Use eBooks to get your materials into the hand of busy execs
eBook sales surpassed the volume of print books sold in all trade categories for the first time in February. eBooks are an example of how technology can completely disrupt an industry. This revolution has not only transformed the publishing industry, but also opened the door for ground-breaking marketing solutions for businesses.
The (brief) history of eBook publishers
Companies that embraced the eBook revolution, like Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook) and even Apple (iPad) and Google (Android devices), have done very well. Companies that were too slow to recognize and adapt to the revolution, like Borders for example, have not been so lucky. Perhaps Borders made a mistake to outsource e-commerce operations to Amazon before eBooks became popular…
There has been another market that greatly benefitted from the eBook revolution: the hobbyist author who can now publish an eBook for a fraction of the cost that it used to take and can compete with the large publishing houses.
What does the future look like?
I firmly believe that the increase in digital books sales is primarily due to the book aficionados, who, like my colleague Oliver Breme, migrated quickly to eBook readers (Amazon’s Kindle in his case).
I believe this because much like seeing the benefits of high-speed internet access versus dial up, once you’ve gone to the other side, there’s no going back. Since I travel quite a bit for business, and engage in political theater with co-workers (no joke!), I have a fair amount of time to read and a lot of reading to do. Carrying around either a hardcover book or paperback book is something that only adds to my “travel workout,” not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But with my Barnes and Noble Nook, I’ve really been able to reduce the clutter on my desk and around my living room because I also read magazines digitally rather than leave half-read issues in my laptop bag or sitting on the furniture. Because the Nook offers specials and free Wi-Fi at all Barnes and Noble stores, I frequently spend time at B&N stores while traveling to get a newspaper, see what’s free and access the latest book releases. There’s no way I can go back to my non-digital ways now, and Barnes & Noble is one of the big beneficiaries.
On an eBook reader, books and magazines are slightly cheaper than physical version, you can share an eBook with a friend on a similar device, and you can take along your own content to read, like analyst reports, RFPs or any other word/PDF documents. The fact that you don’t have to be one of the professional publishing houses or a famous author to put content onto the e-readers democratizes the publishing space for the benefit of all.
How to leverage for business?
Joe Chernov of Eloqua came up with a good way to take advantage of the flexibility and popularity of eBook readers. Chernov recently spoke at a Forrester Technology Management Council member meeting and told our small group of marketing executives about the series of eBooks Eloqua created to promote their products. The concept is brilliant – Eloqua creates a piece of marketing material that they package as an eBook (PDF in this case) and their target market of executives can read the entire eBook in the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of coffee.
By putting marketing material into a small package and making it easy for busy executives to take along, Eloqua is using this new e-reader technology to get their marketing materials straight into the hands of their prospects. Chernov says that this series is directly responsible for $2.5 million in increased sales revenue and had an influence in an additional $3.7 million in revenue. Those are numbers that no one can ignore.
I hope this inspires you to a look at your marketing efforts and analyze your materials for potential eBook success. If you are thinking about creating an eBook series or want to learn more about eBooks, I encourage you to invest in a Kindle or Nook. The future of eBooks is here – and you should take advantage.
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