Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

E-Book Weakness Uncovered

While the publishing industry is swept towards the e-book future, willing or not, there are some unforeseen problems with the format. One of them is detailed in this article in the New York Times, which talks about how covers have traditionally been a major selling point for books (at least, for some genres... romance novels, anyone?). Covers have also been seen as advertising; if you notice someone reading the book, you might notice the cover and then look for the book yourself. Sadly, e-books have no covers that can be seen by passersby while you are reading the e-book -- at least, not until e-book readers come with outside screens to display advertising (don't hold your breath).

While I'm sure some sales are lost, particularly in genres that sell heavily based on their covers, it's important to note there are also savings realized by not paying for a complete cover design package (which may include an expensive piece of art or a photo shoot, which can run thousands of dollars). Now the modern version of such incidental sales will be driven by social media and such things as Amazon's recommendation engine or lists posted by users. This is, of course, annoying to publishers who are used to be in control of all of the messaging.

Ultimately, it means that book sales may be somewhat more related to the book's actual quality rather than how sexy Fabio looked in that cover painting. Good news for good authors, and of course the obverse may be true.

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