I had the weirdest conversation with Seth Godin on Friday. He called up to see if SherpaStore might be interested in carrying his new book Purple Cow which apparently is being featured on the cover of Fast Company magazine this week and also being sold via an offer email to Fast Company readers (you have to love that deal).
I said, well you gotta send a copy to our Reports Editor Alexis whose job it is to review outside reports and see if we should carry them. Then I said, since the Fast Company issue is coming out next week, you probably should email her a copy because if we decide to carry the book, we'll sell more in conjunction with all the promo going on elsewhere.
Then he said, "No. I'll fedex you a hard copy on Monday."
Huh? He explained, "Well, I'm sure you guys are trustworthy, but you can never be entirely safe once your book has gotten out in electronic format."
Which initially made sense to me, especially given that we don't even publish our reports in PDF anymore because too many buyers blithely emailed copies to their friends and colleagues without realizing "hey this is breaking copyright." (Now we publish in single-user-only HTML instead, and 90% of the very few people who complain admit the reason is because they were planning on sharing the PDF with others.)
It was only after I hung up the phone I suddenly thought: Hey didn't Seth's market his last book, The Idea Virus, by giving away electronic copies for free? Didn't he tell me two years ago that it was the best book marketing tactic since sliced bread? Guess that biz model didn't quite work. Old Seth Godin Case Study: