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Test Driving the Digital Reading Experience Sarah Wendell Smart Bitches Trashy Books LLC - @smartbitches Kate Dugan, Sony USA Malle Vallik, Harlequin Ltd. - @mallevallik
Reduce Consumer Barriers to Going Digital “I would love to try it, but devices are so expensive. ” “I wouldn’t buy one unless I was sure I was going to keep it. And I’m not sure it’s for me. ” “I want to buy books I like, but what if I don’t like reading on a digital device? ”
Why a Romance Website? Because Smart Bitches are awesome. That’s why. We are the readers you are looking for. Over 200 people applied for 30 spots in the Smart Bitches Test Drive. One third were men. All were fiction readers.
Who were the Test Drivers? • Authors • Librarians • Students • Rural retirees • Chemotherapy patients • Avid, eager readers
What Did They Think? Test Drivers were very eager & opinionated. I love having so many things to read, right there in my backpack.
What Did They Think? Test Drivers were very eager & opinionated. Even teenagers think I’m cool when they see me using it. It’s sexy.
What Did They Think? It was so easy to get addicted to reading again. Waiting in line somewhere? Whip out your Sony and get your read on.
What Did They Think? It changed the way I read more than ever, in many more places than I could with a book.
The joy of carrying a library in your pants cannot be overstated.
Sony Motivation • Research shows that trial more than doubles conversion • Sony invested heavily in demonstration in 2008 with our Holiday Reader Revolution program
Sony Motivation • Research shows that trial more than doubles conversion • Sony invested heavily in demonstration in 2008 with our Holiday Reader Revolution program + • Partnerships with Dear Author and Smart Bitches • Romance one of the best-selling categories at the Reader Store
Sony Motivation • Research shows that trial more than doubles conversion • Sony invested heavily in demonstration in 2008 with our Holiday Reader Revolution program + • Partnerships with Dear Jane and Smart Bitches • Romance one of the best-selling categories at the Reader Store + • Many requests for trial programs from different groups, but trial program require resources due to DRM and registration issues – Sarah was willing • Wanted to trial a “trial” program – determine costs, ROI, etc. = • Launch Smart Bitches trial program
Sony Hypothesis • Reality is that even if a small program is successful, it is hard to make it scalable without dedicated resources and strategy • But…WOM is a key driver of sales, so if done strategically, then it can be an important marketing tactic • Book clubs • Travel/Entertainment • Airline • Libraries • Etc
Harlequin • Global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of books for women • 120 books per month • 110 titles a month in 28 languages in 114 international markets on six continents • 1 st publisher 100% frontlist with e. Books • Carina Press: June 2010
Harlequin Reader & e. Book Reader • She is an avid reader (60 books 3 months median) • Uses more technology than she thinks • Once exposed to e. Books understands the benefits: portable, instant • Computer is her first reading choice (because she understands how to download a pdf onto her computer)
Why a Test Drive? • Consumer Confusion –Will I like reading on a screen? –Battery life –Interoperability –DRM / sharing with friends –$ Deals –Collectability / Quantity • Technical Questions –How do I?
Why a Test Drive with Sony & Smart Bitches? • Harlequin is device and format agnostic • We offer content to readers in any format in any way, any time she wants it • Books @ Sony site • $25 coupon – All Harlequin Titles – All had to write reviews
Results • Avidly followed commentary at SB blog • Consumer feedback affirmed need of simplicity, friendly instructions • What the Dog Saw – Ron Popeil, Ronco • Reviews sent to editorial
Biggest Problems Book file formats Book price & availability Software DRM
Lessons Learned Tech-curious does not equal tech-expert. Libraries are critical We are your sales force. Must be quick and easy.
Final Result 83% of us - 25 out of 30 - kept the Sony Reader at the end of the Test Drive.