Tuesday, April 28, 2009

eMarketing Books

The world of digital marketing of books is currently a world of experimentation and lots of dots but not many joined up. We have seen; widgets in all shapes and sizes, colours; compendium web sites offering that extra content and context; the digital galley and review copy; digital inspection copies in education and academia; the digital catalogue and the emergence of the US BookDROP standards. The question is whether the dots are to be joined, or are merely scattered like corn in the wind?

Last week we read that the Bookseller has launched a new book video site, Bookbox. It is to provide a repository for publishers to present their author and book videos to a trade-wide audience and for the trade to pull these down for reuse. The business model isn’t clear but we would question why the Bookseller and why video? Why not VNU/Neilson and tied to the bibliographic and marketing feeds? In these days when the Bookseller’s content is getting somewhat lighter it is questionable whether spending on Bookbox is wise.com.

Yesterday the trade spent more marketing money promoting to the trade than it spent promoting to the reader. Full page spreads in the trade magazines may look nice, may have raised retail awareness but today that is changing and creating consumer demand is seen by some as more important that creating retail demand.

So we look towards those who have lead the bibliographic way – the wholesalers. Marketing materials are exploding but who gets it into the channel and to consumer and are the two requirements exclusive? Videos, widgets, podcasts, first chapters, web links are all now part of the extended marketing family but finding them, rendering them consistently and valuing their contribution appears a little challenge. Viral marketing is growing and becoming easier for all and it is different to direct marketing but is the technology to achieve both the same or different?

So the big questions are what is emarketing and how do we as an industry exploit the wealth of materials available in an audited and consistent manner to promote both digital and physical books. The one thing we are fairy confident about is that there isn’t a standard’s or solution silver bullet. Today and tomorrow we will have to deal with multiple format options, look and feel and navigation options. This may be acceptable at the basic level, but it will be a shame to loose the opportunity, where there is a real waste saving and also where process benefits clearly exist.

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