Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4 things e-book stores can do to survive

The e-book market is competitive right now, and I have been thinking about what I wish e-bookstores* would do to survive, because I would hate for Amazon to be the only store to buy e-books from. So here is my wish list, but hey, maybe someone reads this and decides to implement part of it.

( And, yes, I would love for DRM to go away, but that is up to publishers, not e-bookstores.)

1. Offer subscriptions

I know that several publishers offers subscriptions, but what I am missing is a bookstore doing it.    Offer say... a subscription for 3 trades or Hardcovers in a genre the reader choose,  every month for 15-20 dollars. I personally would jump on a chance like that.    

2. Reward loyal customers 
Offering a steep discount  is a common way to lure new customers,but what I am missing is sales specifically tailored at loyal customers. Have a standard discount at 20 percent, or maybe 25, and then regularly offer multi use ( 5 times maybe), account specific coupons at an additional 10-20 %, depending on how long you have been a customer ( The account specific part might be hard, but I suspect that for example Kobo already has the technique to implement it). And yes, I know that Allromance has their Buy 10 Get One free coupon, which I love. I am just waiting for Penguin books to get eligible....

3. Customize their frontpage

   E-book stores have a lot of information about what their readers like, and doesn’t like. Both Amazon and  Kobo offers reading recommendations.  What amaze me though, is that none of them have taken it another step and written a script that customize the homepage so that if I am logged in, books from genres I read are highlighted, along with similar genres. If I read a lot of Urban Fantasy/PNR, there is a chance I might like Paranormal mysteries/ suspense. This would benefit me, the stores, and the publishers( or author if it is self published).

4.   Offer good customer service 
One reason that Amazon is so successful is because of their customer service. They offer returns on e-books, answers rapidly on e-mails etc. Both BN and Kobo need to  improve their customer service, or they will continue to lose market shares to Amazon and Apple. 

* I plan to do another list what I think brick and mortar bookstores should do next month or so.


Patricia Rice said...

Great suggestions, and I think some of them are quietly showing up in smaller places. I've read about subscriptions in the UK. I greatly fear B&N is more interested in selling paper than digital, though, and isn't in a hurry to implement a website that does what Amazon does.

Over at Book View Cafe, we talk about these things, but we're not large enough yet to afford the technical power we'd need to make them happen.

The electronic revolution offers so many opportunities!

Mikaela said...

BN:s struggles makes me sad. There are so many things they could do, but instead they are clinging to the paper books.

I agree that the electronic revolution offers so many opportunities, and many smaller bookstores are doing amazing things. I look forward to find out what Book View Cafe are planning :)


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