Rewarding Readers– with Ebooks via Credit/Debit Card
At the Digital Book World Discoverability Conference, many of the presenters kept getting back to involving readers in the process. Some also mentioned giving readers “rewards”. At Cool Gus Publishing, we’ve literally found a way to do that by teaming up with a company called Dynamics which is rolling out a new product TODAY called the ePlate™.
We first heard about Dynamics ePlate™ at Thrillerfest this summer when we met with Jeff Mullen, CEO of Dynamics. They’ve won many prestigious business and technology awards. For more information on Dynamics please visit www.dynamicsinc.com.
What is an ePlate™ credit card? Its an app for your credit card that allows you to pick and choose where your reward “points” go. The card itself has two reward buttons and you can change the reward associated with either button. When you make a purchase you can decide if you want that purchase rewards to be applied to your favorite author, aka Bob Mayer, or another product available on this system. Eventually, we will expand this system and have an app for Cool Gus Publishing, bundling all our authors who wish to participate in the program.
The credit card itself is a bit strange the first time you see it. It’s the same size as a regular credit card, but the buttons light up. The button you push on your card will change the information on the Electronic Stripe™. We all use a credit card, so imagine checking into a hotel and immediately getting a free book just because you used this card. Or, with the push of a button, get something else. That’s the unique beauty of this system, you can choose where your points go, instead of different credit cards for different things.
And you’re not limited to two experiences. Through the bank’s website, the Dynamics’ Experience Manager™ provides you with a list of all possible experiences you can earn points toward. The last we heard, Dynamics is starting with over 25 apps, including Dark Horse Comics, Upper Deck and the charity Toys For Tots. You simply select the experience and link it to the button on your card.
Here is how the app will work for the Bob Mayer experience and where we think it can expand our audience:
The first $25.00 you spend using the app, the user will get a free eBook. The ebook is delivered instantly to the customer’s mobile phone the second the purchase is completed. Subsequent purchases help earn additional books in the collection. Once the reader has all the books available through the experience, they will receive something very unique—a way of participating in the creative process of a book.
They get a pre-publication exclusive (The Authors Edition) of the book I am currently writing as soon as he finished the first draft. This version of the work will also include extra chapters and other exclusive content only available to Dynamics ePlate™ users. This is a way to get eBooks before anyone else. In fact, it allows you to be a “Beta reader” on my next book, because there will also be an email address at the front of the book where you can send comments and suggestions that I can look at during re-write. I view this as a win-win for both reader and writer.
To be honest, I didn’t think this app would draw in many people because it’s well, about books, not airline miles or hotel rooms. We worked with Dynamics on the reward structure and the uploading of titles and covers, etc. But on a conference call, Jeff told us that in Beta testing of 26 apps, mine was the 4th most popular, which really caught my attention.
Then, of course, my worry was that giving away free eBooks would drain readers away from my sales at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, our web site, etc. But thinking it through, I realized it wouldn’t. It would actually attract readers as we’re opening up access to my books to an entire audience that would never have experienced them. Also, we’re not giving away ALL my books. For example, the first three books in my Atlantis series will be in the system, but not the last three.
This is a really innovative way for readers to connect with my writing in a new way. It’s also a great way for new readers to find an author they have never read before.
For the Bob Mayer experience, please go to http://www.dynamicsinc.com/bobmayer.
I’ll follow up this blog post in a few months to give a recap of our experience with this innovation.