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Old 11-29-2006, 02:06 PM   #31
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marketing model

Steve,

I've been thinking a lot lately about the same kind of questions that you're facing i.e. how to best market books (in our case ebooks).
I mean it's easy to set up a webshop but if it's small, then... well it's just too small, whereas if it's big (like mobipocket.com, connect.com etc.) then there's just too many books there to get noticed.

I don't have good answer yet, but here are some ideas:

"bookstore browsing"

The customer can start reading the book online while browsing the ebook store.
OSoft is doing this with the DOTreader as they have timed keys in their DRM solution, meaning the customer can read the book for free until a given time elapses.

Another variation would be some sort of pay-per-page micropayment scheme e.g. 1 cent per page
I'd say that the money spent on browsing would be credited back to the purchase.
e.g. if the user read the first 100 pages then it cost him 1 dollar, so when he decides to buy the book that 1 dollar would be deducted from the price.

This scheme could be combined with some loyalty point system, e.g. get 20$ free that you can use to browse any book you like (= read 2000 pages)



bundles

The idea is coming from the "playlists" of the music world where they would include songs of less known artists among major hits.
In the case of ebooks a list woud be just too much to read IMO but we can do bundles.
e.g. in your case, Sci-Fi
the Connect store is running a special where you can but the Asimov Foundation trillogy for some low price.
They could bundle one of your books for free with the purchase, so people would know you and would come and buy the rest of your books.


multi-level marketing

The bookstore would work out some sort of affiliate program where people would be motivated to refer other people to become affiliates (see Amway, Quixtar etc.)
As long as it's not pyramid i.e. you're not paying or getting paid for enrollment it's OK.
Affiliates could be book clubs, and "payment" could be some discount rate.

I think the good thing with ebooks is that you have the whole pie -- because no publisher took 90% -- so you can give out slices of that for marketers.

Just thinking out loud...
there's nothing new under the sun

regards

Sic.
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:30 PM   #32
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That's it! Mobile read has to become an ebook reseller!
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Old 11-29-2006, 04:51 PM   #33
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Interestingly enough, I just noticed on the Connect website that they're offering free excerpts. Hang on, something weird's going on. I'll figure it out in a minute...

Ah, got it, I had connect.ebooks.com instead of ebooks.connect.com -- never-mind, I was being a bone-head.


Anyway, eBooks.com is offering free excerpts, but I'm sure that's not news to anyone but me.

Last edited by NatCh; 11-29-2006 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 11-29-2006, 10:56 PM   #34
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Many good ideas... I always thought free excerpts was a great idea, that was the first thing I committed to. Bob R mentioned bundling, too... that's something I'm thinking about now. But that, too, depends on people getting to the site.

Affiliate programs work similarly to review-linking, where you link the review received back to the reviewing site (which links to you in their review), though again, this is a passive example. A more active example would be, I suppose, both sites having promotional deals/codes for the other.

Then, we're into paying for ad banners, or buying ad space at public venues, in magazines, etc, which can cost thousands.

All of this makes it worthwhile to at least look at Sony's package, and evaluate whether or not the downsides (because there certainly will be some) will be worth the upside of international exposure for only $200.

Sony? Are you listening? Call me!
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Old 11-30-2006, 03:20 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
All of this makes it worthwhile to at least look at Sony's package, and evaluate whether or not the downsides (because there certainly will be some) will be worth the upside of international exposure for only $200.

Sony? Are you listening? Call me!
Unfortunately at the moment the exposure is really only "US only", because Sony only permit people from the US to buy books from the site. There are ways around it, but really have to jump through hoops to do so.
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:03 AM   #36
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From what all I've read Sony is basically setting themselves up as an online distributor. The company which you pay the cash to to format your book is taking the place as the typesetter/printer.

That positioning has a lot of bonuses for Sony. Primarily they are themselves not at fault for any formatting problems in the book but can go back to another company to get things fixed. They are also not in the typical role of a publisher, in that they do not/are not providing proofreading and editing services. It also benefits them because they are not setting themselves up in direct competition with their current largest customers, primarily publishing houses. I wouldn't be suprised to find that large publishing houses are allowed to do their own in house formating of the ebooks. As these companies would have incentives to do it correctly, that independent authors and small vanity type publishers would not necessarily have.

