International Read an eBook Day

Read an eBook Week was created back in 2004 to educate and inform the public about the pleasures and advantages of reading electronically. It helped raise awareness at a time when ebook reading was just in its infant stages.

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In recent years, the popularity of ebooks has soared. Last year, 28% of adults aged 18 and older read at least one ebook, according to Pew Research. Today, readers can access ebooks on any mobile device, computer or tablet, anytime, anywhere.

Now OverDrive, a library and school book distributor, has launched “International Read an eBook Day”. This new annual holiday was created to celebrate and raise awareness for reading on digital devices. This year, International Read an eBook Day will be held on September 18.

On September 18, readers around the world will be encouraged to take part in this large reading event. OverDrive will celebrate the day by giving away tablets and devices every hour on the International Read an eBook Day website.

Consider piggy-backing on this day to promote your own ebook. Use International Read an eBook Day to offer a special on your ebook or to give away a free ebook to entice readers to buy another one of your books. Shadow Mountain Publishing recently used the “offer a free novella to sell a novel” technique to sell their new Young Adult fantasy book A Tale of Light and Shadow. The publishing house offered a free PDF download of a 49-page short story titled The Fool and the Dragonox, which is the prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow.

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Gift Giving of Books in Decline

I recently read an article that reported that fewer people are buying books as gifts. The article focused on the United Kingdom and stated that fewer people buying books as gifts has contributed to an overall 4% decline in books sales in the UK over the past year.

In fact, the Nielson Book Survey of book buying habits showed that the share of books bought as gifts fell from 24% to 22% in 2013. The article reported that this equated to a decrease of nine million books.

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This trend is concerning for publishers and authors. It is not unique to the UK. It has also been seen in the United States.

Traditionally, books have been viewed as good gifts. I still believe they are good gifts. I think that the reason fewer books are being given as gifts is not so much because people don’t see them as good gifts, but more because people read less. Think about it. Which would a young adult like more: an iTunes gift card or a good book?

Reading overall is on the decline. One recent study by the Labor Department found that Americans between the ages of 15 and 19 only spend an average of 4.2 minutes of their weekends and holidays reading for fun. This research also showed that 20 to 24 year olds spend an average of 10.2 minutes reading on weekends, while 55 to 64 year olds spend 26.4 minutes on weekend days reading for pleasure. This study seems to indicate that the average time spent reading goes up with age.

The Christmas season is coming very soon. Now is the time to start planning your marketing campaign for getting people to buy your books as gifts. In your marketing campaign, tell your customers to consider buying your book as a gift. Tell them who would most benefit from your book and encourage them to help others grow in their faith with their gifts. You could even use the statistics above that show that older generations enjoy reading the most and encourage your audience to buy a book as a gift for Grandpa or Grandma.

As authors and publishers, we can help reverse this negative book-giving trend by reminding our customers and potential customers that books still make great gifts. I believe they do, so do you. Now let’s remind our customers.

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Being Heard Above the Noise

Bowker recently released estimates of print book production for 2013. The company reports that the number of print titles produced in 2013 dipped slightly from 2012 according to Bowker’s annual report on U.S. print book publishing. The year 2013 saw 304,912 print titles published, while the year 2013 saw 309,957 print titles produced.

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Bowker’s figures do not take into consideration ebooks published during the year. So, in just considering how many new books were published in 2013, the figure is higher than 304,912, because a number of books are now being published in digital format only. One statistic shows that 31% of ebooks purchased on Amazon each day are self-published books.

It’s hard to get noticed in a noisy world. Bowker’s statistics show that publishing in the United States is noisy. There are multiple books on almost every subject vying for a consumer’s attention.

Competing in a noisy market is not necessarily about making the most noise. Having a “noisier” marketing campaign than other authors does not guarantee more sales. Sometimes noise is just annoying. Rather, utilizing unique angles and hooking your readers with the “What’s in it for me” angle that they can’t resist seems to bring the best results. Creativity is what gets attention.

Cook up some creative ideas to get your book notice. Here are five to consider:

  1. Host a contest. Make it unusual and unique with an enticing prize. (See “Use a Twitter Contest to Sell More Books” for one idea).
  2. Donate some of your books to local businesses that have reading material in their lobbies and cater to your target audience.
  3. Showcase your book at a local festival (see “What’s Your Marketing Shtick?”).
  4. Put a magnetic sign about your book on your car. (see “One Creative Book Promotion Idea”).
  5. Make your book cover into a cover for your smart phone or tablet for a walking book advertisement (see “A Walking Advertisement” and “Walking Advertisements”).

The book market in the United States is crowded and most likely going to stay that way. Creativity is needed to get noticed above all the noise.

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Jazz Up Your Book Promotion

I spoke with an author recently who told me that his book was not selling. He stated that he knew it was because he was not marketing it. He reported that, for a while, he had been blogging and using social media regularly, but that he just ran out of ideas and things to do to continue these venues.

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Has this happened to you? Has your bucket of ideas for promoting your book or posting on your blog or social media run dry?

Today, I am going to share with you one new idea that you can begin using immediately. It’s a free tool called Quotes Cover.

Quotes Cover allows you to turn any quote into a beautiful typography and picture for use on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc. Any Quotes Cover you create can be downloaded as a picture file and used in print promotions as well.

Using Quotes Cover is really simple. Just type your quote into the box or search for existing quotes using a keyword. After you choose a quote, you can decide on the color, the font, and the background (even upload your own picture for the background).

This little free tool can help you add spice to your book promotion campaign. Here are a couple ideas for how to use this tool to promote your book.

  1. Use quote from testimonials and reviews of your book. Jazz them up with Quotes Cover and post them on the Internet on your social media sites, your blog, and even your website.
  2. Use tips or lines from your book. Embellish them with Quotes Cover and post them on the Internet as well.

I have already begun seeing authors use this neat little tool to promote books. You can too!

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