Kudos to the PR team at Thomas Nelson. I thought it was a cool idea that they were offering a free copy of their new book The Faith of Barack Obama to the first 100 bloggers who promised to write a review of it. It's a good, smart way to leverage the blogosphere...but it's not exactly revolutionary, right? That's not the end of the story...
I submitted my request and got confirmation that I'll be receiving the book shortly, but here's where they set themselves apart. The confirmation message also included a PDF file attachment with the first 48 pages of the book so that I can start reading it now. Simple, but brilliant. Even better, thanks to the fact that it's not some tightly locked or DRM'd file I was able to forward it to my @kindle.com e-mail address and it was quickly converted and wirelessly loaded onto my Kindle (and it looks great, btw). After all, I'm not that likely to start reading a 48-page PDF on my computer or print it out, but I'll jump right on it tonight on my Kindle.
So great job, Thomas Nelson team, but I do have one comment to offer that could help make this an even bigger PR success the next time around: The e-mail message that accompanied the 48-page sample made it quite clear that I'm not supposed to share this file with anyone. That's unfortunate. After all, it's just 48 pages of a 192-page book.
My gut tells me that if someone were to read the first 48 pages for free they'd be highly likely to pay for the rest of the book. And if they did read the first 48 pages for free and decided not to buy the book, well, you probably wouldn't have sold it to them without the 48-page sample anyway, so you didn't really lose a sale. Why not let all your blogger reviewers post this sample and offer it as a free download for anyone who's interested?
UPDATE: Thanks to CEO Mike Hyatt and the PR team at Thomas Nelson I'm now able to post and share the 48-page sample of The Faith of Barack Obama noted above. I read this sample and am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the book when it arrives. If you'd like to read the sample as well just click here to download it.