NelsonFree: More Book Formats for One Price

One of the things consumers want in the current economic environment is value. They are reluctant to part with their hard-earned cash, unless you promise to save them money or give them more for the same money.

the first two nelsonfree books

Last fall, we were having one of our Quarterly Leadership Meetings. It was clear to us even then that readers were seeking greater value. We discussed a variety of options, including creating less expensive versions of our bestselling books.

Allen Arnold, the publisher of our fiction division, suggested that we might want to consider making available PDFs, MP3s, or other electronic formats with our books. I thought this was an interesting idea, so we discussed operationally how that might work. We didn’t really come to a conclusion; we just agreed to give it some more thought and come back with a proposal.

However, Joel Miller, the publisher of our business and culture division, took the bull by the horns. He developed a logo and a complete program. He also got two of his authors on board to launch NelsonFree with us. We announced the program yesterday. (See the Publishers Weekly story.)

The NelsonFree program allows readers to experience their content in multiple formats—the physical book, the audio book, and the e-book—without making multiple purchases. Traditionally, if readers want something beyond the printed word, they have to buy another copy of the same book. With NelsonFree, the everyday price of the hardcover book includes both the audio and the e-book.

Accessing the content is easy. After readers purchase a book with the NelsonFree logo, they receive a code that enables them to download an audio MP3 file and several types of e-book files, including EPub, MobiPocket, and PDF.

The first two NelsonFree titles will be available in late March: Scott McKain’s Collapse of Distinction and Michael Franzese’s I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse [affiliate links]. Another ten Thomas Nelson titles will be available in this unique format before the end of the year.

As Joel said in the press release, “The book is, in a sense, trapped by its format. And so is the consumer—locked into choosing one format over another or shelling out scarce funds for the same book in different wrappers. By freeing the book we free the reader to get greater use and enjoyment of our titles.”

After the announcement yesterday, we received a lot of great press. The Huffington Post called it “the biggest news in publishing since the Kindle.” They went on to say,

In the smartest move in years by the troubled book industry, the Thomas Nelson imprint announced a series of new titles it is releasing this year in the ‘NelsonFree’ format.

… taking advantage of the internet and cheap distribution methods, Nelson has dragged the book world into the 21st century…. If Random House and Ballantine and Simon & Schuster and the rest have a brain in their heads, they’ll follow suit immediately.”

Kudos to Joel and his team for a very innovative and timely idea.

Question: Would you be more inclined to buy books that have this feature?
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  • Colleen Coble

    I'm not surprised Superman Allen Arnold made the initial suggestion! He's always thinking outside the box. I love the idea of being able to get it digitally especially. I'm not a big fan of audio books so that wouldn't tempt me to buy a book. I'm a reader not a listener. But if I can get it on the shelf AND on my computer, that's a fabulous idea!

    • http://generatornetwork.com/ Mike Rapp

      Did record companies charge charge customers for the songs, and extra for the CD book? And if they tried, how would the customer have reacted? Publishers need to see their content as format-agnostic, and charge a fair price for the content itself.

      We're exploring this concept with Wayne Watson by offering the audio book free with the purchase of the printed book. It's impossible to compare how we are doing because there's nothing to compare it with, but I don't think you have to be Steve Jobs to assume the customer likes the idea.

      http://waynewatson.com/Store_ProductDetail.aspx?p

  • xyz

    Congratulations to Allen Arnold for coming up with such a great idea.

  • http://www.trishlawrence.com/blog Trish

    Nice job, Thomas Nelson! Way to think outside the box and find viable ways to make publishing work (and to attract more readers!). Kudos to you and your team. That's fantastic!

    Trish
    http://www.trishlawrence.com/blog
    @trishlawrence

  • http://www.harrisonfarr.com/ Harrison

    Not only would I be more inclined to buy books with this feature, I will make it a point to buy books with this feature. Not surprisingly, I'm an average guy with an average busy schedule. So sometimes, I don't have time to sit down with a physcial book. I'm much more likely to have my iPod (audio) or laptop (e-book) with me. However, there is nothing like my favorite chair, a good drink of something fun, and a good book. Having all three versions available is awesome!

  • Joel Bramwell

    As a retailer I think this is an ingenius move! I like to provide options for every guest who comes into one of my stores. Paper will not go away as quickly as some amy think. Buying a book with multiple options carries a HUGE percieved value that will continue to sell the print and create long term customer loyalty! Kudos to Nelson: Michael, Allen and Joel!

  • Colleen Coble

    I'm not surprised Superman Allen Arnold made the initial suggestion! He's always thinking outside the box. I love the idea of being able to get it digitally especially. I'm not a big fan of audio books so that wouldn't tempt me to buy a book. I'm a reader not a listener. But if I can get it on the shelf AND on my computer, that's a fabulous idea!

    • http://generatornetwork.com Mike Rapp

      Did record companies charge charge customers for the songs, and extra for the CD book? And if they tried, how would the customer have reacted? Publishers need to see their content as format-agnostic, and charge a fair price for the content itself.

