Like just about anything in life, a “direct relationship” can produce good results or bad results. On the good side, it can cut out a middleman who seems to do nothing more than increase the overall cost (and therefore, the final price) of the product. On the bad side, that “middleman” might be adding more value to the formula than the producer or the consumer would like to admit.
Most publishers don’t seem to have a very good direct relationship with their true customers, the people reading their books. Why is that? It’s mostly due to the fact that the publisher views their job as one of developing and producing the best content available, not providing the outlet for customers to buy those products. That made more sense when it seemed very few people would buy a book without being able to flip through it first. Amazon (and others) have proven that’s not a requirement though – there are plenty of ways to use a website and entice a customer to make a purchase without ever touching the product.
When I buy online I’m often doing it to take advantage of the deeper discount. Just about every book is 30% or more off online, so why pay full price at a brick-and-mortar store? (The answer for most people is “convenience”, of course.) What if you could get an even better deal buying direct from the publisher?
Consider this hypothetical situation: A publisher decides to launch their own “frequent buyer club” where you’ll get a better discount (X%) on each book if you promise to purchase some minimum number of books (Y) over the course of a year. Each transaction is conducted via the web, directly between the customer and publisher.
There’s at least one other critical factor in this decision: the size and diversity of the publisher’s list. My interest in a program like this is directly proportional to the breadth and depth of the publisher’s program. The broader the title list is from that publisher, the greater the likelihood I’d give it a try.
How about you? Would you consider signing up for a program like this? If so, what would the values have to be for “X%” and “Y”?