Paper Because

Predictions are that eventually our world will be digital only. Paper will be extinct or at least an endangered species.

As more and more information, including books, are moving to the digital realm, companies that are based on paper – paper makers, printers, etc. – have had declining sales. To combat this, the paper industry has launched a publicity campaign called “Paper Because“.

If you are an old school paper lover (like myself) you will find this “Paper Because” video humorous. It is just one of many “Paper Because” videos that the paper industry has recently produced. You can view more of these on YouTube.

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Innovative Ways to Sell Digital Content

It seems like every week I read about a new online ebook retailer featuring a new twist.

tablet money

I recently told you about eBookPlus (see “Ad Supported eBooks“). This website allows readers to download and read ebooks for free, but the ebooks come with advertisements that the reader must view before each chapter.

Now, a new start-up, Total BooX, is offering ebooks for free, but charging customers for what they read. In other words, customers can download as many ebooks as they want and look at them. However, if they stay on a page of the ebook longer than 6 seconds, they are charged for reading the page. The charge is a fraction of the ebook price and based on how many pages the reader reads. In other words, if a customer reads 10 pages of a 100 page book priced at $10, he will pay $1.

With the recent data showing that most people only read about one-half of any given nonfiction book, maybe Total BooX has stumbled upon a brilliant idea. What better way to determine if you want to read a digital book fairly risk-free.

Gone are the days when you bought the whole print book and found out part-way through it wasn’t what you had hoped. Now, people can pay for just what they read—allowing them to take risks on more books.

Besides being an additional way to obtain revenue on ebooks, Publishers might benefit from a program like Total BooX. Knowing which pages in your books people read the most gives you feedback on what information people are most interested in.

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An Avalanche of Services

Almost every week I am hearing about a new service for creating, selling, or sharing digital content. The number of new services seeking to profit from the rise of digital reading is astounding.

First came the book social networks such as LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GoodReads. Then came the digital content sharing sites such as Scribd, Google Docs, and Docstock. Next came social reading sites such as Authonomy, WeBook, Redroom, and Book Country where authors hoped to be discovered.

Now new sites using variations on these themes are popping up. One such new website is bookfarms.com. This website is a social library for digital content. It is an online portal that allows users to search for documents and books and then read, organize, print, download, and send them to your friends instantly. With bookfarms.com authors and publishers can upload content they want to share for free to be discovered by the community of readers.

Why would an author or publisher put up free material? As a marketing tool to drive consumers to buying their material. Using a teaser to hook people into wanting more can be an effective marketing tool.

The harder question to answer is: Which sites should authors and publishers focus their attention and time on? We all have limited time. Discovering which sites are the most effective for driving consumers to your books is not easy.

My best advice is, that unless you have a lot of time on your hands, stick with the older tried and true sites that have amassed a large following and have shown that authors and publishers are experiencing success. Once such site is GoodReads. With over 12 million members, it is a great avenue for authors and publishers to draw readers’ attention to your new releases.

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