      We're exploring this concept with Wayne Watson by offering the audio book free with the purchase of the printed book. It's impossible to compare how we are doing because there's nothing to compare it with, but I don't think you have to be Steve Jobs to assume the customer likes the idea.

      http://waynewatson.com/Store_ProductDetail.aspx?p

  • xyz

    Congratulations to Allen Arnold for coming up with such a great idea.

  • http://www.trishlawrence.com/blog Trish

    Nice job, Thomas Nelson! Way to think outside the box and find viable ways to make publishing work (and to attract more readers!). Kudos to you and your team. That's fantastic!

    Trish
    http://www.trishlawrence.com/blog
    @trishlawrence

  • http://www.harrisonfarr.com/ Harrison

    Not only would I be more inclined to buy books with this feature, I will make it a point to buy books with this feature. Not surprisingly, I'm an average guy with an average busy schedule. So sometimes, I don't have time to sit down with a physcial book. I'm much more likely to have my iPod (audio) or laptop (e-book) with me. However, there is nothing like my favorite chair, a good drink of something fun, and a good book. Having all three versions available is awesome!

  • Joel Bramwell

    As a retailer I think this is an ingenius move! I like to provide options for every guest who comes into one of my stores. Paper will not go away as quickly as some amy think. Buying a book with multiple options carries a HUGE percieved value that will continue to sell the print and create long term customer loyalty! Kudos to Nelson: Michael, Allen and Joel!

  • Forrest Long

    What a great idea and what a position to be in the forefront of this. I think it will go over great in today's market. I certainly would lean more toward buying books with these options. The publishing world needs to be enlarging the borders and keeping on the cutting edge.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Such a smart move. Nelson is innovating when others are scratching their heads. I love it. I'll definitely buy books that have premiums associated with them.

    This also opens up an opportunity for publishers to create an opt-in mailing list of those who buy the books and access the freebies. Those who wish to receive ongoing correspondence, updates, offers, etc. This creates better tracking and community building opportunities, not to mention ways for authors to better work with publishers and offer even more resources as part of the "Nelson Free" access – if warranted (free video trailers for Bible studies as an example).

    The "Free" deal reminds me of something I read about Paulo Coelho (if its indeed true), how sales of the Alchemist took off when he started offering ebook downloads. I believe Suzy Orman recently did the same thing. Different than Nelson Free but it shows that giving more often equals selling more.

  • http://www.chipmacgregor.com/ Chip

    One question, Mike: Let's say someone reads the book on his Kindle, gives the hard-copy away to his mom, and hands the audio file over to his buddy who listens to books but won't read them. That builds the book's readership… but haven't we just effectively cut two products out of the author's earnings?

    I'm all for giving books away to build a readership, but I fear the end result of this is to squeeze an author's earnings.

    • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

      Hey Chip, having a book passed along (or sold to a used bookstore) is already an issue with print editions. When you make it easy and cheap, people will do the right thing. You can download almost every album in the world illegally but with the ease of iTunes, that digital store is the #1 seller of music in the world. Plus, of course, books are available to Chip's mom free at the library, where his buddy often goes to check out audio books before a trip. So those free options are already there. The most likely occurrence is that fans of the author will mulitply and his next book will do better. It always happens when people pass along a title they love.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Of course, this is the same issue with any book. You can finish reading it and loan it to a friend. I don't see that as unique here. Regardless, we'll just have to see. Our bet is that it will help drive additional book sales, which will offset any issues like you describe. We are not forcing authors to participate. In fact, all that we asked were enthusiastic about being part of the program.

      We are not making a wholesales, across-the-board decision. We want the empirical data, too.

    • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

      Glad to see you back up and at 'em after your accident. Hope you are well. Valid concerns. I think anyone who claims to know exactly the impact this will have is silly. It's yet to be seen but bravo to Nelson for at least giving it a test run. We all know the traditional publishing model is in need of updating, if publishers don't jump on board with innovation then someone else in the marketplace will.

      This free model may not be a fit for all authors but for those in the business genre, they (the author) normally have some business (speaking, training, consulting, seminars, etc) that is tied into the book. Most of these type authors will benefit from increased cross promotion as a result of this (in my opinion). They are not as tied to book income as they are the up-sell products and services they have the potential to benefit from.Now, a Romance writer who has no back end and is primarily supported by revenue from his/her book might be impacted quite differently. The verdict will be out on that (and the whole approach overall).

      Hopefully Michael and his team will be sharing some sort of stats.

      • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

        Good point Daniel about the way business books work. Unlike musicians, who can give away their albums and then make money on concerts, most writers don't have seminars and lectures to potentially make money. That said, this is not a "free" model. People are buying the right to read a book and share it with others (like they always have) but publishers are taking advantage of technology to let people read those books in any format they prefer. Romance novelists have nothing to fear an everything to gain. I'd love the flexibility for books I buy; why wouldn't everyone else?

