BRING YOUR BOOKS TO LIFE ON THE WEB
he idea is pretty straightforward: Release a book, create a Web site to go along with it,
and, voila, you’ve got yourself a surefire marketing tool. Just putting something on the Web is no guarantee of success, however, which may be why, for many publishers, this simple formula ends up having a lot of variations. Book-companion Web sites—portals providing access to authors, blogs, online forums, games, contests and other multimedia offerings—play a significant role in the world of online book promotion.
Standing at the intersection of traditional, publisher-designed marketing strategies, author-driven promotion and self-perpetuating “viral” marketing, thoughtfully planned book-companion Web sites offer a wealth of ways to increase sales and enhance a reader’s experience. Strategies for success are driven by the nature of the book and what, specifically, a publisher is trying to accomplish.
The Golden Rule:
Connect With Your Reader
“What you’re trying to achieve is interactivity and connection, connection, connection,” notes Jaime Marshall, associate publishing director at the College Division of Palgrave Macmillan. Palgrave offers more than 200 companion Web sites to accompany its extensive line of online textbooks in a variety of academic disciplines.
The sites feature terms, issues analysis, chapter structures, and a student-and-teacher “zone” designed to enhance the content of introductory-level texts. In “a crowded market full of a lot of books that are 90 percent the same,” offering user-friendly features for students and professors is essential, Marshall says.
“It’s a different realm of creativity in which to beat your competitors,” he notes. “More often than not, we’re thinking about what can enhance the value for students and lecturers.”
Standing out from the competition need not mean incurring big expenses. Where once Palgrave would have hesitated before providing a 200-page instructor’s manual, such materials now can easily be posted to the Web to be accessed anytime in HTML or PDF format.
- PHILADELPHIA, PA