eBook: Sell at right price or sell by piece

I recently flipped over a paperback cover of “the Justice” done by a celebrity lecturer at Harvard, Michael Sandel. Paperback version of the Justice was published by the Penguin Books. It had short back-grounder of the company and the founder, Sir Allen Lane. As noted in the back-grounder, Penguin Books was great entrepreneurial and philanthropic journey of Sir Lane to bring quality books to mass-market at fraction of the price of those sturdy but expensive hard-cover titles.

Sometimes, the books published by Penguin are heavily edited to fit into the format of Penguin’s design guideline or cost structure. Though, books are very appealing as readers can easily get to the point, grab authors’ main idea, and also enjoy original style whether books are classic or post-modern pieces. Though, the biggest attraction of Penguin titles was definitely its low price point, which was only 6 pence when the Penguin published its first title. (Oh, well, now, mid size paper-back from Penguin Books costs 9-10 pounds due to inflation and higher production & distribution costs.) Mass-market have enjoyed quality books at quality price for several decades thanks to Sir Lane’s efforts.

eBooks are very trendy new novelties that are mainly pioneered by Kindle and iPad. Though, due to its pricey pricing policy of single title often ranging avg. 9-something-dollars, it gives a good reason for mass-market not to jump on the wagon right away. eBook is cheaper than paper-back and hard-cover. Though, it does not cost as much as what publisher needs to spend for manufacturing, distribution, and managing inventory. With eBook, authors and readers can be greatly rewarded as there are minimal middlemen in the distribution process. eBook is very environment friendly saving trees cut for paper. eBook does not require complex distribution such as warehouse or inventory cost. eBook is even easier to make worldwide distribution or update release.

Price is really big pain. We respect creative work of authors and their efforts to come up with great master-piece. However, we don’t want to see eBook industry is crippled by publishers’ overwhelming greediness and slow response to mass-market’s increasing demand for eBook titles. Growth of iPod or other portable MP3 players sales is greatly contributed by MP3’s universal standard that can be used by literally all the devices supporting MP3 format. Though, more importantly, what music labels and publishers have come up with in terms of pricing point, that is in the range of so-called micro payment pricing level, music labels have successfully tapped in mass-market and also reduce piracy.

We’d like to see more quality book titles on our fancy eBook devices. Given entry price to buy device will go down soon and also technology such as longer battery or brigher, but less-power consuming display would enhance. Though, we’d like to see more MP3-alike pricing point that makes eBook more accessible and compelling. Paper book publishing will decrease. Trouble faced by Barnes & Noble, a major bookstore chain in the Untied States, could be a good example how paper-based publishing industry will struggle in the near future.

Publishers may enjoy more profitable and manageable business with eBook. Though, in order to make eBook mass-market appeal, you have to sell at right price. If publishers can’t, at least, they can sell by a piece (like chapter by chapter) so that readers can pick and choose what they want. People who want to have whole chapters or tangible books in paper will continue shopping anyways.


Multi-plot interactive drama

Multi-plot drama is an interesting concept that I recently explored with young entrepreneur who is in the entertainment industry. Given digital media delivery platform, you can enjoy more interactivity. What if there are multiple characters in the movie or TV show and you can choose a specific character to get the end of show? Movie may have one single conclusion, but it can have a different plot per character. It’s like having a single point of beginning and end, but multiple routes between them. Media publishers or TV broadcasters can enjoy multiple ad inventories simultaneously on each plot. Audience can have more fun from each plot or pick only his favorite character to follow the footage.

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Setting the Scope-“One a Day”

How many hours do you spend per day to read or search news, check updates from social networking, or feeds from your favorite blogs?

Sometimes unlimited set of news or information could distract your life as you may agree. One thing I like about traditional media is that its own measurable limit and scope. For example, news paper or magazine has a page number or even for the given section in the paper (let’s say Politics) has its daily limit. Each section won’t convey more news than what editors can put it on one or two pages.

As you all agree, we’re surrounded with so much information. We’re often tired of consuming information and our busy lives become even busier. Often times, we more appreciate those good editorial efforts picking most important and relevant information for us. “Select window” of overflowing news and information can save us so much time. Interactive media or internet has its own strength making us to access unlimited feeds of information. However, I would stick with online media for the purpose of so-called ‘on demand’ news feeds and search results.

Here is a good example of extreme editorial efforts for online shopping. Matthew Lee at IDG Ventures Korea was quite excited with his recent online shopping deal called “One a Day.” It provides only one product per day on its online shopping service. Though, this company tries to procure high quality product and sells at the lowest price point. This service has already created loyal customer base who keeps coming back to check out what kind of new product is just released every morning. All you need is to make either ‘buy’ or ‘not buy’ decision. Quite simple, huh? But, I agree with Matthew that it’s probably more appealing service concept in this Apps Economy which tries to make everything so simple.

At any rate, if you know any good news source or web/mobile service with good editorial philosophy behind, please, feel free to leave me a comment here. If I can only spend a few minutes a day to read news but become top of everything, that would be so cool.

Though, how much information do we need anyways? I hope we can live clutter-less lives even if when it comes to our longing for ‘new-s.’