This weekend saw the last of the StreetWise Philippines eBooks converted to .mobi and .epub formats and offered for sale via the new Web 2.0 ‘Amazon Model’. The web sites for each title now have the new prices added, the old references to all the freebies removed and the links to the sales pages are now links to the place on Smashwords.com where each title is available for sale. Time will tell how this will fare however in the last month of the old ‘Membership Sales Model’ we sold just 12 books. This was the fourth month in a row when sales were so poor and down from the 35-50 a month we used to average.
I think Google’s Panda might have had a paw in that, as the sales pages are not that content rich, however there are links to them on dozens of other sites in our network and some of those are content rich, in fact over abundant in quality content. Sales via the main sites such as Amazon.com have increased, so far without any promotional activity on my part, so fingers are crossed as I type and that makes typing rather tricky.
With just twelve books a month being sold there was little to lose in changing to a more contemporary sales model, not to mention dropping the price and treating the books as books and not in formation products. Even though the information in each was well worth $29.99, the market is moving away from that perception. Even though the reader will save themselves far more than $29.99 simply by being aware of the things the book passes on, the reality is that few people realize this and are willing to part with thirty bucks to save thousands. Most of us would rather spend nothing then deal with any issue if and as it arises. If that ends up costing us an arm and a leg we tend to conveniently forget we could have avoided the heartache had we bought that online information product… I mean eBook.
Part of the reason is the value and credibility the customer places on the product and not just that particular eBook but the genre in general. If eBooks are perceived by the customer as being some thing less than first rate, worth taking notice of then they are going to be ignored. At best they will be tolerated but hardly trusted. While fiction eBooks don’t need their contents to be trusted in quite the same way, the buyer does have to feel it is worth their money to pay for a download. eReaders have changed how people read books, especially fiction, and while they will soon be obsolete, the idea of reading for fun, something other than a book, will not go away. The problem for non-fiction books is that they now have to compete with ‘Apps’ and those are dirt cheap and interactive in many cases, not just something you read. Time to start rethinking how I present the information contained in those eBooks, methinks.