Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Case for Publishing Direct to Consumers

As publishers produce ebooks for consumption of mobile devices they are increasingly learning they can also by-pass Amazon and Apple and sell directly to their customers.  John Oakes at OR Books has produced a very nice article for Publisher's Weekly.

"At OR Books, which specializes in nonreturnable, prepaid sales straight to the consumer, we’ve found that, with some effort and increasing success, it’s possible to persuade readers to sidestep the still-young tradition of heading straight to Amazon for purchases. Such a prospect needn’t spell disaster for physical stores, either. Counterintuitively, our growing experience with direct sales has led us to re-examine our bookstore connections."

What comes through John's experience: fostering a community of readers online can stimulate physical books sales through bookstores.  Creating "buzz" and engaging consumers directly is coming of age.

As John says, "Amazon is not the last word in bookselling".  At Bitmenu, we are seeing more PDFs and ePUB files distributed by publishers who have become increasingly sophisticated in engaging their readers.

UPDATE:  In Sweden comes some very compelling examples of publishers going direct.  In addition, this very clear new requirement for success:

But it’s a high that comes with a low. Because the great benefits of selling directly to the readers also demands a new mindset. D2C is perfect for the long tail economy, which grow both bigger and longer, but will always struggle with discoverability as its inherent nemesis. To stand out in the vast and growing world of digital content, you need to leave the shadows of traditional publishing and take a big, brave step out in the light. You need to build a relationship with your readers, be present where they are, and make it easy for them to understand what you do and to tell others about it. In other words: you need to build a brand.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Social DRM Makes News

Most buyers of digital media purchase through a very select few outlets:  Apple's iTunes and Amazon being two of them.  These huge sites have cornered such a large share of the market that content creators and rights holders are looking for new ways to reach their markets.

One aspect of the clout of these retailers is through "locking" purchased files to specific readers or hardware.  What if a creator has developed innovative materials that can't be read with Kindle e-readers?  Currently, these can't be sold through Amazon.

While file locking mechanisms are touted as a way to prevent piracy, publishers are increasingly questioning their value.

They point to the recent success of the Harry Potter ebooks that are now sold exclusively through the Pottermore Store.  We wrote an earlier article about the shift away from retailers and the use of social drm methods.

Now, the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has set about to define a standard for social drm.

..."there’s a growing recognition among publishers that DRM has aspects that work against their interests, including its lack of user-friendliness and eBook distributors’ use of the technology to ‘lock in’ consumers.”

We see a trend developing here.  It might take time, but limiting formats purely for use with readers provided by certain retailers limits development, creativity and new forms of expression.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Distributing Documents at Events

Location-based document distribution is an exciting opportunity for use at classes, workshops and conferences.  The above video describes one approach but is limited to free documents only.

Bitmenu links enhance mobile distribution for value added materials.  Organizers can upload and price videos or presentations for distribution through a simple offer URL.

With a Bitmenu URL in hand, a post to the event's Facebook group page or to a twitter hashtag enables anyone with a mobile device to make the purchase without signing up for a service.

Attendees receive their documents post-purchase.

We welcome anyone who is using doccaster to include Bitmenu paid links as well.  How are you distributing your event materials?