By Peter Duke
Possibly the biggest digital publisher in the region is I Love Books (ilovebooks.com) which is owned by MediaCorp, Singapore’s most diverse multimedia company with interests in TV, newspapers, radio, magazines and new media. A visit to the site reveals a vast array of e-books from a wide range of categories. Their banner headline states that I love Books allows book lovers to buy their favourite e-books and read them anywhere at anytime on their devices.
A new, but currently much smaller e-book store is owned by MPH Digital (mphdigital.my). MPH is a local Malaysian publisher with its own network of retail outlets in both Malaysia and Singapore. From the way the web site is constructed it is only a matter of time before MPH Digital will rival I Love Books for the size and rang of content. In addition, and in line with the practice of their established retail network, MPH Digital will help new authors publish their books.
A number of interesting local providers have entered the market and although these are relatively small publishers when compared to international on-line publishers such as Amazon, they each offer special features.
Both companies are well known for their technical excellence and innovative range of services and sales of high end tablets and smart phones. Because of their dominance in the market they have an excellent chance of maximizing the value of their network in introducing this new range of products and services. However one has to question whether the internal culture and processes of these two companies can be adapted to market and distribute consumer products.
The marketing skills in creating a following in the market for e-books are very different from those required to package and sell mobile and internet based services. The other dedicated digital publishers we investigated demonstrate many of the following marketing approaches:
• there is a match between their products and the company mission,
• their internal culture is aligned with their business model,
• they are quick to market with new ideas,
• they create hooks – price, discounts and competitions,
• they extensively use social networks,
• they use print and TV advertising, and
• they create deals and partnerships
It is too early to say how successful Maxis and Singtel will be but anecdotal evidence suggests that Maxis has not yet fully realised the potential of its business model as ebuuk is not advertised on Maxis monthly bills and Maxis has not yet aggressively advertised ebuuk on TV or in newspapers.
As the availability of cheap tablets grows in Asia and the price of e-books falls, we can expect almost explosive growth in the availability and sale of e-books in Asia in the near future.
Finally in this short article we have probably missed other interesting digital publishers in the region and we invite our readers to tell us about them. [source: Asian Publishing Network)