What can publishers do next?

Imagine you walk into your local bookshop and start browsing. You look at several titles but nothing catches your eye. You look at your watch – almost time for your train home. The book you have in your hand looks interesting. You look at your watch again.

The store owner sees you are pressed for time. He takes the book from your hands and tears off the front cover and the first fifty pages. “Here. Take it with you and read it. If you like it,  come back and I’ll sell you a full copy.”

Stunned, a little horrified at the concept of ripping up books, and  at the unusual sales technique you read the part book on your way home and decide that you will buy a full copy tomorrow.

A month or two later, after you’ve purchased a few books in a similar way from this bookripper, he grins and hands you a full paperback with a difference. It’s free, made up of the first fifty pages and front cover of a number of different books – ten of them. After each book section there’s a page with what would normally be on the back cover and a QR code. Scanning the QR code with your smartphone allows you to buy the e-book version or you are offered a discount paper book at the bookshop.

The bookstore manager tells you the story behind this unusual book. “I get a lot of books on sale or return. I have limited shelf space so most of the books which are delivered end up being returned. The publisher usually ends up pulping them. Rather than pulping the entire book I asked the sales rep if I could return just part of the book and give the rest out as a promotion. He asked his boss and he agreed.  I’ve been doing this for a while and my booksales are up quite a bit. The end result is this new book of samples. If you decide to buy an ebook version – just enter the code on the sticker from the back cover and I’ll get sales commission on that too. Enjoy”

Now wouldn’t that be nice?

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