Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Marketing 101

I’ve looked up Mr. Sargent (mentioned in Peter’s blog entry of last week), and it’s easy to see why he’s getting damnation. Suggesting switching business models will do that, and charging more for downloads will do that, and thinking outside the box always does that. They may or may not be good ideas, but I give Macmillan a lot of credit for at least trying something. Let’s just deal with the price, thing, though.

In order to get people to try something new, the usual (successful) marketing tactic is to price the item low. As the product takes off, you raise the price. It’s tried and true and it works. You didn’t think that Amazon was always going to keep the same price, did you? Once e-book sales catch fire, you watch them jack the price up.

On the other hand, this marketing tactic has been abandoned with things like new technology and pharmaceuticals because, in the beginning, they are expensive to produce, plus the originator wants to get the maximum return on investment before other. Remember the price of CD players when they first came out. Or closer to home. The first terrabyte computer hard drive a few years back cost nearly $2000 if memory serves. I bought one last week for $99. The difference? Competitors catching up.

What the e-book market desperately needs is one format for all books. It would make purchasing them that much easier, make selling them more streamlined, and make them instantly more attractive to buyers. Why should I shell out for a book for my [fill in the name of your current favourite e-book reader here] only to find out that they’ve gone out of business, or dropped manufacturing readers, and then find if I want to read my book again, I have to buy it again in another (current) format?

Anybody have any beta cassettes at home? Hmmm?

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