Free Downloads of Ebooks

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Bill Mullins » 02/20/04 11:59 AM

Here
http://www.instapundit.com/archives/014262.php

is some limited, anecdotal info about the effect of free downloads of ebooks and the consequent effects on market of "real" books. Magic is such a specialized world, compared to any real marketplace, that there may be no correlation, but ebooks come up here from time to time, so I thought I'd post the link.
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Postby CHRIS » 02/20/04 12:38 PM

I have always held the believe that an ebook version of a paper book will not significantly lower the sales numbers of the paper book. We see this for example with Card College 1. Although the ebook has more contents about 15 pages and has video clips which the book cannot offer, it has not measurably impacted the sales of the paper version. And I have sold a good number of Card College 1 ebooks.

I actually think that the opposite will often happen. The release of an ebook and the associated publicity and advertisement that goes along with it, naturally also advertises any paper version of it. Out of 10 customers 2 decide to buy the ebook, the other eight, although reading the ebook ad, will go for the book if they know a paper version is available. So the ebook release and ad actually works in favor for the paper version.

Once the ebook adoption and usage rate goes above 50% and customers first think of ebooks rather than books, the situation will switch. Then if someone sees a book ad might ask immediately "and is this available as ebook?" and search for it or ask around. Then book ads will help ebooks. I am waiting for this to happen :-)

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.
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Postby Guest » 02/24/04 01:08 PM

I got the ebook of Tarbells Course from Chris and I look at it frequently... I am surprised how much I enjoy having it on my desktop.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 02/24/04 02:01 PM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
Out of 10 customers 2 decide to buy the ebook, the other eight, although reading the ebook ad, will go for the book if they know a paper version is available. So the ebook release and ad actually works in favor for the paper version.
I'd be curious to know where those numbers came from. Putting aside the false impressions it gives (100% of people who see an ebook ad buy some form of the advertised book/ebook?), what's the basis for those numbers? Can anyone really say that a print book was purchased because someone saw an ebook ad? I'm not denying that it happens...I'm just interested in knowing the source/accuracy of your data.

-Jim
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Postby Bob Kentner » 02/24/04 09:00 PM

I would have to say that the major book publishers think ebooks help hard copy sales. I have noticed several books that contain CDs with ebooks of their other publications. They advertise on the dust jacket that these are complete ebooks with the hope of you wanting a hard copy.

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Postby CHRIS » 02/24/04 10:54 PM

Jim,

what I meant was the following (sorry if I didn't express it correctly). Say I run an ad in Genii for Card College 1, the ebook. Genii is read by let's say 10,000 people. Let's further assume 1000 of these 10,000 read my ad. And a 100 of these 1000 are really interested to get Card College 1.

From the 100 that are really interested only 20 will actually go out and buy it. My opinion based on my own research as well as customer feedback and many discussions with other magicians is that from these 20 magicians about 4 will actually buy the ebook and 16 will buy the book.

If you believe my data and opinion then my ebook ad has sold 16 books and only 4 ebooks. Meaning I have provided free advertisement for something I don't sell.

Now to the data and facts on which I base this opinion. I have made a survey among a few magic dealers I know. These dealers have shared with me sales numbers on books and ebooks they sell. From this data one can deduce that there are about 10% to 20% of magic book buyers who also buy ebooks. This fraction actually increases. Two years ago it was below 10%. Now it is around 15% going towards 20%.

I am also constantly gathering and soliciting feedback on why people buy books and ebooks. These comments support my opinion. You can find all kinds of cases. Someone who first buys the usually cheaper ebook version and then later decides to also get the book. Or the reverse, where somebody has already the book and wants to be able to search it or take it with him on his next trip and so he buys the ebook.

Or think about the following scenario. As I have done very recently, I released an electronic version of August Roterberg's "New Era Card Tricks". This is a magnificent old book very hard to get and typically costs you $100 - $200 second hand. Very few actually know about this book. So my release of the ebook version will increase the visibility of "New Era Card Tricks" and will therefore also mean that more magicians will look to get a paper copy of "New Era Card Tricks". And if there should every be a reprint of it, many will seek out the reprint as well.

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Postby Bob Walder » 02/24/04 11:49 PM

I have bought several eBooks from Chris' site - if I enjoy the book and if it is still in print I will ALWAYS buy the hardcopy version as well afterwards (I much prefer reading a real book).

But the eBooks are aften a cheap way of trying out an expensive book and are often the ONLY way to get hold of out of print books, rare collections (Sphinx, etc) and so on. And, of course, they offer the only means of doing a search for that elusive trick on your PC!

Bob
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Postby Guest » 02/25/04 12:56 AM

Baen Books, the science fiction publisher, has a largish Free Library of books whose authors are willing to let them be posted.

They also sell e-books, and sometimes give them away on CD's packaged with new hardcovers.

Eric Flint, author and librarian, claims that the free samples produce a visible spike in sales.

Someone also pointed out that the National Academies Press

" publishes all of its 2,500 books both in free online editions and in priced printed editions and, like you, has found that the free editions stimulate sales of the priced editions."
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Postby CHRIS » 02/25/04 05:18 AM

Unfortunately most publishers and authors in the magic world have a different opinion. Very often when I contact copyright holders about publishing an ebook, or releasing a book/ebook combination, their first and main worry is that the ebook will negatively impact their book sales. It would be wonderful to see one of the larger magic book publishers to embrace ebooks and for example release book/ebook combos.

Chris Wasshuber
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