Going from dominant player to just a footnote

Posted 8/6/12

In case you haven’t noticed, the book-publishing industry is about half of what it used to be. There is now a mad scramble by publishers to discover what tomorrow will look like.

With the demise of many retail booksellers, both big and small, and the dominance of Amazon (based on ease of use, price, timely delivery and one-click buying), the book market, as we have known it for the past 150 years, has changed forever.

When I get on an airplane, everyone has an iPad or Kindle. Well, not everyone, but it’s trending towards everyone. People can now bring 50 books on the plane – on a device with a 10-hour battery that weighs only one pound and has adjustable typeface. You can even search, save, highlight and dog-ear the pages. Keep in mind that e-readers and iPads are still infants. They are less than 5 years old and their legacy has just begun. But also keep in mind they have found their way into the hands of 100 million.

This will not impact you as much as it will impact me.

I write books, and now I have some very hard choices to make with my next book and my future books.

Launching a book was simple in 2004. Get affiliates, send out a million emails, click through to, sell a few thousand books, and make The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times best-seller lists.

It’s not the same today. Not even close.

Now I have to ask myself hard questions:

• Do I launch the e-book the same day as the hardcover book is launched?

• Do I record an audio book and a video book?

• Where should I make them available?

• How much should I charge for the product?

• Should I use a traditional publisher or self-publish?

My marketing and sales decisions are no different than your marketing and sales decisions. In this ever-changing, technological world, sales must change with it – your sales and my sales.

In 2004, my “Little Red Book of Selling” launch did not incorporate social media because there was no social media. Today, you can’t launch a book without it. It’s the same with your products.

Anyone (including me) who doesn’t take advantage of the marketing, branding, and selling power that business social media has to offer, is leaving money on the table. Lots of money. Lots and lots of money.

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