involvement is somewhat limited. Things that make you go "Hmmmm."
Most non-fiction isn't suited for digital delivery either. For example, would you really want to read a biography on your laptop - for pleasure? Probably not.
The Content Strategy That Truly Fits The Technology
So you know what doesn't work. Pleasure e-books - fiction and the such - are still a novelty item right now. Who knows if they'll ever catch on as a mainstay to book lovers.
But the $64,000 question is, what does work?
Giving buyers information that they really need NOW.
It's a simple concept.
Steve has a sinus infection that's making his head feel like it's a one ton anvil. Steve cannot afford the rounds of antibiotics his doctor has recommended. (Steve lives in the US, so this is completely understandable.)
So Steve goes online to seek out alternative treatments. He finds an e-book that promises natural sinus infection cures. While Steve cannot afford the $300 antibiotics, he can swing $19.95 for the e-book.
Aha! This is where the immediate gratification of an e-book becomes important.
Our friend Steve has a clear and definite reason for "needing" that information now. He is desperate to have a very uncomfortable problem solved. And he doesn't mind staring at a screen to read it. The e-book format makes absolute sense here.
The moral of the story is this... if you want to make real money selling e-books online, choose content that buyers are desperate for. They have to be hungry and rabid for the information. In clear and outward pain. Then put that content into e-book format. Stir with some targeted advertising, and watch the money do a conga line into your bank account.
The key in e-book marketing is to make the technology work for you, not against you.
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