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Digital Christmas?

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TrinaM

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I'm asking for ideas from other writers. I'm writing an article about the disruption in the supply chain for books that looks like it'll hit right about in the middle of the holiday season this year. Holidays are always rough for printers, but with paper, ink, and labor shortages...combined with shipping issues and other problems, I'm thinking that the time is good for a little digital disruption.

Big printers are starting to raise prices. Ingram is trying to get more big publishers to switch to Print-on-demand. (And like everyone else, their reply is to order more early...ala toilet paper...which is also in short supply these days...again.)

I'm wondering if anyone has ideas for what we could do to encourage people to see value in digital and audio books for gift giving this season? Just looking for ideas. I know people like to wrap gifts, give something tangible, etc. But it feels like we could maybe turn this into an opportunity. Save some trees.

Thoughts?
 

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I think it would depend on who you're giving it to. First, they have to have a device to read it on, then, they have to like digital reading.
Probably not little kids, because the pages and illustrations are tactile indicators of how books work. And, 'real' books are harder to accidentally break.

Then, too, if you're just giving a download (how does this work? Do you send the password or the link, and they download? Do you forcibly add something to their device?) I think it would require a really nice card, something they can put under the tree or whatever their tradition is.
 
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Maybe you can capitalise on some of the beneficial aspects of digital books:

1. A tablet or e-reader weighs a lot less than a physical tome. The older I get, the more I appreciate this.

2. You can listen to an audio book while you run on a treadmill or mow the lawn or ride your bike or whatever. I learnt the hard way, at age 14, that you cannot (or at least ought not) read a book balanced on the handlebars of your ten-speed bike while cycling home from school. (The owner of the parked car I hit and landed on was equally unimpressed.)

3. You can make the font more bigly on an ebook. The older I get, the more I appreciate this as well. Especially since some nasty gremlin came into my house over the last five years and shrunk the font size in all of my paperback novels, dammit. I can't read my old Georgette Heyers any more! :(
 
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TrinaM

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I think it would depend on who you're giving it to. First, they have to have a device to read it on, then, they have to like digital reading.
Probably not little kids, because the pages and illustrations are tactile indicators of how books work. And, 'real' books are harder to accidentally break.

Then, too, if you're just giving a download (how does this work? Do you send the password or the link, and they download? Do you forcibly add something to their device?) I think it would require a really nice card, something they can put under the tree or whatever their tradition is.
I do think that the "who" is an important part of the equation. You can send them digitally from vendors or just send the epub file via email. I do think it would be nice to have a really nice card. Hm. Maybe with a cool QR code thing that they scan and it loads on their device? That would be fun... hmmmm....
 
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TrinaM

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Maybe you can capitalise on some of the beneficial aspects of digital books:

1. A tablet or e-reader weighs a lot less than a physical tome. The older I get, the more I appreciate this.

2. You can listen to an audio book while you run on a treadmill or mow the lawn or ride your bike or whatever. I learnt the hard way, at age 14, that you cannot (or at least ought not) read a book balanced on the handlebars of your ten-speed bike while cycling home from school. (The owner of the parked car I hit and landed on was equally unimpressed.)

3. You can make the font more bigly on an ebook. The older I get, the more I appreciate this as well. Especially since some nasty gremlin came into my house over the last five years and shrunk the font size in all of my paperback novels, dammit. I can't read my old Georgette Heyers any more! :(
Ouch for the bike incident. I'm sure I've stepped on / tripped over / otherwise injured many things while reading. Because who has time to just sit and read?

I do think that emphasizing the benefits of electronic access is a good thing.

The same gremlin visited my house as well! So frustrating! I knew I'd been reading too many things digitally when I was reading a paper book and found myself trying to pinch and enlarge the type. Sigh.
 
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Moving this to Roundtable, where it fit much better than Self-Publishing.
 
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frimble3

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I do think that the "who" is an important part of the equation. You can send them digitally from vendors or just send the epub file via email. I do think it would be nice to have a really nice card. Hm. Maybe with a cool QR code thing that they scan and it loads on their device? That would be fun... hmmmm....
Again, 'who' is a big factor. I like the QR code (I can think of lots of interesting ways to make it part of the card design), but check to make sure your intended recipient has a device that can read the code. I do not have a cell-phone, myself, and, while that makes me a dinosaur, I suspect that I might not be the only one.
BTW:
QR code as:
part of a blizzard,
in the pattern of windows in an image of high-rises
center of a wreath
modern art
static on a TV set (this would be cool - "Nothing on TV? Click the QR and, boom, there's a book!"
 