  • http://www.chipmacgregor.com Chip

    One question, Mike: Let's say someone reads the book on his Kindle, gives the hard-copy away to his mom, and hands the audio file over to his buddy who listens to books but won't read them. That builds the book's readership… but haven't we just effectively cut two products out of the author's earnings?

    I'm all for giving books away to build a readership, but I fear the end result of this is to squeeze an author's earnings.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Of course, this is the same issue with any book. You can finish reading it and loan it to a friend. I don't see that as unique here. Regardless, we'll just have to see. Our bet is that it will help drive additional book sales, which will offset any issues like you describe. We are not forcing authors to participate. In fact, all that we asked were enthusiastic about being part of the program.

      We are not making a wholesales, across-the-board decision. We want the empirical data, too.

    • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

      Hey Chip, having a book passed along (or sold to a used bookstore) is already an issue with print editions. When you make it easy and cheap, people will do the right thing. You can download almost every album in the world illegally but with the ease of iTunes, that digital store is the #1 seller of music in the world. Plus, of course, books are available to Chip's mom free at the library, where his buddy often goes to check out audio books before a trip. So those free options are already there. The most likely occurrence is that fans of the author will mulitply and his next book will do better. It always happens when people pass along a title they love.

    • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

      Glad to see you back up and at 'em after your accident. Hope you are well. Valid concerns. I think anyone who claims to know exactly the impact this will have is silly. It's yet to be seen but bravo to Nelson for at least giving it a test run. We all know the traditional publishing model is in need of updating, if publishers don't jump on board with innovation then someone else in the marketplace will.

      This free model may not be a fit for all authors but for those in the business genre, they (the author) normally have some business (speaking, training, consulting, seminars, etc) that is tied into the book. Most of these type authors will benefit from increased cross promotion as a result of this (in my opinion). They are not as tied to book income as they are the up-sell products and services they have the potential to benefit from.Now, a Romance writer who has no back end and is primarily supported by revenue from his/her book might be impacted quite differently. The verdict will be out on that (and the whole approach overall).

      Hopefully Michael and his team will be sharing some sort of stats.

      • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

        Good point Daniel about the way business books work. Unlike musicians, who can give away their albums and then make money on concerts, most writers don't have seminars and lectures to potentially make money. That said, this is not a "free" model. People are buying the right to read a book and share it with others (like they always have) but publishers are taking advantage of technology to let people read those books in any format they prefer. Romance novelists have nothing to fear an everything to gain. I'd love the flexibility for books I buy; why wouldn't everyone else?

  • Forrest Long

    What a great idea and what a position to be in the forefront of this. I think it will go over great in today's market. I certainly would lean more toward buying books with these options. The publishing world needs to be enlarging the borders and keeping on the cutting edge.

  • Lorraine

    My blind friends will be whooping for joy and hoping other publishers copy your lead! Currently if they want to read a best seller that is not yet available in a recorded format (most often true), they must buy the print book and then, to read the inaccessible print, they scan and save page by page, (or for paperbacks, perhaps 2 pages per scan). They can play the OCR translation to listen to an audio reading right away or save linked files and listen later to the book as a whole. They need one of these devices for independent reading:
    >>$1,000 OCR software, "Kurzweil 1000,'" a computer and scanner/printer.
    >>$3,000 "stand-alone reading machine, (several companies sell as OCR software, scanner, and computer in one device that plugs into electricity):
    >> $1,400 knfbReader Mobile (single language–English, non-translating edition) to take photos (not scan) page by page with the built-in camera of the "cellphone that talks." <http://www.knfbreader.org >
    >> Or, hire one or more persons to read the book to them, or find one or more volunteer readers.

    Yes! This is a grand idea, Michael.

    • http://www.ecpa.org/ Michael Covington

      Lorraine, you are right on track. My wife is blind and is also an avid reader. We do not do the scanning as it is too time consumptive and expensive as you have pointed out. Currently, we subscribe to bookshare.org and the National Library Service which have an extremely limited selection of Christian titles available (mostly older backlist titles). Many times my wife can only read a portion of a series because the other books just aren't available.

      The good news is that the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (full disclosure, I work for them) has partnered with Read How You Want, a company that converts any book to accessible formats (Multiple large print-on-demand formats, Braille, and DAISY) for the visually impaired and learning disabled. We are actively working with our membership to encourage participation in this program. It doesn't cost a publisher anything to do this and they can make any book they publish available. The titles RHYW currently offers are available through Amazon and we are working on other outlets as well.

