Indie Mindshare Offers an Opportunity

Verso DigitalThe much anticipated Digital Book World debut of the results of Verso Digital’s 2009 Survey of Book-Buying Behaviors offered some enlightening data points on consumer reader preferences that “suggest a much greater diversity of opinion among consumers regarding the emerging e-book market than the industry pundits allow,” says Jack McKeown, industry consultant and Verso’s Director of New Business Development.

[NOTE: DBW Members can view the full presentation with audio here.]

Among the findings was one surprising bit of data that could be a sign of encouragement for beleaguered independent booksellers: as many book-buyers preferred shopping with their local indies (21.5%) as with chain bookstores (21.4%) and on-line retailers (20%).

On Twitter, McKeown offered some additional insight: “To turn indie mindshare to marketshare will involve Community, Convenience and Price, online and offline. This much we know.”

[slideshare id=3017611&doc=verso-buyer-survey-100128150716-phpapp01]

Leveraging community both online and offline was a primary theme of our December WEBcast, Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?, and was at the heart of the inspiring 7x20x21 presentation two weeks ago by WORD Brooklyn’s Stephanie Anderson:

I could have taken out ads—not in the NYT, but maybe the Greenpoint Gazette, and maybe also on Facebook. I could have had a sale, which WORD almost never does. People would like that…

Instead [I] started a basketball league.

With Borders seemingly on the brink of disaster, it would seem there’s a genuine opportunity for innovative independent booksellers to step up and convert that mindshare into marketshare, but they can’t do it alone.

What can publishers and authors do to be better partners with their most passionate evangelists?

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