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Books are Our Brand? Wish they weren’t . . .

This is an interesting situation.

In the past month we’ve seen Amazon’s cloud music business offer the top album of 2011 (Born This Way) for only 99 cents (while paying Lady Gaga her full royalties). This is a very interesting, and ultimately cheap way to acquire a lot of customers and compete with iTunes.

We see Netflix offering unlimited movie downloads for just $8 a month too – disrupting any hope for any large scale DVD movie sales and rentals (and borrowers too). Rental stores are disappearing fast. My local bookstore sells a much smaller selection of DVD’s lately too.

Now what would happen if someone tried these strategies with books?

Could any company offer most e-books for an inexpensive monthly subscription? It’s already being tested in Spain. Amazon and Google are well positioned to try this. Will Bookish try it too? Could they use the upcoming Harry Potter e-books as loss leaders? I’m interested that Lendle will pay Kindle owners to end their books (How To Make Money By Lending Your Kindle Books)

Indeed Amazon has just announced at BEA they are entering the core book publishing business in a big way – going into competition wih their major suppliers.

Check out this model for a ‘children’s’ book:

How Viral PDFs Of A Naughty Bedtime Book Exploded The Old Publishing Model

Read the posting and check out the book.

“The multi-billion-dollar question, though, is this: When does piracy work to a publisher’s benefit, and when does it work to its detriment? If Go the F**k to Sleep weren’t a children’s book of sorts, would parents be so eager for hard-copy versions? Or if it didn’t have its irresistible illustrations? Books with artwork have a tactile, archival appeal lacking in the latest Grisham potboiler, say.

Neil Gaiman and other prominent authors have gone on the record as essentially supporting the piracy of their own work as a way of building a fanbase. But to what extent did Gaiman’s pre-existing fame act as the necessary ignition to the fire of profitable piracy?

This is fertile ground for research. Publishers should scrutinize the mechanics of e-book piracy, replaying success stories like this one over and over again in slow motion, in an effort to see just what combination of variables caused the pirate’s cutlass to land directly into a giant sack of doubloons.”

Anyway, the market is right for a perfect storm of disruptors for the book marketplace – publishing, sales and borrowing. Of course most boks are free in these new models. Then again, at $5/gallon, getting to the library isn’t free either – unless the value of the experience exceeds the cost.

I heard a silly comment about libraries that “Books are our Brand!” Well, that’s going to be a problem. I sure wish it was ‘answers’, ‘questions’, ‘service’, ‘help’, assistance’, ‘learning’, ‘community’, ‘entertainment’, whatever . . . just not something so easy to disrupt.

Stephen

Posted on: June 8, 2011, 7:30 am Category: Uncategorized

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