As a voracious consumer of Web content since the early days (and an active blogger myself since 2004), I’ve found one of the most important aspects is the interactive component. When readers of content, like TechCrunch, want to learn more, the hyperlink, author’s Twitter feed, and additional headlines are ready.
I often get lost following the bread crumb trails from one blog post to another and then to a video or Twitter feed and back again. It’s content with context. And those links (as well as searches) drive people I don’t know to my stuff. Contextual links are the currency of the social web.
This interactive component has been non-existent in business books because of the stand-alone, linear nature of the dead-tree publishing format.
With the release of the new full-color Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon a few weeks ago (as well as the Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble Nook) a new kind of business book is born. As an author of seven previous books, I was excited about the opportunities for delivering content in a new way—a mashup of a book and a blog.
Business books on a tablet computer means a non-linear experience and makes the content come alive! You can instantly jump from one part of the book to another. Better yet, now you can instantly link from the book to external content too. In addition, it’s in full color allowing infographics to illustrate key points. It means a book read on an iPad or Kindle Fire is like reading a blog post with links to valuable content from other places. The new book experience means watching the video the author mentioned with one click. It means you can check out the Twitter feed of the expert cited in the text. You can see the cool picture that was once worth 1,000 words.
As an author, that is a terrific opportunity. I specifically wrote my new book Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage to take advantage of these full color interactive components. Newsjacking was conceived, written, and published as an e-book only publication. Because I was able to link readers to the Web for additional content, the book became much shorter than a print business book that typically must include lots of background information, footnotes, and the like.
I’m convinced that this new business book paradigm will aid anyone in learning. It means university curriculums will need to adapt. Textbook authors must scramble. It is a new world.
Incidentally, I’m not advocating that print is going away. Heck I read a daily print newspaper, many print books, and a bunch of print magazines. But strongly believe there is room for both print and optimized e-content.
As my new book was launched, one aspect surprised me very much. I heard from about 50 people who, in less than a day, heard about my new book, downloaded Newsjacking, read the entire thing (which takes about an hour) and wrote reviews, blog posts, or tweets about the book. That never happens with a 250 page print book. That’s the power of a business book mashup.
David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, seminar leader, and bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Real-Time Marketing & PR and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History (written with co-author Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot).
He is a recovering VP of marketing for two publicly traded technology companies and was also Asia marketing director for Knight-Ridder, at the time one of the world’s largest newspaper and electronic information companies. Scott has lived and worked in New York, Tokyo, Boston, and Hong Kong and has presented at industry conferences and events in over twenty countries.