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We've been meaning to look into this possibility for some time. Thank you for giving us such a clear roadmap. Publishers could certainly use this feature to push sample material for forthcoming books, providing opt-in via eMail and social marketing.
There are a couple of points worth emphasizing. Amazon is not really in the bookselling business; they're in the customer acquisition business. And the customer "value proposition" they tend to focus on is low price and ease of ordering--though there are others, like bunding of media, etc.. Anyone wanting to acquire book buying customers should run, not walk, away from anything resembling Amazon's value propositions. One example you highlight is the strategy of offering exclusive content--books or digital products like digital shorts that are not available on Amazon. That's one, but designing value propositions that suite your particular consumer profile is, well, particular. It's more about a way of thinking, a strategic orientation, that's required. One other point, which is encouraging for would-be B2C booksellers, is that Amazon has approximately 50% of the market share of all books sold in the U.S. Why is this encouraging? It means that half the market is not fully on board with Amazon's value propositions. One question is to ask--for your particular audience--is why? If you can discover what works for your particular audience you can focus you marketing outreach effectively, competing with Amazon by NOT competing with Amazon.
"Content concierge" is a great term for what's needed but I don't see why you divorce that from the dynamics of "discovery." A concierge is a "smart filter," able to discern quality as it suites individual tastes and interests. The discovery piece of this , that is, finding a content concierge that performs this function well as befits your individual tastes and interests.
Another way of looking at this is that publishers have a choice: Drop DRM and leverage that as part of an exclusive value proposition for to drive direct to consumer sales OR they can wait for an universal e-reader app to dilute the value of that strategy.
Thanks, Joe. I get it. Very interesting and a great conversation to have right now, as eBook platform lock-in and DRM is really weaking publishers already weak position with both eCommerce sites and self-published authors.
Worth taking a look at #pubbrand via Twitter.
Bob, though I'm a former book publisher, I don't think I have an ax to grind here. I'm just wanting to offer a check on some rhetoric I hear coming from all fronts regarding the value that traditional publishers are or aren't bringing to the table. I'm not going to try to defend publishers for charging for self-publishing services--though there are quite a lot of folks making money charging authors for services with the hope of achieving book sales. I do completely agree that the role of traditonal publishers (or anyone that helps bring a book to market) should be measured by results, that is, sales. That said, isn't it true that an author's likihood of seeing sales is dramatically increased if their work is published by a traditional publisher rather then self-published or via an "indie" publisher?
Bob, while I'm not sure of the merits of debating the navel gazing habits of the Big 5/6 publishers. They (and other publishers) have been more active that you give credit in attempting to either launch new brands (e.g. by Random House) or piggyback on 3rd party brands (e.g, also Random House). Simon & Schuster has similar initiatives as does Harper/Avon and their are more in the works. While, I'm doubtfull these particular efforts by Big 5/6 publishers will be especially successful (for various reasons), we should at least give them credit for trying, eh?
Doesn't this assume that the reader who adds value/content for resale can sell more than one copy? I agree that publishers, if they got into eBook retailing, could partner with authors to promote value-added editions of eBooks, share proceeds with authors--if that's what you're envisioning here.
A might add a couple of things about publisher brands and direct-to-consumer sales: (1) It may be a mistake to try to retrofit a B2B brand for consumers, and (2) if you don't have a strong customer brand you're much better off building one from scratch. Why? Because you begin with the consumer in mind so your traction in getting brand identification and, ultimately, customers is much more efficient.
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Mar 5, 2013