Ewok Fantasies: Book BundlingAugust 22, 2012 at 7:00 am | Posted in Books, Ewok Fantasies, News, Opinion, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment
It’s time for another journey into Ewok Fantasies, this time down the road of the publishing industry. Right now bundling is still a popular fad among utility companies. Many households save money by taking advantage of bundling services to save money or for just added convenience. You can get your phone, internet and satellite/cable all bundled together for one low, monthly price. But what would happen if the publishing industry bundled eBooks and print books together?
According to techdirt, sales would triple. Now Angry Robot Books is a smaller publisher, but they’re also very innovative and run an appealing business model. As a consumer, it’s easy to buy their books, and as a reviewer, it’s also easy and super convenient to get review copies. Looking toward the future, they’ve started bundling eBooks and print books together in a select market to test the waters. It’s an extremely simply idea: if you buy a regular book, you get a free eBook copy with it. By tossing in a free eBook, it adds value to the book as well as convenience. It would seem like a win-win for publishers since their current business model is heavily dependent on print sales. In this case it tripled sales of the book. If those kind of results can be reproduced across an entire market, then publishers could stand to make a tidy profit.
Yet Angry Robot Books isn’t the only publisher aggressively marketing the future and utilizing the possibilities of eBooks. Take for instance Baen Books. One of their successful series is the Honor Harrington novels written by David Weber. There are currently thirteen books in the series, and some of them are massive tomes weighing in at 800 pages. When I bought the hardcover of At All Costs, it came with a CD that had digital copies of all the previous books in the series. This CD came with the book at no additional cost. You could look at this as taking bundling to the next level. Instead of just getting a free digital copy of the book you just purchased, you also get all the previous books in the series. It’s a great incentive to ensnare new readers into large series. Sometimes big books series can be intimidating and one of those intimidation factors is the cost of catching up. Baen’s method completely eliminated the cost burden. And this doesn’t even touch on Baen’s massive free library of eBooks.
Now we come to the point of the matter, my Ewok fantasy: what if the hardcover version of Mercy Kill came with a free eBook copy of all the previous Wraith novels? I personally don’t have any of the Wraith novels as eBooks. If buying a copy of Mercy Kill came with the added bonus of getting all the Wraith novels as eBooks, I’d be ecstatic. But let’s say I’ve never read any of the Wraith novels. If Mercy Kill came with all the previous books, it would become the perfect jumping in point for the series. Anyone with even the slightest inclination to try out the Wraith books would immediately consider buying Mercy Kill. On the other hand, let’s say I’ve never read a Star Wars book…ever. Here I am, wandering through a book store (or window shopping on Amazon) and out of nowhere I spot this cool looking cover of starfighters blasting each other. The title proclaims it’s Star Wars and it looks enticing. Then my eye spots the little promotional ad saying “Buy this book and you’ll get all the previous books in the series as free eBooks!” An ad like that can garner only one response: sold. Who could pass up an offer like that?
In this world of budgeting expenses and competitive publishing, bundling eBooks sounds like a great idea. People love free stuff. By bundling eBooks with print books, publishers can entice readers to spend their hard earned money on expensive hardcovers they might ordinarily pass on. Bundling eBooks can also be used to draw in new readers. The Star Wars Expanded Universe has a wide array of series ripe for bundling opportunities and Mercy Kill would be the perfect fit. Perhaps, one day, this Ewok fantasy could become a reality. Until then we’ll keep on fantasizing.