Pay with a Tweet

Are you looking for some extra exposure for a book? Try Pay with a Tweet.

Here is how Pay with a Tweet works. To gain exposure for your new (or old) book via social media (Twitter or Facebook), you offer a teaser version of your book for the price of a tweet or post. People pay for the teaser version of your book by telling their friends on either Twitter or Facebook about your book. After tweeting or posting, the reader gets to download a copy of the teaser version of your book.

With this system, readers get new material and you gain more exposure for your new book.

Authors and Publishers can use the Pay with a Tweet service to create a “Pay with a Tweet” button to use for promoting the book and allowing people to purchase the teaser version of your book with a tweet (or post).

Watch this video to learn more about how Pay with a Tweet works.

Reviewers and Books

Last summer, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) launched BookCrash, a book review program for our member publishers’ books. BookCrash allows bloggers to receive free books published by CSPA member publishers in exchange for a fair review of the book on their blog and on one other online retail book site such as Amazon.com.

In the first six months of operation, BookCrash had 150 bloggers sign up to review books. I decided to take the time and compile some statistics from the program to date.

One of the questions a BookCrash reviewer answers is whether they prefer a review copy of the book in ebook or print format. To date, only 13% of BookCrash’s blogger reviewers have indicated that they prefer an ebook version to a print version.

CSPA member publishers have the ability to specify whether they want to offer review copies of their books in print or ebook format, or a combination of both. Thus far, 28% of the books offered have been made available only in ebook format for review.

What I found most interesting is that, on average, the books that were offered as ebook only for review received only one-half the requests for review copies compared to those books that were offered in print or a combination of print and ebook format. The books offered in ebook only format do not differ significantly in genre from the other books offered.

Here is what this data suggests for me. All things being equal, when given a choice of a free book in print or ebook format, people prefer the print book.

The question I can’t answer is “why?” Is it because a print book still has a higher inherent value than an ebook? Is it because one can’t easily give an ebook away when done reading it? Or, is it because the majority of people still prefer to read print books?

What do you think?

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Jellybooks

I have watched with interest the new daily deal services like Groupon and Living Social since they exploded onto the scene. Disappointed that these services are all locale-based and not profile-based, I keep hoping for a service that will benefit publishers of books.

Groupon, Living Social, and other daily deal services all allow businesses to target a city with their deals. This strategy does not work well for publishers. Books readers fit profiles better than geographical locations. In other words, some people read romance, some read history, others read memoirs, and others prefer Christian living materials. Targeting San Francisco, California, with a deal for a new book for Christian women will not garner the same response that targeting Christian women who read across the country would.

Enter Jellybooks.

Believing that many truly great books never appear on a best-seller list, Andrew Rhomberg decided to combine a book discovery sharing tool with Groupon-like deals to help people find great, but possibly obscure books. To this end, he is developing a new service called Jellybooks.

Set to launch in the Spring of 2012, Jellybooks will initially be offered only in the United Kingdom. Andrew hopes to have it running in over a dozen countries by the end of 2012.

In brief, Jellybooks will allow users to find books that look interesting. Publishers will place samples of new books (the first 10% of the book) on Jellybooks. Once people have started browsing, downloading, and sharing, Jellybooks will use the information it gathers to offer users special 50-percent off “Sweet Deals” on books that fit well with their choices so far. Publishers will nominate books to be Sweet Deals. These deals can be used to give a book a second wind six to nine months after publication, to promote a previous title when an author has a new publication, to expose readers to a first book in a series, or to sell bundles of back-list titles.

Jellybooks sounds like the type of coupon service the publishing industry needs. I sure hope that it gets off the ground this spring and becomes a useful tool for readers, authors, and publishers.

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eBook Price Trends

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the many people receiving e-readers as gifts at the end of 2011 would find that “the price gap between the print and e-versions of some top sellers has now narrowed to within a few dollars.”

Many big publishers have adopted the agency-pricing model (where publishers set the price of the ebook, not the retailer) in rebellion against Amazon’s $9.99 pricing strategy for ebooks. Publishers were scared that Amazon could gain control of pricing and then continue to drive ebook prices down, eventually paying less to publishers and decreasing their profits. As a result, many publishers are now pricing the ebook version of a new book only slightly lower than the price of the print version. For example, Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of Steve Jobs sells for $14.99 in the ebook version and $17.40 in the hardcover edition.

Interestingly, some experts are claiming that by increasing ebook prices, publishers have slowed the ebook market growth. However, it appears that this may not be true.

One market research firm, Yankee Group, found that, on the whole, ebook prices are falling. They report that “the average price of a consumer digital book had fallen to $8.19 by the end of 2011 from $9.23 in 2009.” This firm also forecasts that the average ebook prices will drop to $7 from the current $9 over the 2012 year.

Whether ebook prices rise or fall, I highly doubt that higher ebook prices will slow the growth of digital reading significantly. After all, digital reading is not just about price. It is about a new way to easily store and read books. eBook sales have grown and are still growing. The Yankee Group expects ebook sales to be 4 times higher by 2013 then they were in 2010.

If these conflicting reports leave you wondering what the best price for the digital version of your next title should be, take heart. There is no new hard and fast rule for pricing ebooks. I believe the old rule is still valid. Price your book within the price range of its competing titles. Pricing it significantly lower or higher than similar titles will curtail your sales.

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