January 8, 2010, Newsletter Issue #34: Video Books

Tip of the Week

As reported by Lynn Andriani/Publishers Weekly, 2/3/09, Harper Collins has created a new format for books.
As publishers continue to look for diverse ways to spread content, HarperCollins today released a video edition of  What Would Google Do? a business book by Jeff Jarvis, who blogs about media. The 23-minute video conveys the major themes of the book and is available at www.Amazon.com for $9.99. Collins Business released the book, a $26.99 hardcover, on January 27. HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray said the video fits in with the house’s mission to help authors find new and complimentary ways to present ideas to consumers through multiple platforms, formats and channels. “A video edition of Jeff’s book is a terrific example of a product that is both a viral marketing tool and possibly a new revenue stream,” Murray said.
HC spokesperson Erin Crum said this is the first video edition of a book the house has produced, and that Harper hopes to do more in the future.
Will this erode actual book sales? Is a book really a visual medium? What will this do to the written word? As a wise man once said, It’s all good. 
I believe that the video will enhance book sales, if done well, connecting their readers to a visual medium will further the bond between the author and the reader.
Books are certainly a visual medium if you consider that books seem to be produced into Hollywood films more than original screenplays. 
Since technology supports the written word through downloads, Kindle and the Sony Style Reader and there’s more to come on the electronic reader front and you can access videos through your cell phone and iPod, I believe that all of these mediums support book sales, in one form or another. Will printed books become obsolete? Not in my life-time or the next two generations.
The bigger question is addressing the accessibility of all the new formats and technology. What percentage of the population has the newer devices to support book videos? According to NielsenGlobal On-Line Survey, 85% of the world’s population has shopped on –line. That’s a 40% increase in the last two years.
15% of the population with an income between $25k-$50k is using the iPhone which about the same percentage for the population with an income greater than $100k.  This indicates that publishers are on the right track in moving towards a visual and higher technology base for their titles.  85% of 6.8 billion who are shopping on the web is a good indication that the number of people utilizing the new technology available must be an overwhelming number, as well. 
That said, I love holding the printed word in a book form, but I have to admit that I look forward to purchasing a Kindle or a Sony Reader. I usually have at least three books going at the same time, which gets to be a bit cumbersome on my nightstand, traveling and commuting.
The sooner we welcome these new formats for reading and meeting authors, the sooner we can begin to enjoy and look forward to the developments of the 21 century.

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