I've heard book authors complaining about how these days, publishing a book won't make you rich. It's tough, they say. You invest months and months of creative work, and unless you sell a shitload of copies and become an overnight success on amazon.com, the money you make won't even cover the costs of producing the book.
I might not be the representative of the whole human population, but maybe this would help prospective book authors:
Please try writing a book that is not 1000 pages long!
I hate books that come in, what I would call, "the bible format". You know, a book so fat, small objects gravitate towards it.
A long time ago, every IT office had to have a bookshelf full of fat computer books. This is where IT people used to get knowledge from. It was before the Internets came to be, a time before Google. Some books even called themselves "bibles". Today, only the pretentious assholes write books with the word "bible" in the title. Nobody wants to read a "bible" any more. Amen to that.
A market niche on the rise: the compulsive reader
I'm a compulsive buyer. I'm a kind of person who grabs a thing or two at the checkout in the supermarket - if the packaging is shiny enough. I walk into a store to buy just the swimming goggles - I walk out spending two more pieces of clothes and 10 times more than I planned. I see nice stuff, I buy nice stuff. No buyer's remorse here. Sales people love my kind.
I am also a compulsive reader. I want to read a lot and I want to finish reading the book today. Not tomorrow. Not in 10 days. This is how I bought and read "Getting Real" by 37 Signals. That was the best $19 I've spent on a book on a sunday afternoon. It was mine to read 15 minutes after I pulled my credit card out of my wallet - I bought the PDF format. There is no way I would buy a dead-tree format and wait for it for god knows how long to arrive.
So, It should be easy to sell a book to me.
So why are book authors still writing books that are 400 pages long? Are you nuts? Do you know how freaking awesome you must be for me to buy your 400 pages book? People barely have time to wash their teeth in the morning.
There are 10 VERY GOOD books on my nightstand right now. More of them are in my office. I haven't finished reading any of them. I read books in cover-to-cover fashion. I highlight stuff with markers in three colors (sometimes even when I read fiction). While I read, I write book notes in Google Docs, because that way I remember and apply more.
Yes, it does take me a while to read any book because I am such a nerd. But why should I spend another buck on a book that would only serve as a reminder of how undisciplined I am?
If you're a book author: this is how you can sell a ton of books to me
- Make me feel smart and good about myself. Don't make your book whisper to me: "I am too fat for you to finish reading me."
- Allow me to read every chapter you've written - in just one sitting. Two max.
- Cut your book down to 100 pages or less. If you have more to say - publish it in more than one book. The price is not so important. It seems to be working for the movie industry. You'll earn more money, I'll save time.
- Publish it in Kindle or PDF format (or any instantly downloadable format, for that matter). I want to download and read your book NOW. I have some time to kill, it's a rainy day and my RSS reader is empty. And if your digital format saves me a buck or two, great! (I've done some simple math: International buyers can save $8 or more per book if they buy it in Kindle format. Kindle books are cheaper, and there are no shipping costs).
Sure, I'm just one person. Maybe I am alone in these thoughts. For now.
But the time will come when the most popular bookstore in the world is the one selling only 50 pages books.
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