Is 2009 the Year of the E-Book? (Part One)

According to Mike Elgan at Computer World, six major factors are coming to converge this year to precipitate the long-awaited e-book revolution. They are (with my marketing segment notes below):

  1. The economy: cheaper list prices make the e-book an appealing substitute, particularly if you’re reading them on a cellphone or computer (it works even with a device but you need to be able to stomach a relatively significant start-up fee).

    *WHO CARES: Boomers and Gen X-ers either personally feeling the burn of troubled times or just wary of discretionary spend in times like these. Probably a tad more likely to already be regularly paying for paper books as well as have/be willing to buy a new gadget to read with.


    • Advertise e-book versions highlighting lower price alongside the paper editions wherever you sell.
    • Showcase bundled bargains to get people started buy a paper edition, get the e-book for free.
    • Offer simple tutorials for how to download the books in store and have a kiosk where people can purchase the e-versions of what they are browsing in person through you!


  2. The environment: less paper, less distribution = lighter footprint. Whether or not the readers are green themselves, the books are.

    *WHO CARES: Boomers, Gen X, Millenials - most people are probably looking to do more where they can.


    • Do your homework if you know more about why it’s greener to go e, you’ll be able to make the case without giving a greenwash. Readers are savvy people so make sure you know what you’re talking about before you start to sell.
    • Hold events and co-promote with green-oriented authors who are willing to embrace e-books.
    • Get involved in campaigns like One Million Acts of Green or David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge to take your message into the world.


  3. A publishing revolution: as publishing becomes less top down and more DIY, e-books offer a quick and non-traditional channel to get new books into the public eye.

    *WHO CARES: Millenials. With experts and authorities becoming less important than trusted advisors, the appeal of the e-book is discovering a new thing.


    • Pay attention recommendation engines like Glue,, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter streams they are all invaluable to find out what people are into now.
    • Embrace new authors from non-traditional sources sites like TextNovel or set up your own.
    • Talk to your kids, your friends, your customers…the currency here is information and people want to tell you about it. You just need to ask.

Whew. Part two coming up with the last three e-book drivers examined in detail…