Friday, August 19, 2005

Amazon Shorts as an Author Marketing System

Amazon continues to innovate book marketing, with its debut of Amazon Shorts, described as "Short literary works delivered digitally for 49 cents each". These are previously unpublished short-form works of 2,000 to 10,000 words, many of which are from well-known authors, who already have full-sized hardcopy, ebook and audio book editions readily available on Amazon. At this price, individual authors may not make a lot of money on the new short digital works, but the advertising and public relations aspects are much more valuable. Today's featured Amazon Short is by Harry Dent, author of The Next Great Bubble Boom: How to Profit from the Greatest Boom in History, 2005-2009, a traditional hard-copy book, published in September 2004. His Amazon Short is dated August 1, 2005 and provides an updated view of his 2004 view, thus solving the inherent problem of keeping a traditional book current, yet utilizing established distribution channels. The sales page for this work conveniently lists "The Complete Works of Harry S. Dent" including the 2004 book at $26 list price, a nice upsell for a $.49 work, as well as the full backlist.

It's this understanding of the dynamics of the publishing business, and the tension between authors, traditional publishers and buyers that makes Amazon successful. The focus has been on technology in the ebook marketplace, but innovation in improving the publishing cycle and providing new value to readers which benefits authors will be key to growth in digital publishing, as seen in the growth in digital audio books. Amazon is valuable not only as a sales channel, but also for the profile of the typical reader / buyer, which is possible only in ecommerce channels, not the bricks and mortar retail channel. Feedback to authors has long been a Holy Grail, and Amazon is effectively working with authors, as well as publishers, on multiple levels, a key to business success.
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