  • Lorraine

    My blind friends will be whooping for joy and hoping other publishers copy your lead! Currently if they want to read a best seller that is not yet available in a recorded format (most often true), they must buy the print book and then, to read the inaccessible print, they scan and save page by page, (or for paperbacks, perhaps 2 pages per scan). They can play the OCR translation to listen to an audio reading right away or save linked files and listen later to the book as a whole. They need one of these devices for independent reading:
    >>$1,000 OCR software, "Kurzweil 1000,'" a computer and scanner/printer.
    >>$3,000 "stand-alone reading machine, (several companies sell as OCR software, scanner, and computer in one device that plugs into electricity):
    >> $1,400 knfbReader Mobile (single language–English, non-translating edition) to take photos (not scan) page by page with the built-in camera of the "cellphone that talks." <http://www.knfbreader.org >
    >> Or, hire one or more persons to read the book to them, or find one or more volunteer readers.

    Yes! This is a grand idea, Michael.

    • http://www.ecpa.org Michael Covington

      Lorraine, you are right on track. My wife is blind and is also an avid reader. We do not do the scanning as it is too time consumptive and expensive as you have pointed out. Currently, we subscribe to bookshare.org and the National Library Service which have an extremely limited selection of Christian titles available (mostly older backlist titles). Many times my wife can only read a portion of a series because the other books just aren't available.

      The good news is that the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (full disclosure, I work for them) has partnered with Read How You Want, a company that converts any book to accessible formats (Multiple large print-on-demand formats, Braille, and DAISY) for the visually impaired and learning disabled. We are actively working with our membership to encourage participation in this program. It doesn't cost a publisher anything to do this and they can make any book they publish available. The titles RHYW currently offers are available through Amazon and we are working on other outlets as well.

  • little i

    You guys are always cutting edge: i love it!

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Such a smart move. Nelson is innovating when others are scratching their heads. I love it. I'll definitely buy books that have premiums associated with them.

    This also opens up an opportunity for publishers to create an opt-in mailing list of those who buy the books and access the freebies. Those who wish to receive ongoing correspondence, updates, offers, etc. This creates better tracking and community building opportunities, not to mention ways for authors to better work with publishers and offer even more resources as part of the "Nelson Free" access – if warranted (free video trailers for Bible studies as an example).

    The "Free" deal reminds me of something I read about Paulo Coelho (if its indeed true), how sales of the Alchemist took off when he started offering ebook downloads. I believe Suzy Orman recently did the same thing. Different than Nelson Free but it shows that giving more often equals selling more.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Mike, I would happily buy books in this format! It males a big difference. It is nice to have the physical book in our hands, but electronic and audio formats are much more convenient. I applaud Thomas Nelson’s forward thinking with this program.

  • little i

    You guys are always cutting edge: i love it!

  • http://www.chipmacgregor.com chip

    Maybe… But consider:
    1. Passing along a book is understood. This is a change that passes along OTHER products.
    2. Mom can go to the library, but real book lovers tend to buy, not rent. This means she doesn't have to buy.
    3. Nobody trusts those audio books at the library. They're sticky from the previous (gum-chewing) user. Ew.
    4. I understand the point that this could increase readership…but where is the empirical data to back that up? I haven't seen it yet. -chip

    • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

      Hey Chip, if the ebook didn't exist, our hero would buy his hardcover and then (if he wanted) pass it along to his mom or buddy. The ebook version is not another product as such, though there is something to be said for not having to wait to finish it himself to give mom the ebook version. Still the fear that people can get books for free instead of paying for them seems baseless when you consider libraries are in every town in the country and yet people still buy books. (And people who read books in libraries are indeed book lovers, maybe just on a fixed income or elderly or not wedded to owning the book after they've read it like we are. And I know numerous people who travel a lot or commute that do indeed use the audio books at the librarary. My empirical data is the music industry: people who listen to a lot of free music online (at MySpace or an artist's website or illegally) in study after study are shown to be heavy purchasers of music legally, just like folks who buy bootlegs as well as every official album release. You may mock libraries but they exist. People can get every book they want for free with minimal fuss. Stop worrying about what someone might do with a hardcopy of a book they only want on Kindle. Besides, if they only want an ebook version they're much more likely to buy that at say $10 than the multiple format version for $25 which includes a hardcover.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Mike, I would happily buy books in this format! It males a big difference. It is nice to have the physical book in our hands, but electronic and audio formats are much more convenient. I applaud Thomas Nelson's forward thinking with this program.

  • http://www.chipmacgregor.com/ chip

    Maybe… But consider:
    1. Passing along a book is understood. This is a change that passes along OTHER products.
    2. Mom can go to the library, but real book lovers tend to buy, not rent. This means she doesn't have to buy.
    3. Nobody trusts those audio books at the library. They're sticky from the previous (gum-chewing) user. Ew.
    4. I understand the point that this could increase readership…but where is the empirical data to back that up? I haven't seen it yet. -chip

    • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

      Hey Chip, if the ebook didn't exist, our hero would buy his hardcover and then (if he wanted) pass it along to his mom or buddy. The ebook version is not another product as such, though there is something to be said for not having to wait to finish it himself to give mom the ebook version. Still the fear that people can get books for free instead of paying for them seems baseless when you consider libraries are in every town in the country and yet people still buy books. (And people who read books in libraries are indeed book lovers, maybe just on a fixed income or elderly or not wedded to owning the book after they've read it like we are. And I know numerous people who travel a lot or commute that do indeed use the audio books at the librarary. My empirical data is the music industry: people who listen to a lot of free music online (at MySpace or an artist's website or illegally) in study after study are shown to be heavy purchasers of music legally, just like folks who buy bootlegs as well as every official album release. You may mock libraries but they exist. People can get every book they want for free with minimal fuss. Stop worrying about what someone might do with a hardcopy of a book they only want on Kindle. Besides, if they only want an ebook version they're much more likely to buy that at say $10 than the multiple format version for $25 which includes a hardcover.

