Gifting hasn’t been nailed for eBooks yet, has it? The gift market for print is enormously significant during holiday periods, and eBooks haven’t quite replicated that. Coming from a trade publishing background, Christmas was usually a make or break period for us, with up to 1/3 of annual sales revenue being generated over 4 weeks in December. With this busier buying period you also have extra considerations around print quantities, returns potential, price points, HB vs PB and genres . . . a lot of boxes to tick – but it was generally worth it.
I think we would all agree that one of the best things in the world is buying a book as gift, for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. A handy sized tangible product you could wrap up all nice, and gift to someone in the knowledge they would get hours of pleasure from it. We all have memories of this, as both the giver and the receiver.
It has been difficult for eBooks to muscle in on this gifting opportunity; after all, you can't put a bow on an intangible file. But for a whole new generation of people, you're now likely to find that friends are on e-readers like the Nook, Kindle, or iPad, a transition that makes eBook a lot more viable. Gifting someone with an e-book is a lot easier than it seems, and is a lot more popular than some people realise.
Of course, the retailers have been looking at this for a while now. Amazon launched a gifting tool option in 2010 and most other retailers now have a gifting function.
So, why not start thinking of ways to send eBooks as gifts this holiday season and get the ball rolling? For one thing, eBooks are actually very practical gifts - they don’t require paper, they don’t take up space, they have no carbon footprint and they can’t get dirty (every bookworm’s greatest fear). Additionally, they don’t have to be wrapped and can be delivered anytime, anyplace (so you can have first-gift bragging rights, of course).
All the major eReader stores are facilitating the gifting of eBooks, too:
--Kindle eBooks can be gifted to anyone from an order page as long as you have an email address. You can choose exactly when to send your “e-Gift” (scheduling optional), and can even re-send an eBook in case it disappears into a boggy inbox.
--Nook works the same way.
--Kobo works the same way.
--iBooks is a bit different - for now, gift-givers looking to buy an eBook for friends have to resort to buying them an iTunes gift card). Apple needs to do its homework on this one.
The best part? Recipients don’t even need eReaders to read eBooks. Nearly all major distributors of eBooks release them in formats, like .epub, that can be opened with free reading apps on computers, smartphones, and other supported devices.
--Patrick Crowley, Digital Marketing Manager.
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