Plus setting themselves up as a distribution point, but not themselves taking the charge of properly formatting the books means that Sony currently has a very low overhead to distribute. They only have to provide the bandwidth, the server space, and process the credit card transactions. All of these are things that sony already provides, for other services. Such things as Sony Style, and Everquest, Final Fantasy, etc.

Providing this service to independent authors or authors that would use a vanity press to publish on paper, only makes sense. It also only makes sense to force these independents to go through a specificed firm to format their books. Not only does Sony then have a single point that they can go back to if their are formatting issues in the ebook that customers are complaining about, but it also sets an entry point that some independent authors may not be willing to cross because of the percieved quality of their work.

Jeb
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:05 PM   #37
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Jeb, I pretty much agree with your last paragraph... Sony gives independents a shot, and covers their butt, at the same time. Put that way, it makes perfect sense.

I still wonder, though, if the proofing/formatting service will end up being the "filter" of content, deciding what's good enough and what isn't. I have a hard time believing Sony would want a perfectly-proofed story that was still badly-written garbage on their store. Who decides?

(And could that be the reason I have not had a return contact from Sony? Has someone looked at my site already, decided they don't like my stories, and crossed me off some list? Sure, that's paranoid, they may just be busy, they may have issues with me selling my books on my own, or my no-DRM choices, or my politics... okay, that's even more paranoid... but without hearing from them, my mind is free to run rampant over this! See my point?)
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:37 PM   #38
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that's another case of e-Babel

See, SONY shouldn't have to do anything
You should be able to upload your book in PDF or their own format and they should just store it and pipe it through a DRM mechanism when somebody wants to purchase it.
That of course would mean finally documenting their "open" (not really) BBeB format...

it's weird that they're not responding to you though, if they recieve their 200$ anyways and they don't get a cut from the sales then why should quality matter to them?
btw the Connect store is crap anyways

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Old 12-06-2006, 09:08 AM   #39
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But they still have to filter out, in some way, the possible liability creating works that exist. Do the companies that translate furnish such service? Do they have access to proof readers? Are there enough reading critics hired to sift through what garbage there could be?
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Old 12-06-2006, 10:27 AM   #40
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If they were to allow anyone to put whatever up on their site, it will cost Sony more money in storage and bandwidth. So, there is a hard cost with opening the gates. As a reader, I'd like to see them do that, of course. Is it good business sense? I doubt it.

Also: So many companies like Sony are doing whatever they can to protect their distribution (music, video books) channels that allowing others to control that aspect probably feels pretty icky to them. And, yes, 'icky' is a bonafide, real economic indicator!
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Old 12-06-2006, 01:00 PM   #41
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i don't think it's the cost, maybe it's "icky"

re: bandwidth and storage
I don't think storage is a factor. The entire Project Gutenberg catalog fits on a DVD. Bandwidth... that's something you need to spend upon anyways.

"icky" is probably the reason

how to verify that the uploaded material is original, nopw that's a good question. I guess there are accepted practices to do that in the publishing world.
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:47 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic
re: bandwidth and storage
I don't think storage is a factor. The entire Project Gutenberg catalog fits on a DVD. Bandwidth... that's something you need to spend upon anyways.

"icky" is probably the reason

how to verify that the uploaded material is original, nopw that's a good question. I guess there are accepted practices to do that in the publishing world.
It is still a lot more easy to test a book and see if the material is original, than doing the same thing with videos or music. I know that youtube, since google bought them have been working on such a system for videos. The technology is already here for e-books, the thoughest part is that you need a HUGE database of books to make such a test.
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:02 PM   #43
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...the thoughest part is that you need a HUGE database of books to make such a test.
So, if the pubs will just digitize their holdings, they'll be safer from plagiarism. Hey wait, Google is working on that too! If the Pubs don't get of the dime, Google may just replace them entirely.
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:29 PM   #44
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I lost you Natch...

Isn't Google using some kind of digital watermarking?
So a movie studio etc. would watermark their products and then content uploaded to YouTube gets checked if it contains any watermarks.

does anybody know how a publisher verifies that a transcript is original?
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:59 PM   #45
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So, if the pubs will just digitize their holdings, they'll be safer from plagiarism. Hey wait, Google is working on that too! If the Pubs don't get of the dime, Google may just replace them entirely.
Well what you need is to ocr these images and get the text. Finding similarities between 2 texts is something really easy for a company such as google (that's part of how they can search the web).
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