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The business of digital books. Why should you be in it? | The Man Who Sold the Web Blog

The business of digital books. Why should you be in it?

27 Mar

Before you continue, take a look at this blog post by Bob Cringely. It’s titled Parrot Secrets and tells a story of a guy making over $400,000 a year selling ebooks about parrot training.

Done?  Don’t cheat and skip ahead. 🙂

Now, let’s tie the brilliance of selling a digital book to our autoscale, autopilot, value-add model. 

  • Autopilot – Assuming your info is timeless, you only need to write the book once.  After that, it’s all about SEO, which is something that actually becomes better with age.  Master the 6 levers of SEO.
  • Value-add – Make sure you produce a quality book with information your audience wants.  This ensures your customers will come back to buy more of your work, give you strong reviews, and recommend your book to their friends.
  • Autoscale – Hmm, now how does this work? I actually have a couple of ventures selling digital products, not just ebooks, and have figured out a simple way to autoscale.  However, this methodology is not newbie-friendly.  Just a warning.  Down the road, I may turn this into a turnkey solution or WordPress plugin for anyone to use.  For now, I’ll just describe the process.
    The way I autoscale is by tracking the search terms people use to find my site.  Whenever someone arrives at your site via Google, Google will actually send you information related to that search (e.g. the keyword searched, your listing’s SERP).  Check out this link for more information.

    I record and tally all these searches in a database.  Once a keyword reaches a certain threshold (for instance, 5 searches), my site will automatically create a page for that keyword.  For instance, once 5 people have stumbled across my site using the search term “tropical parrot training book,” my site will automatically create the page “tropical-parrot-training-book.php.”  I do this because now I know this is a subject that my visitors are interested in, so I want a page on my site dedicated to it.   This also strengthens my longtail SERP for that search term.

I hope you found that Parrots Secrets blog post inspiring.  I actually write my first digital book not too long after reading that article, just a little over a year ago.  I’m sure there are a number topics you could write about that many people are willing to pay for.  Your first step is to figure out just what one of those topics is. 😉


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