Showing posts with label book cards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book cards. Show all posts

Sunday, September 18

Dean Wesley Smith: Book Cards Work!

Here's the idea: You have an electronic book to sell but how can you show it to potential customers at, say, a convention? How can a bookstore sell your electronic book? It is stating the obvious, but ebooks aren't like paper books, you can't just hand the book to someone.

Sure, you can direct them to and say, "Well, just search on 'Until Death' ... and maybe add 'Karen Woodward' so you're sure to get the right 'Until Death' ... I mean, who knew certain titles would be so popular! You'll remember all that? Right?"

No. They won't. The solution? Book cards! This is Dean Wesley Smith's idea and I think it's brilliant. I'll let him describe it:

Each “book card” had two parts.

Part one was the plastic gift card the size of a credit card and the same thickness. The cover of the book is printed on one side, the code and instructions on the back. We used these cards alone for a sort of business card as well, since the cards had our web site addresses as well as WMG Publishing website address.

As you can tell from the image up to the left, these credit-card-sized book covers were way cool.
Dean cautions that,
For the next few years, until book cards become more accepted by bookstores, I do not see them being economically viable for an indie publisher to produce for every book for sale. It would take too long to return the printing investment.

But WOW are they great promotion. Worth every penny.

Let me say that again. On special books and for events, book cards are worth every penny.
He closes by saying ...
Honestly, I see book cards becoming a major way for bookstores to sell electronic books in four or five years. It’s going to take traditional publishers to jump onto the idea to make it easier for indie publishers to get book cards into bookstores.

And book cards, packaged like gift cards, have a huge market in major supermarkets and other major retail stores besides bookstores, placed right beside all the other gift cards that have already gotten into those stores.

Electronic books are clearly going to be over 50% of all books sold within five years. This is a way to get those books into reader’s hands and thousands of new markets that paper books are too expensive and large to get into.

And from the author perspective, all I can say is that they are great fun. These are fantastic promotion.

Now it is up to traditional publishers to get this going. Cindie and I gave copies of these to many New York editors and a couple major New York publishers who really, really loved the idea.

First publishers have to train bookstores.

And then bookstores have to train readers that they can buy their electronic books in a regular bookstore.

It will happen.
Read Dean Wesley Smith's entire article here: Book Cards Work.

Tuesday, May 24

How to Sell Ebooks in Bookstores

Problem: How can a brick and mortar bookstore sell an electronic book?
Answer: Put the book on a card!

One day, in addition to stores carrying racks of gift cards for iTunes, groceries, phone minutes, etc., there will be one for books. (This idea is from Dean Wesley Smith.)

Imagine walking into your local bookstore, buying a plastic book card, scratching the back of the card to reveal the code, going to Smashwords and entering the code to download a book.

Yes, granted, simply going to Smashwords (or or etc) and buying the book would be simpler, but using a book card would be one more way for readers to find authors and it would be a way for bookstores to sell ebooks.

The question of whether ebooks and Amazon are killing bookstores took on new life this last Monday when Amazon announced they were launching a fifth publishing imprint, Thomas and Mercer, and that this imprint would make its books available in "Kindle, print and audio formats at, as well as at national and independent booksellers. (emphasis mine)"

I'm not sure what Barnes and Noble's reaction was but many of the independent bookstores said, "Heck no! Amazon is our competitor, we're not selling anything they publish."

From the perspective of a bookstore, one part of the problem is Amazon's ability to sell print print books more cheaply than your average independent store and ship them to customers less expensively. The other part is that Amazon can sell ebooks and brick and mortar (or whatever they are made of these days!) stores can't. Sales of ebooks are gradually increasing and sales of print books are declining. It has come to the point that many brick and mortar bookstore owners are wondering if they will still be operating in five years.

That's where Dean Wesley Smith's idea of a-book-on-a-card comes in. It would be a way for physical bookstores to sell electronic books. I'm not sure if it would be enough to keep bookstores from going out of business, but it is something.

For details on how the process of selling and buying book cards would work, I urge you to read Dean Wesley Smith's blog post on the subject.