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I wonder if it'd be possible/feasible to set up a PayPal account for each person, deposit X dollars into it, give the recipient the user name and password so they can access the funds, and a list of places you'd very much prefer they shop at (Kobo or B&N or whatever).

Alternatively set them up with a Kobo or Kindle or B&N account and pre purchase for that account some books you think they'd like?

Probably awkward as heck, but....
 
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TrinaM

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I wonder if it'd be possible/feasible to set up a PayPal account for each person, deposit X dollars into it, give the recipient the user name and password so they can access the funds, and a list of places you'd very much prefer they shop at (Kobo or B&N or whatever).

Alternatively set them up with a Kobo or Kindle or B&N account and pre purchase for that account some books you think they'd like?

Probably awkward as heck, but....
I think buying a gift card would be good. Some people already have accounts, so it might be awkward to purchase for them. Doesn't guarantee that they get the author's book, though. I know with Amazon you can purchase a book and then just give a gift code that the person can use to get it into their account. Interesting thoughts...
 

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Again, 'who' is a big factor. I like the QR code (I can think of lots of interesting ways to make it part of the card design), but check to make sure your intended recipient has a device that can read the code. I do not have a cell-phone, myself, and, while that makes me a dinosaur, I suspect that I might not be the only one.
BTW:
QR code as:
part of a blizzard,
in the pattern of windows in an image of high-rises
center of a wreath
modern art
static on a TV set (this would be cool - "Nothing on TV? Click the QR and, boom, there's a book!"
Okay, I love those ideas! So if someone gave you a code for an audio book, you'd be able to listen to it on a computer, maybe?
 
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This maybe an option - I'm fairly sure Amazon has a function where you can give an ebook as a gift and it gets sent electronically as an email to a specified email address. So long as the recipient has the kindle app, they can then read the book on a computer or tablet. No need for an amazon account or even an ebook reader for the recipient.

Other online ebook publishers probably have a similar system if you dig around their FAQs.
 
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TrinaM

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This maybe an option - I'm fairly sure Amazon has a function where you can give an ebook as a gift and it gets sent electronically as an email to a specified email address. So long as the recipient has the kindle app, they can then read the book on a computer or tablet. No need for an amazon account or even an ebook reader for the recipient.

Other online ebook publishers probably have a similar system if you dig around their FAQs.
Definitely. The trick will be how to make it seem like a cool gift?
 

frimble3

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Okay, I love those ideas! So if someone gave you a code for an audio book, you'd be able to listen to it on a computer, maybe?
I don't know if my laptop understands QR codes, but as Seakat mentions, I do have the Kindle app on my laptop.
Although, I'd rather have an e-book than an audio. I am a natural born reader, but when I listen, I tend to get distracted.
I am the same with live people, unfortunately. A group of about three I can keep up with, more people talking than that, I can't keep track of the speakers. Not so much a hearing thing as an attention thing. 'Hearing' is apparently not my brain's first priority. :e2shrug:
But for people buying this as a present for people they know, this sounds like a cool idea.
 
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TrinaM

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I don't know if my laptop understands QR codes, but as Seakat mentions, I do have the Kindle app on my laptop.
Although, I'd rather have an e-book than an audio. I am a natural born reader, but when I listen, I tend to get distracted.
I am the same with live people, unfortunately. A group of about three I can keep up with, more people talking than that, I can't keep track of the speakers. Not so much a hearing thing as an attention thing. 'Hearing' is apparently not my brain's first priority. :e2shrug:
But for people buying this as a present for people they know, this sounds like a cool idea.
Makes sense to me! I get lost in a crowded room, too. The trick is just to figure out how to give people the right version of the book...and then make it FUN, not like putting together your kid's 10 speed at 2AM...
 

TrinaM

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This maybe an option - I'm fairly sure Amazon has a function where you can give an ebook as a gift and it gets sent electronically as an email to a specified email address. So long as the recipient has the kindle app, they can then read the book on a computer or tablet. No need for an amazon account or even an ebook reader for the recipient.

Other online ebook publishers probably have a similar system if you dig around their FAQs.
I've just discovered that it seems every vendor other than Kobo has these. BookFunnel may also be a way to deliver them.

Thanks everyone for the ideas! I'm putting together my thoughts in an article. We'll see how it goes!
 

TrinaM

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If anyone wants to see how it came out, here it is!
(Written under my real name / other pen name...depending on which name...)
 
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away