Re: Do Online Books Increase Offline Sales?

Subject: Re: Do Online Books Increase Offline Sales?
From: Karen Schriver <ks0e -at- andrew -dot- cmu -dot- edu>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:18:47 -0400

> I'm working on an online version of STC's journal,
> _Technical Communication_. The company that we're
> contracting with on this project has worked with many
> prominent scientific and medical journals. They tell me that
> many of those customers have experienced significant
> increases in paper subscriptions as a result of the move
> online.
> --George Hayhoe (george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com)

I suspect that online books may indeed correlate with higher subscription
rates as well as with more sales of paper-based texts (like books) and
auditory texts (like tapes). But I do not think it's a causal relationship.
My guess is that any medium that effectively allows people to search their
interests by keyword, gives them hints of goodies to come in other media
related to that product will promote sales in other media the text appears
in. The key is exposure to a much wider market. Many people who are looking
at technical and scientific journals know how to search for what they want.
Thus, if a peruser was causually interested in technical communication and
had the money, we might very well get subscriptions from people who don't
write or design but who are curious about the topic. I assume we offer
subscriptions for people who don't belong to STC. Is that right?

Because the online magazine might very well increase the numbers of people
who will gain exposure to our area (and perhaps their first and only
exposure), it's important that it's information design be very good. I'm
glad you are at the helm.

karen schriver

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