Some posters went up in our building this week, shilling for the cable industry. I’m not sure just who, if anyone, authorized this in-building advertising. But you can feel the stink of desperation here as the monopolistic cable behemoth tries to lure back the cord-cutters: the posters aim to entice with a veritable smorgasbord of deals: free installation, free PVR boxes, even a $10 home phone line if only you sign up right now.
So here is my question: why isn’t the publishing industry trying this hard? Every panicked news story coming from their camp suggests that e-book sales—at least, of the non-indie titles they track—are down, and unless you are publishing Harry Potter titles or adult coloring books, print sales aren’t exactly compensating. And how does Amazon respond to this? With a premium device which costs almost as much as an iPad.
So, why aren’t the publishers trying to woo me back? Why isn’t there a cheap non-Kindle they’ll practically give me if only I buy a certain number of books? Why aren’t they selling a subscription program on par with Kindle Unlimited—or even on par with an X-titles-a-month type of model like Scribd or Audible typically offers? Why aren’t they advertising promo samplers to me, like Tor does, or like Baen does? In other words, why aren’t they cowering in a stink of desperation like the cable people are?
I don’t know the answer. I don’t know why they are not. But I can’t help feeling like they should be, you know? I’d love to see what would happen to the appalling rate of adult leisure reading if the publishers tried half as hard as the cable company is.