Smart Business Sells in Chapters

The internet’s resurgence as a place for doing business has launched another gold rush. People are panning furiously to find the best way of marketing and selling online. Every once in a while a business comes along which seems to tick all the boxes; their stall appears destined to do a brisk trade in the global marketplace.

In this Tuesday’s business section of the Telegraph newspaper, the editor felt it newsworthy to print a comment by a PR exec about an online bookstore offering free downloads of their books’ first few chapters: “This is a unique offering and has great PR potential which would really ramp up the marketing and sales.”

My delight at finding a PR practitioner who understood the true value of giving away free content lured me into reading the full article (you have to register to read but registration is free).

It was a case study about a relatively small company hoping to compete with the mighty Amazon by tempting readers with the first few chapters of their books for free.

By giving away free content they are being a ‘generous brand’. Smart supermarkets give away free consumer magazines; businesses can offer free white papers or newsletters. As long as your content is of value, giving away for free is the best way of garnering trust and loyalty with a consumer now resistant to advertising.

Lovereading were featured in the paper because they are looking for investment to grow the business and attract their target of 1.5 million readers from a UK field of 10 million bookworms. Their business is primarily to act as a direct marketing tool for publishers and attract readers not enamoured with Amazon.

If ever a business was suited to the internet then Lovereading is it. If they are able to provide a more efficient and valued service than Amazon (who offer free samples but from random chapters) then their market is not just the UK but the entire world.

If we bring the ‘long tail’ into the equation then, depending on how quickly they can add downloads to their library, the number of books they can offer is virtually limitless.

Without the limitation of physical space and the technology available to print books to order, they can cater for any author, genre, taste or even language. Their potential market is enormous and only made possible by setting up shop online.

I got so carried away from reading the article that I ended up leaving a comment of my own. Hopefully the Telegraph’s editor might find it newsworthy enough to publish in tomorrow’s edition, even if they did delete my suggestion that Lovereading start a blog.

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