  • Dean

    Funny thing though…these books aren't available on the Kindle. What I'd really like is to buy the physical copy of the book that I might want to mark up, keep in my library, plus have a copy for the Kindle and with the aid of Whispernet listen to it in my car on the way to work or read part of it on my iPhone and be able to print out pages to hand out. I'd be will to pay a few dollars more for this. To have to pay separate for each version is stupid and so outdated.

    • http://www.popsurfing.com/ Michael Giltz

      Dean,
      Since it's available as a PDF from Nelson, you can just email that version to Amazon (just like you can email any text file on your computer that you want to read on the Kindle) and they'll send it to your Kindle. So though you may not be able to purchase an ebook version of the title at Kindle, you can read it on your Kindle. I'm sure Hyatt will correct me if I'm wrong.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

        He also said Mobipocket (which is the format that Kindle format is based on and is readable by Kindle).

        I think this is a great model. Baen is a Science Fiction publisher. They give away a lot of their books as ebooks (often the first book or two in a series). I have purchased way more books from them because I was able to sample other books by the same author than I would have otherwise. Much of their catalog tends toward military sci fi and I just wouldn't have looked at it except that it was free. I looked the other day and I have purchased $127 worth of ebooks from them in the last couple years, more than all other ebooks combined.

    • http://www.thischangesnothing.com/ Michael Covington

      Ahh yes, but when will they figure out how to let us mark up our Kindle version and have the notes automatically sync with the physical book sitting on our shelf at home? That would be cool!

  • http://www.gabetaviano.com/ Gabe Taviano

    About time someone figured this one out. Props for leading the way with an advance like this. I guess "advance" isn't the right word, I've learned that means something else for authors, lol.

  • Dean

    Funny thing though…these books aren't available on the Kindle. What I'd really like is to buy the physical copy of the book that I might want to mark up, keep in my library, plus have a copy for the Kindle and with the aid of Whispernet listen to it in my car on the way to work or read part of it on my iPhone and be able to print out pages to hand out. I'd be will to pay a few dollars more for this. To have to pay separate for each version is stupid and so outdated.

    • http://www.popsurfing.com Michael Giltz

      Dean,
      Since it's available as a PDF from Nelson, you can just email that version to Amazon (just like you can email any text file on your computer that you want to read on the Kindle) and they'll send it to your Kindle. So though you may not be able to purchase an ebook version of the title at Kindle, you can read it on your Kindle. I'm sure Hyatt will correct me if I'm wrong.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

        He also said Mobipocket (which is the format that Kindle format is based on and is readable by Kindle).

        I think this is a great model. Baen is a Science Fiction publisher. They give away a lot of their books as ebooks (often the first book or two in a series). I have purchased way more books from them because I was able to sample other books by the same author than I would have otherwise. Much of their catalog tends toward military sci fi and I just wouldn't have looked at it except that it was free. I looked the other day and I have purchased $127 worth of ebooks from them in the last couple years, more than all other ebooks combined.

    • http://www.thischangesnothing.com/ Michael Covington

      Ahh yes, but when will they figure out how to let us mark up our Kindle version and have the notes automatically sync with the physical book sitting on our shelf at home? That would be cool!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Scoti_Domeij Scoti_Domeij

    Just wondering…how do you pay the author their royalties, as one sale or a royalty for each version of the book?

    I'm in a singles group that's trying to find a book to study. Many don't like to read, are too busy to read, or are auditory learners. Having a multi-format choice would meet the needs of various lifestyles and learners.

    As a solo mom who had more month than money for too many years, this is a bargain bonanza! I'd give my mom the hardcopy, let my children listen to the i-Pod, while I enjoyed the pdf. I could do most of my Christmas shopping in a couple of clicks on Amazon.com

    By the way, the new way to comment sign-in is sooooo irritating.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      We pay the authors their royalties on the hardcover edition of the book. Neither we nor the bookseller make anything on the other format, so neither does the author. The author doesn't participate in the program unless they want to. It's an investment on everyone's part, hoping that the added value will drive additional book sales where everyone gets paid. Time will tell.

      Also, you should be able to comment without signing in. But if you do sign in, which I recommend, you will only have to do it once.

