Friday, January 20, 2017

"E-Book Killed the Print Book Star"


Driving Uber in San Francisco has been educational from a marketing standpoint about how to reach the younger audience. Understanding your audience is very important when trying to sell to them. If you don’t know how they do things and what they want to read about or know about then you’re missing out on a substantial portion of potential sales.

In the publishing world, the key is to know that Millennials aren’t quite as in love with paper as their parents and grandparents. Not to suggest that Gen X and Boomers aren’t into eBooks (because they are), but the younger generation is all about the Smart Phone. To a greater or lesser degree, visit a major metropolis and look around at today’s city dwellers. You will be astonished to count 1 out of every 3 people has his or her head down reading or texting on their Smart Phones.

One of the “security” gateways for Uber is the service requires a credit card and Smart Phone to work. I was talking the other day with passengers who were astonished to find a “girl” driver. I’ve had that comment several times, and in the city where you might assume more women would drive. When it came to a point about security I said, “The credit card and Smart Phone tended to weed out those segments of the population that might cause more harm.” Then I joked, “If a homeless person has a Smart Phone and nowhere to live they might want to reassess their priorities.” We laughed at the irony, but you would be surprised…

The point in all of this is the Smart Phone and its proliferation and affect on consumer behavior. In the publishing world to release a book and fail to provide the eBook version leaves out a large number of buyers who no longer buy print. I no longer recommend that authors only do a print version. The other interesting trend related to the Smart Phone is the use of Audibles. One should look no further than the tremendous success of the audio show Serial. Interestingly enough, two female entrepreneurs created the program.

Yet as was the case when online content became popular and I was the publisher of a magazine, many readers still hold dear the print version. Many people still want the feel of newsprint on their hands. I understand. And when asked what will be the long-term outcome of eBooks, my answer is based solely on my understanding of the Millennials and Gen Z, and it’s so plainly obvious. Once the Boomers and Gen X age out, you’re going to see a lot more trees being preserved. Remember the song “video killed the radio star” … well “digital killed the print book” will be a famed phrase I am certain.

And that’s my prediction … based on all those “youngin’s” wandering the streets of San Francisco, heads down, not paying attention.  

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