03-29-2010, 04:29 PM
I have a meeting next week with the president of one of the big ebook stores to talk about their new reader hardware. They indicated they are quite open to spending some time on more general 'state of the industry' type stuff as well and I don't want to waste the opportunity. I have been asked to send ahead some questions to help 'frame' the interview. I really want to represent what problems readers have been having and how a smart retailer might step up, solve those problems and gain that business. As a customer, I just want to be able to buy the books and I am happy for someone to step up and sell them to me.
So, what questions should I send ahead? What would you ask if you had an hour or so with the big boss of your favourite ebook store?
03-29-2010, 05:55 PM
Hmm, have to think. Started to go into "features I'd want in an ebook store," but that's not the same as questions.
Problems: Geo restrictions, DRM: these need to be *clearly marked* and *explained*.
Software & hardware compatibility needs to be clear, too.
Customer service/tech support need to understand how ebooks work; need to be *quickly* responsive to issues like "right title; wrong contents in book."
How will your store deal with a constantly-growing number of types of ebook readers, whose owners may not understand filetypes and only want to know "can I read this book on my device?"
Refund policy--do you have one? How does it work?
Do you have a way of contacting publishers to get them to fix badly-formatted or wrong-content ebooks?
(If they're dealing with the new agency model): How will your store stay competitive, if you can't offer lower prices for many books?
How do you deal with international customers? Do you have a way to hide content that a particular customer can't buy, and if not, is it at least clearly marked?
How effective is your search engine? Your browsing ability?
What features make your store better for its customers than the other ebook stores?
03-29-2010, 08:30 PM
What can you do to make more content available (back catalogues etc.)?
What can you do to standardise formats?
What can you do to maximise availability? (e.g. avoiding geo restrictions)
What can you do to keep the price below print?
Perhaps these are all in the publisher's domain, but I'd ask them anyway. All that a lot of people want, perhaps the majority, is for ebooks to match paper in availability and price.