E-books are exploding. A 2012 report by publishing authority Bowker suggests more than 87,000 titles appeared between 2010 and 2011, representing a 129 percent increase in the number of e-books published over the same period.
The popularity of e-books provides obvious benefits for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and writers, offering a source of revenue, an increasingly viable business model, and a new opportunity for thought leadership among business experts and authors. With prices stabilizing and technology standardizing the publishing process, the time may be right for small businesses to experiment with this growing market.
E-book Marketing Tips
Here are three tips for success in e-book marketing that will put you ahead in this growing industry segment.
1. Watch Your Pricing Strategy
A recent post at Forbes by Jeremy Greenfield suggests that after months of fluctuation, e-book pricing seems to be stabilizing. Obviously, Greenfield is looking at average prices of bestselling e-books, so results may vary depending on how much your title is in demand. Still, looking at the $8.00 price Greenfield is using as a guide, there are clearly some takeaways.
First, Greenfield calls $10.00 a “magical threshold” e-book publishers should probably think twice before pricing above. He says few e-book readers want to pay more than $9.99 for a title. Also, few readers want to pay as much for an e-book as for the paper edition. On the other hand, Greenfield observes that customers seem willing to pay any price for an e-book they really want.
When pricing, look at comparable titles and consider how much demand there will be for your e-book.
2. Give to Get
One marketing strategy has become so widely used that even industry leaders like Amazon provide special features to facilitate the practice. Amazon’s “Give a Gift Feature” allows you to send someone a free copy of your Kindle book via e-mail. Offering e-books free for a limited time or a limited audience is an effective approach to e-book marketing.
Author and blogger Stephanie Chandler explains in a post on her Authority Publishing blog:
“If you can drive more sales to your Kindle edition by getting others to give it as a gift, the rank for your book’s sales page will improve and will ultimately lead to more visibility on Amazon, thus increasing your overall sales.”
3. Follow the Leader
At the same time, when marketing your e-book, you’ll need to follow the rules of the industry leaders who control the market.
For example, as pointed out earlier, Amazon, while certainly not the only place to market an e-book, is a huge player. As e-book writer and publisher Tristan Higbee explains in a podcast on his Osmosio blog, one of the reasons for this is Amazon’s KDP Select program, which grants publishers and authors perks in exchange for releasing new titles exclusively on Amazon for at least the first 90 days.
But Higbee reports that there’s new rule issued by Amazon penalizing affiliate websites for directing too much traffic to Amazon pages where free e-books are being promoted. The move takes away a major opportunity for publishers who want to offer their e-books free for a limited time in order to boost demand, Higbee says.
Sites offering free Kindle books like Higbee’s own fkb.me which still makes most of their money on Amazon affiliate links, would be among those affected.
Regardless of the limitations, e-book publishing represents an expanding opportunity for writers and publishers interested in developing an additional revenue source or in establishing authority in their fields.
Difficulties created by one publishing, distribution, or marketing platform should not stop a prospective writer or publisher from going elsewhere. There are several options from which to choose and no end in sight to the demand for new e-book titles.
About Amazon’s Kindle store, for example, Higbee writes:
“If you’re writing about internet marketing or recipes or de-cluttering, or writing about e-books or writing e-books, you’re going to face stiff competition because those niches are pretty well stocked (though there’s always room in a market for a better product). But Kindle books in most other niches are severely lacking.”
No matter what your niche, you can write e-books to help fill it and build a readership and customer base for your expertise and experience.
E-books could be the newest market for your business and a way to showcase your knowledge while building your brand.
eBook Photo via Shutterstock
Awesome Ebook marketing strategy, Shawn. The pricing is especially something to pay close attention too. I’ve seen where there’s been tests done in regards to price points and some have found that higher prices have out performed lower ones. So it’s important to do your own tests and see which price point works better for you.
Shawn, I was surprised to see the recommended price point at $9.99. I rarely see and eBook priced that low. For some reason $97 seems to be the common number (which seems high). But, I agree with Ti, as due to the many higher-priced ebooks, $9.99 could “look” less valuable and bring lower overall sales.
Hi Ti and Elana,
Thanks for commenting. The important thing to remember is that e-books with mass appeal are likely to be priced much lower than those in niche markets, just as with any other product. The part of Greenfield’s observation to remember here is that customers often are willing to spend any amount for an e-book they truly want.
This makes me want to take a crack at writing an e-book today! I don’t think enough small business owners realize how vibrant this market is, not only for establishing reputation or marketing an idea but as a full-fledged method of marketing an e-book as a product. Thanks for the post, and for sharing it via the BizSugar community.
Thanks for the comments and I definitely agree. The e-book market is not discussed enough and represents a much more exciting opportunity than one might think at first glance. Thanks to all who have commented on and shared this post and for the support it has received at BizSugar.com.
Thanks very much for quoting me here, Shawn! Great article!
Thanks for the article. I’ve got 99c ebooks for sale on Amazon but as they are short fables I can’t really justify a higher price. It’s frustrating to see much longer books advertised as free or at a similar price but that’s eLife I guess. For me it’s about publishing lots of titles, dense word clouds and ‘outside the square’ tags and then leaving the other 99% to luck.
I so much needed that warning about directing traffic to my e-book via an affiliate site. I was actually going to do that but you have saved me from making that huge mistake. I also appreciate the pricing statistics you have provided me with as they confirm exactly what I had in mind for my price range.