With some non-fiction books that I have found especially useful, I’ve coughed up for the audiobook, e-book and even the paper version. I read mainly on the Kindle, if it’s heavy going I love to listen to it as an audiobook, and then if I want colleagues to share and read the book, I buy one for the office.
I’d love to be able to buy triple-play books – all three formats for a reasonable price.
Today I saw an interesting idea, by one of the undisputed pioneers of self-publicity and publishing – the relentless Tim Ferris. Giving away audio versions of his new book free in BitTorrent Bundles…
What’s a BitTorrent Bundle? I’d not heard of it before either, but it sounds great.
BitTorrent Bundle is an Alpha project, made with and for the web’s creative community. Our mission is to help artists connect directly with fans, inside the content they share.
Basically the Bundle lets you share some content and then give people a key to unlock the rest. In the case of Ferris’s promotion for his new book The Four Hour Chef giving him your email was enough to get the whole audiobook for free.
A quote from Ferris paints a picture of an unbridled success…
BitTorrent Bundle is possibly the fastest way to find new fans online. By releasing the 4-Hour Chef audiobook as a BitTorrent Bundle, I was able to give potential readers an in-depth, multimedia intro to the world of the book. As a result of the campaign, sales of the print and e-book versions of the 4-Hour Chef doubled, and sales of my previous books jumped.
It’s an interesting idea – give away one format to sell another, but it makes sense to me. When you’re trying to get people to buy your book, you want them to engage deeply with your content, but it is hard to tell exactly what a book is like until you’re reading it. We take it on faith that it will be good – a recommendation from someone we trust, a new book from an author we love. If a book – especially a non-fiction book, which begs for re-reading, quoting, sharing – hooks us, then we really want to own it.
This is a case study of one – and from a very popular author. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more examples though – especially from lesser known writers.