What a great promotion this week from Random House. Nice to see Brett Osmond and the team there moving on the ebook front (even if it's a title published a couple of years ago!) For those of you who don't know, they offered Wil Anderson's book "Survival of the Dumbest" absolutely free - as an ebook, as long as you sign up to the Random House newsletter. (See the Random House Australia website for details)
There are several smart strategies employed here by RH. The first is to have the right author. Wil is a popular comedian and television host and people find him funny. He is also active on Twitter and other online social networks, so that makes him accessible and hip. And while he was known to many viewers as one of the hosts from "The Glass House", I think he raised his public profile further with the success of "The Gruen Transfer" on the ABC. Some people may have recently discovered him and may not be aware of his published work. So what better promotion than to offer it absolutely FREE as an ebook. Just having the word FREE will no doubt have lots of people signing up! We're a funny lot.
However, the strategy I think works best is promoting the EPUB format via Adobe Digital Editions. Publishers would like to see one standard ebook format and various Standards Committees have put forward the EPUB version as their preferred option, rather than having to convert to proprietary formats like the Amazon Kindle, mobipocket etc. I will eagerly be waiting to hear back as to how many people installed Adobe Digital Editions and downloaded the book. Of course, the magic number will be how many people actually READ IT as an ebook. And the Holy Grail, whether RH sees an increase in the print sales as a result of the free ebook offer and/or a better sell-thru for Wil's next book which I believe will be released in November 2009.
Either way, it's a wonderful brand promotion - Wil Anderson himself, Random House, and Adobe Digital Editions. Can't wait to hear more about the results....!