Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Amazon Adds Author Weblogs to Personal Pages to Build Relationship Value

While I am fond of using Amazon.com as much as the next person, I tend to view it much as I would any other store: find what you need, get out and do something else. Amazon is designed to make a content purchaser as smart as possible in as little time as possible; its pioneering pre-eminence in content ecommerce still leaves most outlets in the dust. I appreciate the Nordstrom's-like pampering I get on my visits via the contextual information that the site makes available such as reviews, looking inside the books and such, which help to enhance the purchasing experience, but at the end of the day it's still more of a storefront than a destination. So when The New York Times notes that Amazon is hosting weblogs of authors whose books are sold through their portal it's an interesting feature that brings the portal closer to being a destination site for people who want to hear from authors more directly.

As shown in the example page for the Amazon Connect weblogging program, content from authors can be read as a part of one's personal Amazon home page, including mentions of local appearances and reflections on other topics that can help to build a relationship with an author. While book publishers offer promotional opportunities for their authors via online content through their own portals, Amazon is the first to try to aggregate weblogs from book authors in an environment that encourages interaction with authors in such a well-integrated content ecommerce experience. It's an extension of existing marketing methods in some ways - authors travel regularly to libraries and other community settings to speak and to interact with readers - but weblogs have the ability to bring communities to the author in ways that can build into more different kinds of revenue streams. Expect to see more authors develop online content in 2006 that will draw new kinds of revenues beyond book royalties.
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