Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Hidden Benefits of Reading an eBook by Lynne Garner

I was recently reading a book by Paul Mckenna entitled I Can Make You Rich. He includes a quote from Sol Kurzner  (billionaire hotelier), which says "you've got to be totally in love with what you do because you are going to be spending a lot of time doing it." Thankfully I love writing but I'm not a marketer, hence reading Paul McKenna's book. Until reading this book I was trying to sell a product, my eBooks. But apparently I should have been looking at it from a different angle. This being people buy something because of the benefit owning that item has.


This got me thinking about my eBooks and why someone would purchase them. My first response was, "well they're to be read by children and adults for entertainment." Although this is true this is not what the book described as a benefit. So I did a little research and discovered there have been many studies into the relationship between fostering the habit of reading in children from an early age and their success later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "strongly recommends reading to children every day, starting after they are first born," because "reading stimulates the development of the brain, language and a closer emotional relationship with a child."

With this in mind I looked at the stories I've turned into eBooks in a different light. For example my picture eBook Captain and Nugget hopefully covers the theme of sharing in an entertaining way. But the added bonus to the purchaser is that reading it to a child has hidden life changing benefits. I then discovered that a study conducted in a Rhode Island Hospital, USA compared two groups of eight months old. One group was read to often whilst babies, while the others was not. It was found those who were read to have their “receptive” vocabularies (number of words they understand) increased by 40 per, while the non-reading group increased by only 16 per cent.

I found these numbers to be impressive and continued to research. I then came across this quote:

"Research findings in applied linguistics and reading research consistently show a strong correlation between reading proficiency and academic success at all ages, from the primary school right through to university level: students who read a lot and who understand what they read usually attain good grades." Pretorius, E.

So now when I'm planning to raise the profile of one of my eBooks I'm not going to think, "entertaining story" I'm going to think, "hidden long term, life changing benefit." There can't be many 'products' that can claim that and back it up with scientific studies. 

6 comments:

Dan Holloway said...

he problem with taking that as a marketing starting point, of course, is how to make oneself (OK, that's my particular problem, but I know writers as a whole suffer large doses of self-doubt) believe that one's own ebook achieves this better than all other ebooks - if one were marketing "ebooks" that's one thing but "my particular ebook" requires a much more specific hook - what need is your book tapping into?

It's the ellision between that general ("ebooks") and the particular ("my ebook") that I find suspect about this type of marketing - the danger is one says about one's own work what is equally true of other works, and that's something I know I wouldn't be happy doing, which is why I think the pitch of the book is the key marketing tool.

It's a fascinating subject - I don't know if you saw Adam Curtis'(one of our true TV geniuses - most recently seen with teh stunning All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace) superlative documentary series The Century of the Self, all about psychoanalysis and advertising and hooking into aspirations

Lynne Garner said...

As you say it's difficult to really know how to sell an eBook. It's a crowded place out there and it's a question of getting you and your book noticed. I"m open to new ideas and suggestions and have also been reading 'How I Sold a Million eBooks in Five Months.' So I'm going to play with the ideas I come across and hope some of them work.

Dan Holloway said...

Reports on the relative successes and suitabilities of the ideas in Locke's book would be a very interestig & useful subject for a post :)

Susan Price said...

My cousin, Alan Hess, currently taking a Master's in linguistics, is mad keen on this relationship between reading and developement, Lynne. (You can find him at: http://www.manxman.ch/moodle2/).
He says being able to read the words on the page is the tip of a huge iceberg - the stuff hidden below is the development of emotional and cultural intelligence and socialisation. He says books and stories aren't read word by word, but in 'blocks of meaning' - which may have as much to do with the emotions felt while being read to, or the sense of culture being passed on.
Hard to sum up briefly!

Lynne Garner said...

Susan thanks for the heads up on the link for your cousins website. Will take a look.

Dan perhaps that'll be my next blog as I've put a couple of things he suggests into place.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Interesting and thought provoking post - I suspect there may be a difference between adult and children's fiction too here. And there is so very much marketing advice out there that it's really hard to know what to even experiment with - although Kindle certainly makes experimenting easier. Speaking personally, our slightly reluctant reader son (very happy to have books read TO him, like so many boys, I fear!) only really engaged with reading when his desire to know what was on TV overcame his reluctance to be bothered, and he read the Radio Times from cover to cover within a very short space of time! Regarding marketing, I've found the US writers who are making good money from eBooks and also blogging about it - have some very useful advice. John Locke's book advocates connecting with readers, and I think there's a lot to be said for that. In fact it influenced the way I set up my new website. I realised that - like so many writers - I had got into the habit of targeting publishers and agents, and I no longer needed to do that. I still find myself doing it, but I try hard to think about potential readers as well - it's quite a slow process - changing the thinking of a lifetime! Like turning a supertanker round. I've also been watching those Alex Polizzi 'fixer' programmes which - since they are about small businesses - seem to have a lot to say about personalising one's approach to customers - and after all, our readers are our customers. Benefits are important for sure, but I think it's almost more important to find a way of engaging readers with whatever image you, as a writer, wish to create.