  • http://www.gabetaviano.com/ Gabe Taviano

    About time someone figured this one out. Props for leading the way with an advance like this. I guess "advance" isn't the right word, I've learned that means something else for authors, lol.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Scoti_Domeij Scoti_Domeij

    Just wondering…how do you pay the author their royalties, as one sale or a royalty for each version of the book?

    I'm in a singles group that's trying to find a book to study. Many don't like to read, are too busy to read, or are auditory learners. Having a multi-format choice would meet the needs of various lifestyles and learners.

    As a solo mom who had more month than money for too many years, this is a bargain bonanza! I'd give my mom the hardcopy, let my children listen to the i-Pod, while I enjoyed the pdf. I could do most of my Christmas shopping in a couple of clicks on Amazon.com

    By the way, the new way to comment sign-in is sooooo irritating.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      We pay the authors their royalties on the hardcover edition of the book. Neither we nor the bookseller make anything on the other format, so neither does the author. The author doesn't participate in the program unless they want to. It's an investment on everyone's part, hoping that the added value will drive additional book sales where everyone gets paid. Time will tell.

      Also, you should be able to comment without signing in. But if you do sign in, which I recommend, you will only have to do it once.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Side comment… did you format the book images in this post via Box Shot 3D? Do you load in the spine and the cover to make them look so good? Love it if you can share your Box Shot 3D settings. I'm having trouble making mine look as good as yours. :(

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, the image was done with Box Shot 3D. However, Kirsten, in my graphics department, did it. I think she may have also used Photoshop to get these two separate images together.

  • http://www.chriscrimmins.com Chris Crimmins

    I think this is just an absolutely fabulous move. And it is nice to see that Joel knocked it out of the park as well.
    We are moving well beyond the personal library in our home study and into the digital realm. I like the concreteness of an actual book. It is the assurance if the power went out, if all technology was lost, then by any light we could still read and learn that which we had invested in.
    I am sure there is a service out there, but the next phase for me is a way to track all of my purchases of any digital media or content. Its easy to leave books on your bookshelf, much harder to wade through the online world to find where you purchased that audio book 5 years ago and whether or not you can retrieve it. Someone will simplify that process I hope. Protecting the digital investment is a necessary step in enabling people to continue to move to this medium.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Side comment… did you format the book images in this post via Box Shot 3D? Do you load in the spine and the cover to make them look so good? Love it if you can share your Box Shot 3D settings. I'm having trouble making mine look as good as yours. :(

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, the image was done with Box Shot 3D. However, Kirsten, in my graphics department, did it. I think she may have also used Photoshop to get these two separate images together.

  • http://www.chriscrimmins.com/ Chris Crimmins

    I think this is just an absolutely fabulous move. And it is nice to see that Joel knocked it out of the park as well.
    We are moving well beyond the personal library in our home study and into the digital realm. I like the concreteness of an actual book. It is the assurance if the power went out, if all technology was lost, then by any light we could still read and learn that which we had invested in.
    I am sure there is a service out there, but the next phase for me is a way to track all of my purchases of any digital media or content. Its easy to leave books on your bookshelf, much harder to wade through the online world to find where you purchased that audio book 5 years ago and whether or not you can retrieve it. Someone will simplify that process I hope. Protecting the digital investment is a necessary step in enabling people to continue to move to this medium.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/KarlaAkins KarlaAkins

    PURE GENIUS! I love this. And all my gadget-crazy friends are going to love this. Thank-you, Mr. Hyatt! Thank-you, Thomas Nelson! WOO HOO!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/KarlaAkins KarlaAkins

    PURE GENIUS! I love this. And all my gadget-crazy friends are going to love this. Thank-you, Mr. Hyatt! Thank-you, Thomas Nelson! WOO HOO!

  • http://www.liambyrnes.co.uk Liam byrnes

    I havent had time to read the other comments so this may have already been said, but I think this is a great idea, I think the clincher would giving away the kindle format/iPhone reader format too (although recently the two are now the same!). Audiobook MP3's are also great.

    Imagine a way of keeping your place in the book and somehow syncing it with the MP3 and Kindle, so you could read your book the night before, pick it up on the audibook in the car, and then read it on your Kindle/iPhone on the tube. Now that is somekind of reading/technology/sync heaven right there!

  • http://www.liambyrnes.co.uk/ Liam byrnes

    I havent had time to read the other comments so this may have already been said, but I think this is a great idea, I think the clincher would giving away the kindle format/iPhone reader format too (although recently the two are now the same!). Audiobook MP3's are also great.

    Imagine a way of keeping your place in the book and somehow syncing it with the MP3 and Kindle, so you could read your book the night before, pick it up on the audibook in the car, and then read it on your Kindle/iPhone on the tube. Now that is somekind of reading/technology/sync heaven right there!

  • troy

    remember this is about creating more "perceived value" and building a more loyal customer base. Today, publishers (companies in general) have to be/must be more innovative and must figure out ways to better add value or they'll erode.

