Is the Book Industry Dying?

Like the fundamentals of great marketing, the book industry is built on two foundations:

  1. Trust
  2. Attention

Trust and Attention interchanges, the more trust that’s built the more attention you gain. But at the same time you can’t build trust without attention.

If you are a book lover, and you have a favorite author, and you have bought two of her books already – you’re going to buy that third one without even reading the blurb or looking at the cover. You see the name, and you buy it. This is the transaction of trust into attention.

Is the Book Industry Dying?

In the beginning, the book industry revolved around a lot of trust. This trust goes back many years, even hundreds:

The publisher would trust the author that their content was great, then the bookstore would trust the publisher what they publish is great, and finally the customer would trust the bookstore what they sell is great.

But that’s all broken now. Suddenly the author can go straight to the customer.

A crowded market for books

The Long Tail has showed us that the market is opening up and gives us the opportunity to compete with pros at a budget entry level. This is great!

For instance, technology has progressed so far now that bands can record, mix, and master their own demos at home, and not spend thousands on studio rentals and staff hire.

For books, authors can now use Amazon to self-publish books and put things out on Kindle that are free to download.

The electronic book

Whilst shipping to straight the consumer isn’t this issue, it’s shipping straight to digital that is.

Most people have an inner guilt system where they tell themselves “I should read more books.” Publishing straight to ebook isn’t going to help that, and it’s only going to make people feel more guilty.

With self-publishing so readily available, books are being published – where in the old industry they wouldn’t have gotten past the first editing stage, are now straight on a database for you to purchase.

Pricing your book cheaply may gain attention but does it gain trust?

A giant battle for [limited] attention

We can agree that it’s often a poor marketing decision to enter a crowded market, especially in this day-and-age where there is huge competition for attention.

And now you can place the electronic version of your book into a dense market on a device that’s connected to social media, email and what other app you may have installed.

Now ask any twenty-five year old whether they’d rather read a book or an email.

So why would you enter your book into a world that’s dominated by limited attention? Especially as we know the only way you can get a consumer to pay attention to you is through trust, it’s the one currency that is in your control.

The trouble is once you start reading it on your electronic device and your notifications start streaming in every 5 minutes, are you actually going to pay attention?

“If they attend my talk then there might be a chance they buy my book, and if they buy my book then I might have a chance at changing their life.” – Zig Ziglar

Do you think you could change someone’s life with an ebook?

The physical book is the only place you have left where you can earn both trust and attention.

Leave a Reply