November 20, 2012
Why Not Offer Digital And Hard Copy Books In A Single Sale?
One of the more interesting ideas that publishers could consider comes from Michael Clarke at the Scholarly Kitchen. The article is called What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock? The article compares the sale of vinyl albums (a growing niche, but a niche nonetheless) and hardcover books. Many indie bands provide digital download links with the sale of a vinyl edition of an album. Clarke proposes that hardcover book sales could work similarly by offering a digital copy of the book as part of the sale. A variation of that would be to offer a combined hard/digital copy for a combined lower prince. We’ve seen this same marketing technique with DVDs where a movie is sold with the rights to a digital copy for a limited time after the sale. Clarke also proposes that the digital copy of the book be DRM free. I seriously doubt that publishers would go for that. It’s an interesting idea though, and it might even spur sales of physical books.
There may be other marketing possibilities such as making the digital copy available if the hardcover was purchased at a physical bookstore. Publishers have expressed anxiety over Amazon’s dominance of the book market in one form or another to the detriment of brick and mortar retailers. I’m not suggesting publishers cut Amazon out of the equation, but some form of marketing may make local retailers more attractive to buyers.
The article is interesting to me for another reason as it highlights the “legendary” Reckless Records as an inspiration for music discovery through knowledgeable staff. I’ve mentioned Reckless occasionally in past posts as a great place to find used music and movies at extremely reasonable prices. I was at the store earlier this morning and found an Australian DVD released in 1981 of Fischer-Z live. The cost was a mere $2.99. I mention this merely because the outcome of the Kirtsaeng case awaiting decision by the Supreme Court may subject Reckless to liability for copyright violation by offering for sale a foreign-made used copy of a work in the second-hand market. More on that here. [MG]
It’s an interesting idea though, and it might even spur sales of physical books.
Including digital download links in physical copies is actually now close to the industry standard in comics publishing. So for examples of how this would work, you don't even really need to look to vinyl albums. I've even seen a recent title from a major university press (Yale) with a note on the verso stating that 'an online version of this work is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License' through the publisher's website - though to the best of my understanding, actual availability is not yet the case.
Posted by: Mikhail Koulikov | Nov 21, 2012 7:51:17 AM