  • http://cid-6dcd8fbdebbe0d75.spaces.live.com/ AuldHouse

    Hi Michael, I plan technology books at Microsoft Press (btw thanks for the having Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points on your list! That book is one of my proudest acquistions.) Our Inside Out series has been shipping for years with a searchable ebook on a cd. We didn't realize how much customers had come to expect it until we accidently shipped the first printing of Project 2007 Inside Out without the ebook. I was amazed at how many readers came back to the author, Teresa Stover, and us wanting their ebook. Readers told me how they carry the ebook with them on their laptops and they felt it was an essential part of buying the technology book.
    Juliana Aldous Atkinson (AuldHouse)

  • troy

    remember this is about creating more "perceived value" and building a more loyal customer base. Today, publishers (companies in general) have to be/must be more innovative and must figure out ways to better add value or they'll erode.

  • http://cid-6dcd8fbdebbe0d75.spaces.live.com/ AuldHouse

    Hi Michael, I plan technology books at Microsoft Press (btw thanks for the having Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points on your list! That book is one of my proudest acquistions.) Our Inside Out series has been shipping for years with a searchable ebook on a cd. We didn't realize how much customers had come to expect it until we accidently shipped the first printing of Project 2007 Inside Out without the ebook. I was amazed at how many readers came back to the author, Teresa Stover, and us wanting their ebook. Readers told me how they carry the ebook with them on their laptops and they felt it was an essential part of buying the technology book.
    Juliana Aldous Atkinson (AuldHouse)

  • Leo

    Let me think here. Spend $xx and get a single item purchase or spend the exact same $xx and get a three item purchase. Gee, that's certainly a tough choice to make. As the kids say, well duh.

  • Leo

    Let me think here. Spend $xx and get a single item purchase or spend the exact same $xx and get a three item purchase. Gee, that's certainly a tough choice to make. As the kids say, well duh.

  • http://robert.epictales.org Robert Treskillard

    Mike, you've definitely gained a competitive advantage here. I thought it very appropriate that your first two titles are:

    "Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails"

    and

    "I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse"

    Hah!

    Since Allen came up with the idea, will this option be available in your fiction line, too?

  • http://robert.epictales.org/ Robert Treskillard

    Mike, you've definitely gained a competitive advantage here. I thought it very appropriate that your first two titles are:

    "Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails"

    and

    "I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse"

    Hah!

    Since Allen came up with the idea, will this option be available in your fiction line, too?

  • tony

    wonderful idea. i will be /actively/ looking to buy NeslonFree books in the immediate future.

  • tony

    wonderful idea. i will be /actively/ looking to buy NeslonFree books in the immediate future.

  • Deborah Piccurelli

    Personally, I love the idea, and would definitely take advantage of such a bargain. As an author, I think getting in on the ground floor of this innovative idea would really pay off in the end.

  • http://livingthebiblios.blogspot.com/ Ted

    Do this with your theological books and Logos!!!

  • Deborah Piccurelli

    Personally, I love the idea, and would definitely take advantage of such a bargain. As an author, I think getting in on the ground floor of this innovative idea would really pay off in the end.

  • http://livingthebiblios.blogspot.com/ Ted

    Do this with your theological books and Logos!!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown thejeffbrown

    Absolutely brilliant. Makes you wonder why no one thought of it before now.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown thejeffbrown

    Absolutely brilliant. Makes you wonder why no one thought of it before now.

  • Andy

    Hurray, hurray, hurray. I am not the least bit surprised you lead the way on this and will do what I can to support Thomas Nelson. Living in Siberia means I can get a digital copy in a few minutes as opposed to over a month for a printed book. Now, what to do the Thomas Nelson bibles and study guides I have using Laridian.

  • Andy

    Hurray, hurray, hurray. I am not the least bit surprised you lead the way on this and will do what I can to support Thomas Nelson. Living in Siberia means I can get a digital copy in a few minutes as opposed to over a month for a printed book. Now, what to do the Thomas Nelson bibles and study guides I have using Laridian.

  • http://biz.blox.pl/ TesTeq

    Great idea! Period. Is it applicable for foreign cutomers?

  • http://biz.blox.pl TesTeq

    Great idea! Period. Is it applicable for foreign cutomers?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/daveanthold daveanthold

    This is a fantastic idea! Many times I do the reverse – buy the audio & then love the book so much that I buy the printed copy – this would get me everything at one price!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/daveanthold daveanthold

    This is a fantastic idea! Many times I do the reverse – buy the audio & then love the book so much that I buy the printed copy – this would get me everything at one price!

  • http://www.billheroman.com/ Bill

    A: Absolutely. I don't yet own a kindle, mainly because I'm a cheap and habitually 'late adopter', but I very much want one. E-books will never replace paper books for me, because I write in my books, creating something unique – a memory of the experience. (I read only non-fiction.)

    If the books I buy were also available in e-format, that would add tremendous value. There are times, as you say, when I'd like to check a quote or a fact and I can't lug all my books around everywhere. A Kindle-like device will be perfect for that, someday. But I am one of those who would always have to buy two copies, because paper books are my top priority.

