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Christopher Knight

The Email Newsletter Publishing Value Perception Paradox
By Christopher Knight

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A friend of mine is doing her MBA on Human Resources and one of her core management classes is analyzing what happens when a print/paper (what I refer to as "atoms") business tries to move to e-publishing (what I refer to as "electrons")... and all of the politics and decision making that creates. One of the distinctions that I pulled out of helping her with her research is this truth:

Fee-based email newsletters on average do not have the same level of perceived economic value as print-based newsletters, yet ebooks can sell for 2-5 times the same price as a print book of the same exact content.

Seems contradictory that the same market forces that allows an ebook to sell for multiples of the price the same information could fetch if it were in a print publication, but the same does not always hold true for ezines/email newsletters. What's the deal?

Even more oddly, the market doesn't have cognitive dissonance (buyers' remorse or regrets) when it finds out that the same $97 ebook they just bought could be had for $19 at the local bookstore in paperback form.

What can we do as email newsletter and/or e-publishers with this information?

If you are a paper "atoms" book publisher, you can look at repackaging your atoms into electrons testing a multiple higher price for the same information. The end product you are selling is two fold: 1) Immediate access / instant gratification and 2) putting the information in a format the market wants to buy "electrons". You may even want to sell site-licenses or include it in the price for employers that will often forward your fee-based ezine to all of their peers intra-company even if it's against the license they signed. If you are a paper "atoms" newsletter publisher, you can add a fee-based e-zine to the mix and offer it as an upsell to your print newsletter clients. You'd be amazed (I know I was blown away) at the number of print newsletter clients who will pay a premium to get the same information in both formats, print and electronic. If you are an ezine "electrons" publisher, you can add a print "atoms" newsletter option at a potentially higher price point than what your fee-based ezine might command. As suggested to print newsletter publishers, you should also offer a combo-deal with both atoms and electron versions of your information. Data point: Most of the print newsletter industry veterans even in 2006 have not figured out how important it is to have a free email newsletter to help upsell the fee-based version... but that's for another Ezine-Tips issue all together. Will there be an atoms "print" version of Ezine-Tips someday? Seems like an oxymoron to sell 'ezine-tips' via a printed newsletter, but who am I to say what the market wants or what it will pay for? :-) What do you think?

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for April 14, 2006

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