business news in context, analysis with attitude

Still using traditional methods to reach your customers?

Consider this.

Harris Interactive is out with a new study saying that eight percent of Americans currently use an e-reader, and that 12 percent of people who don;t plan to buy one within the next six months.

Now, that adds up to just one in five customers. Which may not seem like a lot. However, the study also says that the 53 percent of the people who own e-readers read more books during the past six months than people without e-readers.

In other words, the people who adopt e-reader technology actually tend to be the publishing industry’s best customers.

The growing popularity of e-reader technology is borne out by a story from Bloomberg saying that “book sales in the U.S. fell for the first time in six months in July as revenue from printed titles tumbled and purchases of digital books soared. Overall revenue declined 1.3 percent to $1.5 billion in July from a year earlier, the Association of American Publishers said in an e-mailed statement. The group collects sales figures from more than 300 U.S. publishers. Revenue from adult paperback titles, the largest category, sank 10 percent to $111.1 million. Digital-book sales more than doubled to $40.8 million.”

In other words, the tides are changing.

The question is, how many other traditional business methodologies will be swept away by these shifting tides? The shift to e-readers in the book category almost certainly will affect how people consume other printed materials, like newspapers and magazines. Just this week, the New Yorker - one of the most text-intensive magazines out there - announced it was coming with an iPad edition that will be made more robust with videos and other interactive features developed for the technology.

Businesses that depend on traditional information delivery methods for their ads, coupons, etc... need to start considering and planning for the implications of these shifts now.

To do otherwise would be to forge ahead with business strategies and tactics that may be out of touch with what consumers want and how they behave.

And that’s my Tuesday Eye-Opener.

- Kevin Coupe
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