How do you still sell physical products in a digital age? For some firms it’s no problem. Digital toilet paper after all is no substitute for the physical stuff. For many, however, it’s a big question, often forcing them into finding different ways of making money – with newspapers and music being the classic examples.
It’s a challenge for book publishers too, as although the idea of paying for a book has neatly moved from the physical to the digital world – giving the industry a big advantage compared to sectors where the online world means widespread expectation of free products – it’s not a simple transformation from one to the other. Bookshops, second-hand products and other factors all complicate any simple migration from offline to online.
For some, such as me, the appeal of the printed book is always going to be there for I love printed books. I know, however, there aren’t that many others like me.
So it was interesting to see what the latest Terry Pratchett came with when I purchased it (printed version, of course):
A fictional book about trains comes with a fictional train ticket, complete with ticket small print straight from Pratchett’s Discworld.
Of course the music industry tried to keep albums as something still worth purchasing with add ons and extras, such as the mock board game and bank notes included with the Kaiser Chiefs album, Employment. For the music industry, it didn’t have much of an impact.
Will it work for books? If nothing else, it does at least continue the tradition of bookmarks from Waterstones, dating right back to when it was a chain with an apostrophe and just four outlets: