1-Click eBook Sampling
This is one of my favorites. Let's say you're showing me a great book you're reading and you think I'd enjoy it as well. I'd like to take a picture of your book with my smartphone and have its ebook sample automatically appear in my e-reader app. Life should be this simple. There's no reason the Kindle, iBooks or other popular e-reader app couldn't do something like this. I read samples before I buy any ebook and I'm sure I'm not alone. eBook retailers need to make it even easier to grab samples on the fly.
1-Touch Index Access
While we're on the topic of simplicity, I'd also like to have 1-touch access to a book's index, right on the page I'm currently reading. Some of today's e-reader apps offer 1-click dictionary access. I want that expanded to enable a quick look-up of all other index entries for the word/phrase I've touched on the screen. Let me hop from here to there without a search step in between. And be sure to implement a "back" button that lets me quicky return to where I started.
QR codes are popping up all over the place. I'm seeing them more in magazines and on displays in stores. They haven't been used much in books and ebooks but I feel there's a lot of potential here, especially if you can offer a benefit to the reader that features more content on a smartphone screen. See my earlier blog post about QR codes for more information.
I'm a sucker for loyalty programs. My keychain used to have a zillion of those little barcode cards on it, but then I moved all that to the CardStar app on my iPhone. Although most of the major brick-and-mortar bookstores have loyalty programs, none of the ebook retailers appear to have one. This could be due to the fact that when you buy an e-reader device you're sometimes locking yourself in to a format (and potentially a single retailer). That's not the case on the iPad though, where I can buy and read products from Apple, Amazon, B&N and others. There seems to be a race to the bottom for pricing but I'm convinced the winners will be retailers who offer something more than just the lowest price. What sort of premium access could be granted to frequent buyers? What are some of the membership program benefits that will build customer loyalty and repeat sales? These are the questions ebook retailers need to start thinking more about. Publishers need to give this serious consideration as well. The ebook revolution is offering all sorts of new opportunities for publishers to sell direct to customers. A loyalty program is an important ingredient for any direct sales campaign.