The digital age is here and now. More and more consumers are turning to digital marketplaces to get their products, both buying and selling with paperless currency through the anonymity of the internet. It would seem that the majority of the digital selling options would flourish in an economy such as this one. Every niche has its challenges though.
Amazon.com quiet possibly has one of the most well-known digital publishing out lets in North America. Founded in 1994, it is one of the most popular online marketplaces. It’s digital division opened in 2001. Today they market some of the more advanced e-readers out there and sell e-book by the hundreds on a daily basis. In 2010 they announced that their e-book sales topped those of the more tangible books. Signing up to sell is a breeze and they can have indie authors up and running in to time. Some independent authors have made a fortune by publishing new books, getting them in the hands of readers and gaining good Amazon book reviews. What about some of the less successful online sellers though?
Over the past few years Books on Board, The Book Depository, Bookland, Fictionwise, BeWrite Books, jManga, and many more have shut their virtual doors. The main reason indie bookstores are failing is because of the lack of innovation. Many of these sellers are using out of date interfaces that do not allow all of the interactivity that buyers have come to appreciate in an e-store. The same goes for the ease of selling that the writers are looking for. This is the instant gratification age for better or for worse. Consumers know what they want and gosh darn it they want it now. If companies don’t adapt to those needs, they will fail as is the case with some of these stores.
Some of these indie bookstores are failing because they lack the accessibility that consumers are looking for. We are a society on the move. Over the past decade, the big joke is “there’s an app for that”. Joke or not, there is truth to those words and those wanting to open a successful online bookstore need to heed them. Tablets are starting to outsell desktop and laptop computers. We are getting smaller and more portable technology. With the changing times, online stores need to adapt to the online marketplaces. Building your own app is easier than ever but even a poorly built app will allow for more visibility than just a plain webpage.
There are at least six different type of e-book readers out there. There typically two different e-book formats, mobi and epub. Online bookstores need to be able to cater to both types. Amazon style books use the mobi format where are Nook owners go for the epub files. If a store doesn’t provide that diverse market, readers will find someone that does. What about audiobooks? Remember what I said about a society on the move? That’s part of it. Some people may not have the time to sit and read for hours on end but during their morning commute (and afternoon one too) or while at the gym or even relaxing at the end of a long day, audiobooks are becoming popular. Many of the newest e-readers come with audio capability. Keep your market updated!
So what have we learned today? Update your technology, get an app, and don’t limit your formatting selections. Avoiding these pitfalls will help you run a successful e-book store and who knows, maybe someday you’ll be right up there with Amazon.