I did an email survey to 1767 book reviewers on August 9 and just tallied up the results. It does have some critical business intelligence that publishers can use to understand how far we can go with eBooks at the present time. I was really surprised with the depth of feeling and reluctance to the trend towards eBooks.
At least based on the number of respondents, perhaps half the media say they will review an eBook if offered to them. Even then, it looks to me that less than ten percent of those who say they are willing to look at one will actually conduct a review of an eBook they receive upon request by email. That’s perhaps means that only 1 to 2 out of a hundred will act favorably on the offer. That’s is what we are seeing repeatedly right now when we offer eBooks with emailed news releases along with an invitation to receive a hard review copy of a book shipped by street mail.
My initial observations based on the comments and data received from this survey:
1. Authors and publishers will still best address their goals and objectives for getting publicity and satisfy media needs (to make the best impression and persuade media to give the best coverage) by creating and offering both the hard copy and the eBook, since right now so few media will really be willing to conduct their review of just the ebook version.
2. Book reviewers do for the most part recognize and predict that ebooks will play an ever increasing role in the publishing industry and the future of education.
3. However, about half of those who responded express a serious reluctance to the use of the technology. They identify and express a number of common concerns which have been fairly well recognized:
Cost, enjoyment, ease of use, personal preference or dislike of the technology, physical difficulties (eyesight), standardization, limits on how it can be used, note-taking, highlighting, cross utilization, re-utilization, loss of the equipment and stored books.
4. Authors and publishers may be able to save some money getting reviews by offering and asking media if they will look at the ebook before sending the hard copy. Media preference has to be determined individually.
5. Publishing and promoting books in eBook form only is risky if you seek to use and leverage media publicity to jumpstart sales. The media for the most part will simply not play.
I feel that the results of this indicate that we are still very early in the beginning of a 10 to perhaps even 20 year transition.
The comments of the individual reviewers are perhaps far more enlightening than the numbers.
Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
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