Online Bookstore Ditches E-Books

Barnes& has stopped selling e-books.

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Online bookstore ditches e-books: Poor sales at Barnes& is setback for the technology -- "Customers using Microsoft's eBook reader have until 9 December to access downloads purchased from the store, while Adobe Reader customers have 90 days to retrieve any outstanding files. Meanwhile thousands of e-book titles were listed as unavailable."

Comment: Why don't people like to buy ebooks? Or should the question be why don't enough people want to buy the kinds of ebooks sold at B&N?

Does this mean ebooks are on the way out? Perhaps that is the case for certain types of documents, but there will always be people willing to buy an ebook. Looks like the "small" e-publisher still stands a chance of succeeding in niche e-book markets.

What types of ebooks are easy to sell? The convenient ones. In other words, the less secure types. No passwords, no encryption, no copy-protection.

And so goes the dilemma of authors and publishers -- copy-protect it and not enough people will buy. Make it easy to copy and folks will just pass it along. What's a publisher to do?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Give away your ebooks (preferably those with more than 300 pages). If it's any good, people will buy the printed version.

2. Use a smaller than average font size, preferably Times New Roman 10. People will prefer to print the file.

3. Publish the ebook in html format... but without certain key images/diagrams. People will buy the printed version (with complete diagrams) if they really need the info.

In other words, include ebooks in your marketing campaign. Or even in your election campaign? Hmmm... now there's a thought. ;-)

[ First posted on 09/10/2003 by Manuel Viloria ]

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