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What You Should Be Doing in e-Books - 12/13/2011 -

Digital publishing is easy, the e-book market is crowded, and your associationís e-books need to stand out. So whatís your plan?

By Erin Fry

With the rise in the number of people who own dedicated e-book readers and tablet devices, sales of e-books have taken offóup 144.4 percent to $649.2 million in the first eight months of 2011, according to the Association of American Publishers. Digital publishing is easy, the e-book market is crowded, and your associationís e-books need to stand out. So, what should you be doing in e-books right now?

1. Hyperlink to external content.

Link text in the e-book to relevant text on your association website. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and some e-readers have Web browsers that easily can take a reader from the e-book text to your site. Become the go-to source for expert content.

2. Insert photos, videos, music, or other multimedia that can be played on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Is your associationís e-book an instructional manual? Consider including a photo or video demo to fully illustrate the topic being discussed. People learn and take in information in different ways, so explore how you can reach members on multiple levels.

3. Expand or update your e-book content.

Letís say your association publishes both a print and electronic version of its book. The print book content could become outdated, perhaps due to rapid changes in your industry. To bridge the gap until the publicationís next printing, update the e-book with new content as needed. Youíll stay relevant in the industry, which your consumers will appreciate.

4. Include specials, deals, or coupon codes for the purchase of another association e-book.

Coupons and specials are a time-honored marketing tactic to encourage purchasingóand they work. To encourage the purchase of a new title, put a 20-percent-off coupon code for the new title at the back of a current e-book release. Even better, hyperlink the code to your associationís online store, and 1-2-3, the member or customer goes online, uses their coupon code, and orders the new book.

5. Break up your book into chapters and sell them individually.

Does your association publish an e-book that could be broken down into several shorter e-books? Perhaps you have a salary compensation survey that breaks down compensation by job title. Your association could easily sell each job title chapter as an e-book "short,Ē priced at a lower rate than the full e-book.

6. Sell bundles of e-books on similar topics.

For example, if your association publishes books on editing, layout, design, and marketing, sell them together in a publishing bundle. Of course, youíll want to price the bundle at a slightly lower rate than the full cost of each individual e-book, giving the member or customer value and encouraging the purchase.

Itís a brave new world out there in e-book publishing. Make sure your association stays on top of the technology and possibilities, and you wonít go wrong.

Erin Fry is editor and publications manager at Romance Writers of America and a member of the Association Media & Publishing Content Creation Committee.


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