    If the Kindle were searchable (is it?) that would add a lot of value as well.

    By the way, I don't know what gummed up your RSS feed, but yesterday I had zero posts in my reader and today there are ten. Nice to see them at last. :)

  • http://www.billheroman.com Bill

    A: Absolutely. I don't yet own a kindle, mainly because I'm a cheap and habitually 'late adopter', but I very much want one. E-books will never replace paper books for me, because I write in my books, creating something unique – a memory of the experience. (I read only non-fiction.)

    If the books I buy were also available in e-format, that would add tremendous value. There are times, as you say, when I'd like to check a quote or a fact and I can't lug all my books around everywhere. A Kindle-like device will be perfect for that, someday. But I am one of those who would always have to buy two copies, because paper books are my top priority.

    If the Kindle were searchable (is it?) that would add a lot of value as well.

    By the way, I don't know what gummed up your RSS feed, but yesterday I had zero posts in my reader and today there are ten. Nice to see them at last. :)

  • http://www.doublehdesign.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    This would have nothing to do with why or why not I would purchase a book. HOwever, it would be an excellent feature that I would use once in rare while.

    I am young but "old-fashioned". I love to curl up with a good book. Not an electronic device.

  • http://www.doublehdesign.blogspot.com Lauren

    This would have nothing to do with why or why not I would purchase a book. HOwever, it would be an excellent feature that I would use once in rare while.

    I am young but "old-fashioned". I love to curl up with a good book. Not an electronic device.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    That's huge.I've download quite a few free audio books lately.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    That's huge.I've download quite a few free audio books lately.

  • Mark LaGrone

    I have been wanting this for a about a year – glad someone else had the same thoughts. I believe every book should be this way – I would have paid extra by the way for this. Now if you could just get them to add "ink" abilities to the Kindle life would be perfect.

  • Mark LaGrone

    I have been wanting this for a about a year – glad someone else had the same thoughts. I believe every book should be this way – I would have paid extra by the way for this. Now if you could just get them to add "ink" abilities to the Kindle life would be perfect.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/matthewdbenson matthewdbenson

    Great idea – I like it. Please keep us informed of how you see the success of this over time. Would be interesting to know also if you see other publishers following in your footsteps. Well done for taking this brave step.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/matthewdbenson matthewdbenson

    Great idea – I like it. Please keep us informed of how you see the success of this over time. Would be interesting to know also if you see other publishers following in your footsteps. Well done for taking this brave step.

  • http://www.jjhebert.net/ J. J. Hebert

    Glad to see one of the publishing giants is finally using technology to their advantage! For quite some time now, authors have been offering free digital copies at lulu.com and free podcast audiobooks at podiobooks.com. In fact, this July, Unconventional, my debut novel, will be offered as a trade paperback and a free audiobook narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, an award-winning voice over talent! Folks will be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and listen to my book on their iPods. For FREE. Scott Siggler and Jeremy Robinson have both done this.

  • http://www.jjhebert.net/ J. J. Hebert

    Glad to see one of the publishing giants is finally using technology to their advantage! For quite some time now, authors have been offering free digital copies at lulu.com and free podcast audiobooks at podiobooks.com. In fact, this July, Unconventional, my debut novel, will be offered as a trade paperback and a free audiobook narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, an award-winning voice over talent! Folks will be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and listen to my book on their iPods. For FREE. Scott Siggler and Jeremy Robinson have both done this.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

    I just bought the Noticer because of the promotion. I know my mother in law liked the Traveler (she gave me a copy but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.). I read on my kindle mostly, but like to give books away when I am done with them. So I bought your hardback and will give it away to my mother in law (probably without opening it) and then keep the ebook format to read on my own when I have a chance.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

    I just bought the Noticer because of the promotion. I know my mother in law liked the Traveler (she gave me a copy but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.). I read on my kindle mostly, but like to give books away when I am done with them. So I bought your hardback and will give it away to my mother in law (probably without opening it) and then keep the ebook format to read on my own when I have a chance.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73D7HN524T6LQZYTM7PCRB6A7Y tmabie

    Michael, I don’t know if your read and/or respond to older posts like this, but I have a technical question. (I will be reading your other posts on this topic.)  I recently downsized my library because of a change in ministry.  I gave away a large portion (10 boxes) to a local bible college.  Part of the reason is that we have very small home and we don’t have the room for it.  So I’ve been considering alternate forms of books.  One one hand I like like to listen to audio book as I don’t have the time to sit and read.  On the other hand, I like to have a physical book to make notes in.  So audio books make sense and because of space e-books also do.  however, it’s not alway possible to print an ebook for the purpose of making notes.  I know that it may also be possible to do this electronically.  My question: what format is the best format to be able to print from.  Thanks, Michael.  Looking forward to your response.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t think you could print either one. But on an e-book, you can take your notes right from within the book. Thanks.