Direct-To-Fan Done Right: Indy Romance Ebook Club Seduces Readers With Extras
from the reason-to-buy dept
When I wrote about the failings of JK Rowling’s Pottermore ebook store, reaction was mixed. Most sources were praising Pottermore for striking out and demonstrating a new model for publishing, but I wanted to forget the business side for a moment and ask whether the customers were truly receiving any benefit. To add some contrast to this discussion, we can compare it to Discover a New Love, a new romance ebook club launched by independent publisher Sourcebooks (found Through PaidContent). It isn’t a direct analog to Pottermore but demonstrates the reason to buy that Rowling’s store mostly lacks. For ten bucks
a month per six months, members get one free romance ebook monthly, discounts on other ebooks, and a whole bunch of extras:
The initiative also aims to build community: Sourcebooks will hold parties for members at the major romance conferences, and is also offering
- Member-only blog chats with our authors, editors, cover artists and more.
- Special “Romance Insider” events for you to help events shape the future of romance publishing including focus groups, panel discussions, surveys and more.
- A forum for discussing your favorite authors, books, heroes, heroines, and sex scenes with other members of the community
- Member-only content from about our authors and upcoming titles.
- Access to member-only special offers, contests, and give-aways
That’s how you entice fans: by connecting with them, building a community, and offering that community things that they can’t get anywhere else. Now, obviously there are some key differences between this and Pottermore. The Sourcebooks titles will still be directly available through other channels like the Kindle store, and the book-a-month model doesn’t really work for a finished series like Harry Potter. But the parallels are striking too: both romance novels and Potteresque megafranchises represent bright spots in the publishing industry, and their escapist nature breeds ravenous fanbases. A Harry Potter book club that offered meaningful perks would certainly be a breakaway hit (of course, as expected because of the extreme popularity of the franchise, Pottermore is still doing pretty well). Apparently the broader Pottermore website (still in beta, promised for early this month) will provide some community-focused incentives, and hopefully that will turn the store into something more relevant to readers—but for now, Discover a New Love provides a good example of how to reward your customers with a true reason to buy.