October 9, 2001 Volume 1 Issue 20
E-Books ... a revolution?
The World Wide Web (WWW) can truly be called "revolutionary".
Although it took the Internet two decades to become "public", it took the WWW portion of it only half a dozen years to shake the communication world to the core. How we get our message to others has changed more since the middle 1990's then in any similar time frame in history. Affected by the web, and the allied products and services spun from it.
Within the last dozen months some big name authors took advantage of this fact and launched a book on the Web. Called E-books. You undoubtedly heard about Stephen King making a new writing from him available.
Full blown publishing via the computer is "different". It affects everyone who buys at a newsstand, through a bricks and mortar store, online. Obviously, it has great impact on the paper industry, transportation, the retail trade, libraries, everyone involved with teaching - and more.
A several hundred page book online, and a regular issue magazine of 100, 200, 300 pages online is not the same as a regular E-zine (like this one), a newsletter, a dozen page "white paper", a regular E-mail communication of several pages.
Well, what does E-publishing mean to you, to me, to the readers of the world? And equally important, the communicators? Also like you and me. Let me quote a pair of headlines from well respected USA nationally distributed publications;
"ENDANGERED SPECIES. E-publishing upstarts threaten an industry in peril." UPSIDE Magazine
"Reading the future. E-books are ready to revolutionize publishing, but they don't mean the end of the printed word." Access Magazine
These quotes came in the same month. It sounds as if this pair of computer oriented organizations, both with active web sites and a regular paper publication, don't agree.
During the same month, I see this news in a business E-zine I receive;
"Sure to light a fire under digitally sluggish traditional publishers, online bookseller Barnesandnoble.com announce the creation of an electronic publishing imprint, complete with unprecedented royalties and a contract with a best-selling author.
"... the Digital Books Group at Barnesandnoble.com say the multifaceted design of the venture promises to address a variety of shortcomings suffered in early e-publishing experiments."
So, even a major distributor/seller decides there is a change coming. They elect to jump into the game. Wonder what traditional publishers think of this? I'd bet they aren't "traditionally" happy!
So be it. My experience with book and magazine publishers is less than thrilling. As a group they are horrid communicators. As part of the 5th Estate, they seem to be stuffed shirts and overly arrogant.
Of course, this is far too general a statement to apply to any specific individual. Individuals are wonderful - many companies are not. Still, overall publishing is a tough group to talk with. Sure, they are in an aggressive business, exceptionally competitive. Maybe that hinders their common sense and good manners.
Why do I make these strong statements? Well, based on my writing and publishing ... i.e., my experience, I've learned if I have an idea that I think is worthy, I've got a hard sell. Not that that is all bad. I'm okay with "yes". I'm okay with "no". I'm okay with "call me Friday". I'm okay with "write me 700 words" or "I'm going to edit this section out". I'm NOT okay with no response. My mother taught me differently.
Which, because I do write, lead me to became interested in E-publishing. If I can get my material, and that of my clients, out and available to the right marketplace without needing to deal with a body that can and does act totally independent of marketing and sales, that is good.
Of the two quotes above, the second is right. No way paper and ink is going away. Not in your grandchildrens grandchildrens lifetime. In fact, maybe never. Why? Same reason the computer world of the '60's did not lead us to the paperless society. As we were promised. We weren't ready then. We aren't ready now. And may never be. In my opinion, the day of the paperless office is the same day of the paperless bathroom - it is not going to happen!
Yet, there will be change. For example, within the last 30 days Blockbuster announced that immediately they are giving over 25% of their store shelf space to DVD's. It's good thing they know they are in the home entertainment business - not the video business.
Another change; Forrester Research projects sales of digital books to reach US/$7.8 billion, nearly 18% of all book publishing, by the very close year of 2005. So "yes", there will be a change. And the publishers know it.
One good thing about change is a book never need go out of print. On a disk you can hold in your hand most of what's in your local or business library ... so it's available to you at any time. For students, a dictionary on a disk sounds like a good idea. For an attorney, access to cases.
The encyclopedia business had to change - and it has. Putting some out of business, opening doors for others. An immediate benefit is their online files are updated daily - as new material becomes available. Instead of at best once a year.
Still, why do I feel books you hold in your hand are here to stay? To begin, it's safe to say that at least once today you printed an E-mail. Because you wanted a hard copy. You needed to really study it. You wanted to file it. You decided to share it. You had to think about it some more. Right? Right! So you printed it.
USA Today did an article titled Why paper is still better than plastic. They try to get clever with the sub-head; Hard to get a read on these e-books. The bottom line in their report is the devices to distribute are here ... readability is still questionable. It's just too difficult to download and read online with software from Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft or others. Or with any of the current special devices from RCA/Gemstar or Franklin.
There's a good chance you will not print this E-zine article - unless you want to save it. It's short enough to read online. Not so with anything much more than 1200-1500 words. Or about 4 regular size Europe A-4 or USA 8 ½ x 11 pages. Then it's just easier to have in hand.
My book Power Direct Marketing (Power Direct Marketing: The Book) Is online at www.rayjutkins.com/pdm/. WebMaster Bill Blinn put it up ... in 122 files. Sure, you could down load all 300+ pages - if you had nothing to do one Saturday afternoon. It's easier - and cheaper! - to buy it.
Lightning Source, a Tennessee based digital printer, will produce one copy of one book for you, if that's what you want. Their business is busy almost 'round the clock - much of their work for businesses needing short runs of specialty manuals. Documents that change frequently, with technology and discover advances.
Yet, to me, the key word here is printer. Even IT people want - and feel they need - paper.
So, although it may be more economical, and faster, to offer your book or magazine or jumbo size newsletter online - know the marketplace is still hot for paper. The Georgia Pacific's, Wausau's, Fox River's and Champion's of the world are not going away anytime soon. Most likely, never!
Every E-zine issue will include a quote from my favorite philosopher ... Anonymous.
Here is the choice for this week;
"Maybe if we did a better job of listening, history wouldn't have to repeat itself."
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
The Baker's Dozen
A visitor to web site MarketingWithRay.com - Sebastien Di Meglio - tells the story of The Baker's Dozen.
Here it is in his words;
"A long time ago cooks and chefs would visit the baker to buy pastries, cakes and bread for the castle where they worked.
"To keep the cooks and chefs happy the baker would always give them an extra pastry or bread or cake. This was to keep the chefs and cooks happy."
Thank you, Sebastien, for your story.
You know my web site collection is about marketing, direct marketing and sales. And just as an "extra" was offered by the baker to keep the customer happy and to build repeat business, the Baker's Dozen Collection is offered to you.
The collection comes13 times a year. And as you could guess, each article has 13 ideas. Yes, you get an "extra", too.
It's time to visit one of the years "hot" topics ... "Click" here and EnJoy! 13 Real! Reasons How Repetition Will Build Your Reputation ... http://www.rayjutkins.com/baker/baker18.htm.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.