Growing up in New York City, I spent countless hours in the library. I have never told anyone this, but my favorite books were the Britannica Encyclopedia . All the way up to my high school years, my teachers would give students assignments such as current events and book report projects. Call me nerdy, but I was always excited to go to the corner store to buy the New York Daily News for twenty-five cents to pump out a current event report like a journalist. Yes new millenniums, newspapers in my day cost a whole quarter back then.
The Britannica Encyclopedia was always special to me. The books were not only special because of the blue leather bound hard back cover with gold trimming. They also allowed me to immerse my inner city self into different worlds providing me with a lens to facts unknown. Aside from the drugs and violence that riddled the Brooklyn streets I navigated to get to the library, I could escape to the library and read. Read about kings and queens of countries I had never heard of. Read about dinosaurs, wars, endangered species of animals and chemicals I still have a hard time pronouncing.
A couple of months ago, the Britannica Encyclopedia announced that they would stop making physical hardcover books. At first I was a bit mellow hearing this, but then I knew straight out of the hot kettle pot why this was happening.
Yes, there is no doubt that e-publishing is a new technological portal of excitement and joy along the lines of music, business, and communication (social media). E-publishing has opened up several doors for authors who were never given a second glance when trying to publish a book. I was one of those authors dauntingly waiting for a publisher to answer my query letter. But not anymore.
While others may doom this theory, I believe Britannica was smart for doing this. I do not look at them as jumping the bandwagon or even going along with the saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” They are simply doing what works best for their customers. Using a slogan such as, “Digital innovation, advancing education” speaks directly to their customers; particularly in the education industry.
When in doubt, listen to your customers. That’s what staying in business is all about.
I believe that when one is in business, your customer is the end result of all parties involved getting to happy. The customer is happy with a product or service they have purchased at a great price. The seller is happy because they have a happy customer who either believed in their product or delivery of service. This is called end-result marketing. The process of getting to this point to gain customers is very crucial. Knowing what your customers want no matter what you are selling is all about never losing sight of the customer experience .
Britannica Encyclopedia did not rant and rave like the Big 6 publishing agencies are currently doing . The more I read about their rants about the domination of Amazon, the more I see clearly that Big 6 is not totally committed to their customers.
Not a good business model at all.
Britannica Encyclopedia has been around for over two-hundred years. They have built their brand to be one that is trusty. Did they weep when Wikipedia came out? I am not sure, but they did not allow the fast lane of innovation to strike them down like a flying Avenger (Ironman where are you at?). They simply restructured their business model as a customer-driven process to stay in business and stay afloat with the times. Will it work? If they continue to listen to their customers, then it more than likely will.
As an e-book author, we have to do what works not only for ourselves, but for our customers. Pricing, design, formatting, editing, and of course, writing thrilling stories no matter what genre, all come into play. The music industry is no different. Being different helps a lot like the use of YouTube and Facebook, however, listening to what the market is asking for is the start of a business model one should keep in mind.
Just like Britannica and Amazon and their business models that are obviously working, you should keep your own writing business model in mind. As an author, particularly those who are self-published, you should write not only what you love, but write what customers want to read.