Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ebooks and Piracy

This thriller author thinks that piracy is an inescapable fact of life, and that it can be used to a writer's advantage. I happen to agree with him, in general. He has some specific data to back up his assertions, based on his own sales figures. (Caveat: of course he's not providing complete information, nor are his data audited, so he could be making this up to a greater or lesser degree. But let's assume he's telling it straight.)

I think the missing part of the whole equation is marketing. Once you have established yourself as a brand, a recognizable name that has qualities a consumer is interested in, then it's a lot easier to get people to pay for your ebooks. This is usually achieved by selling books in stores; getting noticed in the vast wastelands of the Internet when you have no name or reputation is much more difficult. Any author attempting to make money solely on ebooks, from a standing start, had better have a good marketing plan for building a paying audience.

Look, I was one of the very first publishers to sell ebooks. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was the first to put ebooks into retail stores (they were on floppy disks in ziplock bags, if you must know). Ah, the good old days of Acrobat 1.0... well, it did work, sort of. Anyway, ebooks can sell despite piracy. But you have to deal with the existence of piracy primarily through marketing, not technological fixes.

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