Going from only and dominant to footnote and over

July 30, 2012
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In case you haven’t noticed, the book publishing industry is about half of what it used to be. There is now a mad scramble by publishers to discover what tomorrow will look like.

With the demise of many retail booksellers, both big and small, and the dominance of Amazon (based on ease of use, price, timely delivery and one-click buying), the book market, as we have known it for the past 150 years, has changed forever.

When I get on an airplane, everyone has an iPad or Kindle. Well, not everyone, but it’s trending toward everyone. People can now bring 50 books on the plane on a device with a 10-hour battery that weighs only one pound and has adjustable typeface. You can even search, save, highlight and dog-ear the pages. Keep in mind that e-readers and iPads are still infants. They are under five years old and their legacy has just begun. But also keep in mind they have found their way into the hands of 100 million, literally overnight.

This will not impact you as much as it will impact me. I write books, and now I have some very hard choices to make with my next book and my future books.

Launching a book was simple in 2004. Get affiliates, send out a million e-mails, click through to Amazon.com, sell a few thousand books, and make The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times best-seller lists.

It’s not the same today. Not even close. Now I have to ask myself hard questions:

• Do I launch the e-book the same day as the hardcover book?

• Do I record an audio book and a video book?

• Where should I make them available?

• How much should I charge for the product?

• Should I use a traditional publisher or self publish?

My marketing and sales decisions are no different than your marketing and sales decisions. In this ever-changing, technological world, sales must change with it — your sales and my sales.

In 2004, my “Little Red Book of Selling” launch did not incorporate social media because there was no social media. Today, you can’t launch a book without it. It’s the same with your products.

Anyone who doesn’t take advantage of the marketing, branding and selling power that business social media has to offer is leaving money on the table. Lots of money. Lots and lots of money.

For my next launch, I’ll be shooting video. Not just video of the book content, but also promotional videos, teaser videos, idea videos and courseware videos that will complement the book.

Video trumps text. Electronic text trumps print. And for those of you sitting in a rocking chair smoking a pipe and telling me, “Printed books will always be there,” you are correct, but a heck of a lot less.

Softcover books will always be there — as a minor player. Hardcover books will always be there — as a minor player. But video is the new text. It’s called YouTube, not TextTube. Schoolbooks? No, no — iPads.

In your business:

• Video is the new brochure.

• Video is the new testimonial letter.

• Video is the new proposal.

• Video is the new training manual.

• Video is the new instructional manual.

• Video is the new letter and e-mail.

Here’s what to do (and here’s what I’m doing) to keep your business up to speed:

1. Take video of something every day. I don’t care what it is: a thought, an idea, an article, a brochure, a sales presentation, a customer testimonial, or a little kid sliding down a slide.

2. Make a list and create a pile of everything you have that's printed. Make a game plan to replace it with something more current than 600-year-old technology.

3. Gather your best customers and have a video party. Begin by asking them why they buy from you, on video. Then ask why they would recommend you, on video.

3.5 Whatever it is you’re selling, take advantage of every new channel of distribution. The old ways of selling, the old ways of marketing, the old ways of promotion and the old ways of branding are no longer applicable — other than for a history lesson. It’s all changed with 4G speed, 10-hour batteries, social media and flat-screen TVs.

Interesting though: As we head toward a paperless society, all the screaming environmentalists will have to find a new cause. Paper will go away by evolution, not by people screaming, “Save the trees!”

If you are looking for some kind of model, take a close look at mine, and emulate it. So far it’s working well. But be careful and check back often, because everything will be different by next year.

The best way to win in this economy is simple: Stay in front of the losers.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s website, www.gitomer.com, has more information about training, seminars and webinars, or e-mail him at salesman@gitomer.com

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