An eBook – or electronic book – is a paperless book that can be read on multiple portable electronic devices including the Amazon Kindle, the Kobo and the Nook amongst others. As well as being convenient to use on the go, eBook devices pack a lot into a small space, with most being able to store hundreds of uploaded books. Another great feature of eBooks is that they make reading more accessible for people with disabilities. The text can be resized to help those who are visually impaired and some are also fitted with a read-aloud function.
So how popular are they? Well, according to BookStats, 20% of books sold in the US in 2012 were eBooks. And Forester recently reported that eBook sales are expected to reach 9.7 $billion by 2016.
How eBooks are the new marketing tool
Depending on the eBook device they have, readers are able to search text, highlight and share content easily via a wireless internet connection. These features make eBooks fantastic doorways to viral marketing. Business eBooks are a cost-effective, low-risk way to share ideas, expertise, knowledge, techniques and to establish the author as an authority in their field. Also publishing an eBook is substantially easier and cheaper than getting a traditional print book published. Taking the time to write an eBook is the only real overhead involved and if the book doesn’t sell particularly well you don’t find yourself with a warehouse full of copies gathering dust.
Three examples of e-books that complement businesses
1) The Irish company Sage provide business management software solutions specific to Ireland. Obviously their customers are Irish companies and so they’ve tailored an eBook to that customer base, which is available to download for free. This free eBook is entitled 50 Ways To Help Improve Your Business and is made up of insights and advice from existing business owners, which their peers will undoubtedly value and share.
2) As the owner of a Sydney Floral Boutique as well as a worldwide floral training academy, Mercedes Sarmini has released an eBook that plays on her passion for flowers. But realising that there are already a great deal of flower arranging books on the market, Mercedes has cleverly opted for a slightly different angle into the world of flower-arranging with DIY Flower Arranging for Kids. This book will not only appeal to parents who want to introduce their children to nature and develop a hobby they can share together, it also establishes Mercedes as an expert in her field. Sydney-based flower arrangers wanting to buy blooms for their flower arranging would also be likely to visit her boutique to do so.
3) How To Get Rid of Fleas, 52 Natural Cleaning Solutions, 33 Way to get Rid of Parasites and more amusingly titled The Bug Stops Here have all been penned by the prolific Stephen Tvedten. As well as being a fairly well-established author, it may come as no surprise that Stephen is also the consultant and advisor for Safe Solutions, Inc. and Head of the Advisory Board for the Natural Pest Control Council of America. Through the power of eBooks this smart pest-control expert has essentially established himself as a brand in his own right and an absolute authority upon his fairly lucrative field of expertise.
What should you write about?
That really depends on your line of work, though a few rules of thumb include the following:
– cover something about which you can write knowledgeably
– write in a field where you can add new and original insights
– create an eBook about something people will actually be interested in
– ensure your eBook is about a topic that clearly relates to your business.
The last of these points is especially important. Crowbarring in a connection between the topic of your book and your business will be transparent and look desperate. It will also make the reader feel cheated, which obviously sets up a negative mindset towards your company.
Important things to consider when writing:
1) Offer a fresh take – Given the sheer number of books out there – and the fact that number is growing all the time – there’s a chance the topic of your eBook will have been covered before. As such it can be a good idea to research and brainstorm new ways to present your knowledge. For example, if you run a children’s party entertainment business and want to release an eBook about keeping kids entertained on rainy days, why not set it up as 52 ideas – one for each weekend of the year?
2) Lay your book out clearly – If you’re self-publishing an eBook you probably won’t be able to benefit from the help of a professional editor. As such it’s important you keep your writing clear and easy to understand. One of the best ways of doing this is easy-to-browse sections and a helpful contents page. Instead of writing one fantastically long essay, separate contents into bite size chunks and break it up with concise headers.
3) Get feedback before publishing – Too many cooks can spoil the broth, so the saying goes, but in the case of an eBook the more eyes cast over it before publishing the better. Ask colleagues to look at your writing and deliver full and constructive feedback. However, it is equally important that people from outside your business, who may not be familiar with the topic you’ve written about, feed back to you on whether you’ve oversimplified technical details – or not simplified them enough!