eBooks have been around for almost 20 years now. However, it wasn’t until the smartphone and mobile revolution that the eBook market really blossomed.
Between 2008 and 2013, the unit sales of eBooks per year went up by almost 400 million. Out of the total book sales worldwide, the share of eBooks is expected to reach 25 percent by 2018, almost double the figure in 2013.
While the US remains the most profitable market for eBook sellers, other parts of the world, especially Pacific Asia, are quickly catching up, and expected to have a major chunk of eBook sales in the coming years.
In a 2013 survey by Statista, almost 53 percent of Americans owned a dedicated e-reading device (Amazon Kindle, iPad, etc.) for reading eBooks and other forms of digital content.
Unsurprisingly, eBook and e-reader sales within the US peaked in the states with the highest average personal income.
I couldn’t find the exact figures for this, but to give you an idea, here are some of the US states with the highest and lowest average income, according to CreditRepair.
In short, eBook consumption throughout the world is on a steep rise and the trend is only going to get stronger. That is why selling eBooks is a popular business among freelancers, solopreneurs, consultants and even small businesses.
For business owners, there’s a huge branding, marketing, and even profit making opportunity in publishing eBooks even if your business has nothing to do with publishing.
Even if you’re not interested in directly making money from eBooks, there are several compelling reasons why you should consider publishing them from time to time.
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People Are Consuming More Content Than Ever Before
Online content consumption is at an all-time high right now. According to Pew Research, nearly 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone device. The majority of them use it for reading online content, which includes blogs and eBooks.
A recent survey by Nielson indicates that almost 54 percent of eBook buyers prefer reading on their smartphones, and an average internet user reads 5-10 blog posts every day.
In short, people are consuming more content than ever before. Which gives you a great opportunity to get your message in front of your target audience that is ready to read it.
Creating, Designing, Publishing and Selling eBooks is Simple
Just a few years ago, creating and publishing eBooks was a real hassle. You had to hire designers and writers who could complete you eBook. You then needed to go through painfully long technical procedures to set up your eBook for download.
You also had to set up your payment gateway and make sure that the whole procedure was secure.
However, creating, publishing and selling eBooks is a lot easier thanks to different user-friendly tools that are available to everyone on the web.
For example, instead of hiring a designer to create a book cover design, you can simply use Canva to create amazingly professional and eye-catching eBook covers.
Instead of hiring an editor to look for mistakes in your content, you can use Grammarly and instantly detect mistakes and irregularities.
And instead of hiring expensive website developers to add e-commerce features to your website and set your eBook up for download, you can use Selz, a tool that makes digital selling simple and easy.
Selz manages everything from setting up your eBook for download, to payment collection (if you’re selling it), and integration with popular email services like MailCimp and AWeber. You can also mark your product as free, if it’s just a giveaway.
In short, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to create, publish and sell eBooks. You can do it yourself using the countless tools that are available on the web.
eBooks Increase the Credibility of Your Business
Publishing eBooks is a great way to differentiate your business from your competitors and build credibility in the eyes of your potential customers.
For example, if you have a design agency, you’d appear much more credible if you have a couple of detailed eBooks on your website related to the different aspects of web design.
Studies suggest that nearly 57 percent consumers consider companies that publish industry specific eBooks more trustworthy, even if they don’t read them.
By publishing an eBook, you’d be able to demonstrate your industry knowledge and address a particular topic in much more detail than a blog post. Your readers and potential customers will be exposed to your content for longer periods of time, which will give you a better opportunity to make a positive impression on them.
eBooks Help You Build Your Email List
Did you know that 91 percent of US consumers check their email every day?
No matter what business you’re in, if you have an online presence, you need to build your email list. A large and engaged email list not only gives you direct access to your subscriber’s email inbox but also becomes your permanent business asset that can be used in several ways.
But converting your website visitors into subscribers is not as simple as it once used to be. Now you need to offer something highly valuable to your readers in exchange for their email addresses.
Research shows that eBooks are the most effective email list magnets, and people willing share their email addresses when offered eBooks.
This gives you a dual benefit.
Not only are you getting more subscribers, but your eBook is also getting more readers, which means more consumption of your content.
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eBooks Open New Marketing Avenues for Your Business
One of the great benefits of publishing eBooks is that it immediately establishes you as an industry expert. This leads to several other marketing and branding opportunities.
For example, eBook authors are frequently invited to different conferences and industry workshops as guest speakers and experts. This opens new networking opportunities that often lead to new clients.
Neil Patel, the owner of marketing agency QuickSprout, is a classic example of this. Neil is a sought after speaker, and frequently attends conferences and workshops in different parts of the world – and gets paid for it. He has published dozens of high-quality eBooks on his blog that frequently bring him more visitors, readers and customers.
eBooks Generate Qualified Leads for Your Business
I’ve already mentioned how eBooks are great for attracting more subscribers. But the benefit goes beyond that.
eBooks are equally effective in converting subscribers into leads – people genuinely interested in your products and services.
According to the conventional inbound marketing cycle, you first convert visitors into subscribers, then subscribers into leads, and finally leads into customers.
When a visitor downloads your eBook and becomes a subscriber, he’s already showing a certain level of interest in the information you’re offering for free.
But if your eBook has real value, there’s every chance that this subscriber would want to know more about your paid services. Because you’ve already convinced him about your industry expertise with your eBook.
As a result, the leads generated through this process are much more likely to convert into long-term customers.
eBooks Help You Earn Authority Backlinks and Mentions
There are mainly two ways to get natural backlinks from other high authority websites.
You could reach out to your target websites and request them to link back to you. Or you could create something so valuable, authentic and useful that other people willingly quote you and link back to you.
This is where eBooks are more effective than any other form of content.
A detailed, high authority eBook always gets dozens of backlinks from other websites. When people see that your work is well researched and you know what you’re talking about, they quote you and link to you.
This not only enhances your website’s SEO but also gives you valuable PR absolutely free of cost.
And do you know what positive PR on a leading industrial blog can do for your business? Yes, it can open floodgates of new subscribers and potential customers.
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As a business owner, your success lies in differentiating your business from your competitors, and earning the trust of your target market. Publishing, and even selling, eBooks is a great way to not only differentiate yourself but also to explore countless other marketing and branding avenues for your business. With specialized publishing designing and e-commerce tools available, there’s no reason why you should not leverage this powerful marketing, branding and sales channel for your company.