Why Would You Publish a Book About the Future Without a Kindle Version? (or another ebook version)

Or why you have to remove all possible friction in your customer’s buying decisions

I went to Amazon to look at purchasing James Howard Kunstler’s new book yesterday after seeing a couple of recommendations from people in my social network that I trust.:

Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation

As far as I could tell there was only the hard cover version.

I don’t know about everyone else but I have stopped buying non fiction print version books.

That has happened for two reasons.

The first is convenience. I now carry an iPad almost everywhere I go and the Kindle application works fantastically well. For non fiction books the opportunity to dip back into them and find notes that I have made is important for my work and thinking. I am also constantly referring to my favourite books and authors and the convenience of being able to open up the iPad and show people the book is a nice thing to do.

The second is the ability to make a purchase decision when I want to and have the product straight away. Particularly for the non fiction books that I purchase it is highly unlikely that they will be available locally. Therefore I have to order them in which can take quite a while. The Amazon system is great in terms of being able to order and download immediately.

The fact that I could not get the book straight away means my attention has gone away from it and I may never return. I am constantly talking to clients and in my keynote presentations that they are not competing with their standard competitors any more. Now that my attention (and my money) has gone somewhere else it might not be focused on a different book, it might be focused on backing a Kickstarter project, or making a charitable donation, or buying a new music album. The demands for my attention are myriad and are coming from all sorts of places that were not there 5 years ago.

So why would you publish a book without an easily obtainable electronic version in this day and age. All you are doing is putting an obstacle in my way of buying your product. The same applies to lots of other product and service offerings. In a modern world you cannot afford to do that for long.

Paul Higgins

ps: I still buy printed versions of fiction books because I like the idea of reading in bed with a book and the same on planes for take-off and landings. We are all dinosaurs in some part of our behaviour!