Saturday, March 19, 2011

An Ebook Advantage

Amazon-Kindle-3-300x488I was out running errands yesterday and was a little farther afield than usual. Our cats have a special cat food that we can only get at this one particular store (I know…it’s crazy), and so I was about 35 minutes away from my own brier patch.

I’m planning on seeing some friends soon and remembered that I wanted to pick up wine and beer. I dashed into a wine store.

I picked up what I was looking for quickly, although I wasn’t familiar with the store. A Chardonnay in one hand, some Sam Adams Porter in the other, I was tearing toward the cash register when I saw a man standing at a table, hoping to distribute samples and looking awkward. He smiled hopefully at me.

I was in a hurry…but gosh, I sure know how it feels to stand at tables at bookstores feeling awkward. I sighed, then stopped with a smile.

It was a local brewery. He could tell I was in a hurry and stumbled into a spiel, “We’re right here in Charlotte, on the way to uptown. And—we don’t have any preservatives in our beer.”

I could tell that this was his big selling point. Maybe that info would have meant something different to someone with a different slant, but for me it was interesting from a marketing perspective. “So,” I said, “you can’t ship it then. If it’s preservative-free.”

He looked more cheerful now since I apparently was picking up on an interesting point. “That’s right!”

“So your focus is probably local restaurants?”

“Yes ma’am. And local bars.”

“But you’re starting to sell it in retail outlets?” I asked.

“We're making inroads with a couple of local chains. Like this one. See, what you’d do,” he gestured to a keg-looking container on the table, “is to drink this by the best-by date, then return the container to us at a retail center and we’d fill it up.”

“The only problem is,” I said, “is that I live in Matthews. So it’s less convenient for me to drive over here to purchase more beer.”

He beamed. “It’s available at the Matthews location of this store!”

Ka-ching! It was a sale.

Only, actually, because it was convenient for me to buy the beer.

Convenience is, I think, one of the major selling points for an e-reader. And I think it should be a reason why publishers shouldn’t worry too much about the e-book revolution.

I’ve found, lately, that I’ve bought even more books than I usually do. And I buy a lot of books.

That’s because the Kindle has made it very, very easy for me to buy a book. Several times now, I’ve been out with a friend and they told me what they were reading and I’ve downloaded it.

I’ve also downloaded books that I hear about on book blogging sites—immediately, before I have an opportunity to forget the title or author.

I know publishers are worried about ebooks. I know they’re treading into uncertain territory.

But I really think that they’re going to get a higher volume of sales. It’s just so easy for us to buy books.

Do you have an e-reader? Do you have one on your wish list? If you do have one, have you seen your book buying habits change?