January 27, 2011

Amazon Singles

Maybe you read about Amazon encouraging folks to write smaller e-books, texts that can be digested in an hour or two.

As you know, I test different book formats, blog content, and project concepts all the time ... it's hard to be successful without testing stuff.  You might be interested to see "what works", based on the content I'm publishing.

Hashtag Analytics is just 40 pages ... $7.95 in print, $2.99 in Kindle format.  It's easily the best selling of the booklets I've published.  82% of the sales are in the Kindle format.

The 2011 Almanac is 174 pages ... $14.95 in print, $7.95 in Kindle format.  It's a distant second in books sold this month to Hashtag Analytics.  67% of the sales are in the Kindle format.

Hillstrom's Catalog Marketing PhD is third in books sold, but has led to consulting projects that truly pay my bills.  This booklet is 44 pages ... $7.95 in print, $2.99 in Kindle format. Only 12% of the sales are in the Kindle format.  The audience that appreciates this booklet tends to like paper ... and that should make sense if you're trying to sell a Catalog Marketing PhD to somebody.

Here's what I've learned, so far.
  • The number of pages in the book/booklet are meaningless, it's about providing interesting content.
  • The content dictates the distribution platform.  It should surprise nobody that a booklet about Twitter sells digitally ... while a booklet on catalog marketing sells in print.
  • Price doesn't seem to matter much, as long at the price is in a reasonable band.  One would think that a $2.99 price on Kindle would dramatically outperform a $7.95 price point, and that hasn't been the case in my experience.
  • You do not sell books if you do not promote them.  I've learned that books sell best off of my homepage, followed by my blog, followed by Twitter ... with the exception of Hashtag Analytics, which sells well when folks in the Blogosphere mention the book.
  • Books = Consulting Projects.  As a consultant, you don't sell the books hoping to make $72,000 on book sales alone ... the books provide an avenue for you to share a thesis with your audience, and that leads to folks hiring you for projects.  In particular, the Catalog Marketing PhD book, and the Multichannel Forensics book from 2007 served that purpose.
As a marketer, it's important to consider the interaction between content and audience.  The digerati tell you that you must have a mobile and social media presence.  Well, that's fine if your audience wants that from you.  My Catalog Marketing PhD audience, for instance, doesn't care for a digital presence, while my Hashtag Analytics audience demands the digital channel.  Not surprisingly, content+audience dictates channels, not the other way around.

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