Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Bundling: The Sharing Of A Bed By An Unmarried Couple, and Google's New Marketing Gimmick

Naturally, I'm going with the old concept of bundling because I'm a publisher of historical fiction and I'm more likely to run across characters who bundle than a publisher who sticks to modern commercial fiction.

Yet it is appropriate to look at the archaic definition of bundling to get a sense of what Amazon plans to do in October when they start bundling.

Amazon will let those who buy hard copies of books purchase the digital version of the same book at a steep discount.

Sort of like getting to share a bed with the one you love, but there's a board between you that's meant to keep you separate. What good is the bed, in that case, if you can't use it to its fullest? You have to roll over the board when the parents aren't looking, or listening, if you're to get anywhere.

By the same token, Amazon is going to take advantage of the absence of the now illegal agency pricing model. Before, the publishers set the prices of their e-books and screamed mightily when Amazon wanted to peg them all to a $9.99 point. Now, Amazon can dictate harsher terms to the publishers who don't have a lot of leverage against the biggest purveyor of e-books around.

Amazon is proclaiming the new bundling option as a way to increase market share, but how many people are going to buy a hard copy and an e-book of the same book? Do you really need two books?

The e-book is still cheaper than the paper book, so if you're looking to save a little money, you'd go with the e-book and realize that you're still better off than if you bought two versions of the same words.

How many people are so avid in their reading that they'd want to be able to pick up where they left off without having to haul the book around? Are these the same sorts of bibliophiles who like to have the real thing to put on a shelf in the library of their spacious flats, but prefer the convenience of the e-reader as they jet around Europe? There can't be that many of them, or at least not enough to make a big uptick in sales.

Newcastlewest Books is joining in the experiment which we don't expect will go anywhere for those of us who publish on a small scale and see the preponderance of our sales in digital. But just the same, here's the plug. Buy a hard copy of THE KING OF THE IRISH in October from Amazon and get the digital version for $1.99.

Go ahead and bundle.

Back in the day, those boards didn't keep man and woman apart anyway. Bundling hard copies and e-versions doesn't seem to be any more effective at doing what it's advertised to do.

No comments: