The Marketing Minute: Help for Untouchability

I’m a big fan of writer and writing practice guru Natalie Goldberg. If I have a writing mentor, Natalie Goldberg is it. In 2008 I went to one of her writing workshops in Taos and took a bunch of photos.

Natalie Goldberg is going to be speaking at our wonderful local bookstore, Bookworks, next week about her new book The True Secret of Writing. I’m always torn when I go to events like this because I want to support my local bookstore and buy the book from them. Yet I’m at a stage in life when I’m trying not to bring home more stuff. Especially since I already have a row of autographed books by Natalie Goldberg on my shelves. And it’s always in the back of my mind that the Kindle edition is less than half the cost of the hardback. Do I really want one more hardback? What if I could get an electronic edition via Bookworks, not from Amazon? I wouldn’t be depriving Bookworks of a sale, and I wouldn’t be dragging home a hardback book.

It turns out that many writers and booksellers have considered this question and have come up with some excellent technological solutions. The latest newsletter coming from  Marcia Yudkin, Marketing Expert and Mentor of The Marketing Minute, addressed some of these new ideas. I’m reprinting the newsletter here:

Traditionally after a talk or reading, an author’s fans line up and buy the brilliant one’s books, taking home a token of their long-awaited experience that night.  Intangible and invisible, digital-only products like ebooks or downloadable audiobooks have much less appeal in that situation.

To replace inviting stacks of books or CDs at the back of the room, place QR codes on flyers handed out to everyone or on large colorful posters at a display table.  Audience members who have smartphones and the right app aim their phone at the code and arrive at a web page where they can buy the digital product.

To provide the delight of being able to walk out with something of the author’s in one’s hands, sell download cards at the event.  These credit-card-sized items show a book or album cover and contain a unique download code the buyer redeems later online.

Both ideas work only for a technologically savvy crowd, of course.  If you’ve gone digital-only and you speak to folks without the requisite tools and buying habits, you have a problem!

Reprinted with permission from Marcia Yudkin’s free newsletter The Marketing Minute.  Subscribe at

My fingers are crossed in hopes that Bookworks has implemented some of these high tech solutions to buying a book from a local bookseller.

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