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Old 09-09-2010, 02:34 PM   #13
Elfwreck
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Posts: 5,140
Karma: 23571382
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SF Bay Area, California, USA
Device: Clié; PRS-505; EZR Pocket Pro, PRS-600, Kobo Mini
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenifer.ezread View Post
The new site has great navigation for book browsing, a better looking layout than even Kobo's, and tons of fun features to come. More staff reviews, interviews, and book recommendations are on the way.
Forget reviews, interviews & recs. People don't visit a store to see its rec lists. They visit because they can find what they want--you need a good *search engine.*

Get someone working on metadata for your ebooks--titles, authors, keywords, prices, date originally published, genre, filesize/page count, filetypes, series-or-not, and so on. Make all those searchable somehow; let people use the site to find "sci-fi books originally published between 1985 and 1995, under $10" and you'll have a feature that *nobody* else offers. Let them filter *out* unwanted results... "give me sci-fi but not erotica" and filter *in* what they do want "give me sci-fi and historical"--and you'll sell a lot more books.

Quote:
As far as prices, we already know. We beat the prices on Books on Board in shocking numbers, but Amazon is still hurting us.
Then pitch that you have the lowest-price ePubs, or whatever the relevant fact is.

Quote:
The publishing industry, I can promise, is really complex and back-stabby at the moment.
We know that. Oooh, we know that. And we don't hold it against small companies trying to set up competition for the monolithic mega-corps like Amazon that can afford to run at a loss for years in an attempt to drive out other companies.

But:
1) Don't make claims that are easily checkable as not-true, and
2) Figure out what you can offer *instead* of lower prices, and pitch that service *hard.*

Maybe offer sample bundles--15 sample chapters from books of genre-of-your-choice, all wrapped up in 1 file so you don't have to download & delete them separately. (Could someone read that, then go buy from Amazon? Sure. But they can read Baen samples & download them from Fifth Imperium, and yet Baen continues to sell ebooks.)

Maybe offer a great search engine. Maybe offer personalized layout of the bookstore, so people can view only the things they care about. (If I could get FW to *never* show me DRM'd books, I'd buy more there.) Maybe make the site accessible--let it work with screen readers, with javascript turned off, with all sorts of browsers. Maybe connect to articles about your ebook philosophies.

You don't have to pretend not to be out to make money. Baen is very up-front about "here's our e-ARC, for which we intend to fleece you for $15 *on top* of the final $6 for the book. Please, pay us for access to the unfinished, typo-laden, glitchy-prose version, and pay us again for the final version!"-- and it works. Be *honest* about how you're trying to make money, and the people who want those services will buy, and those who don't, won't be warning their friends about a scam.

Quote:
We are negotiating to try and work directly with publishers and bypass our pricey wholesaler, who is essentially charging us paperback prices for eBooks.
You cannot, reasonably, claim to have "lowest prices" when you're selling many books *above* the recommended list price:

http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823231195
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823229574
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823230358
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=2370002733809
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780982219911
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=2370002720809
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780978000646

Either drop the "ends in .99" rule, or drop prices to the next lowest dollar value, because saying "list price is $5, but we'll sell it to you for $6!" is not going to win customers. It doesn't matter how many books are sold under list price; customers who notice even one at higher than list are going to feel that the store is out to cheat them.

(I don't feel the store is out to cheat me. I do think it's more interested in its formulas than my business. Which is irrelevant, because I don't buy DRM, and if there are non-DRM'd books, they're not marked.)

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However, I'd still pick our indie selection over Amazon's any day.
For indie, I shop Smashwords & Fictionwise. Can you beat FW's indie selection & prices? If not, why should I shop there--FW not only has good prices, it has several formats and no DRM.
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