Yesterday we brought you the news that Borders’ new e-bookstore was open for business and that the company has stated intentions to control 17% of the e-book market by next July. In just one year the company plans to turn in their neophyte card for market leader credentials.
Border is a massive weight in the print world, controlling some 10% of books sold in the United States. How well the company can translate its offline success to the digital world remains to be seen, but the company has large plans to do just that. Borders is refusing to go quietly into the night, and is dead-set on making out well in the world of electronic ink.
To grow to own one-sixth of the e-book market in the next 12 months, Borders intends to sample from and employ the following methods to attract new customers, reward recurring readers, and to chase its rivals who have been in the market longer than itself.
- Give away five free e-books, which are no-cost only if downloaded between July 9th and July11th. This is Borders’ initial push to grab a starter set of users. Instead of heavily discounting books to get the ball rolling, Borders wants to shower gifts on their first few thousand new digital friends.
- Possible heavy discounting for some books. Even while agency pricing is becoming the norm across the electronic world of books, Borders can and might do some discounting to tout a price differential between itself and the other electronic platforms in the market. Losing money to gain market share is perhaps the simplest (if also often the most expensive) way to quickly gain marketshare.
- A membership program that readers can pay for that will have contain perks and add-ons. This is perhaps the strongest promotional method that Borders could wish to have, if they can pull it off. Assuming that they could sign up a percentage of the reading public, not only would those people be paying Borders a small amount every month, but Borders would have a locked up audience of loyal customers it could trust to purchase only from them.
- Use its massive retail clout to push their platform. This goes without saying, but Borders can and needs to put the pedal on the floor in their more than 700 stores to push their digital wares.
- Leverage 10 million unique hits a month to Borders.com, and the corporate email list of 38 million addresses.
Borders sees the writing on the wall: e-books are no longer an idea for where the market is headed, instead they are now a medium unto themselves. Evidence that e-books have left their market childhood is evidenced by the fact that popular author James Patterson has now sold over one million electronic books.
The current war over the future of reading will not have a victor this year, or the next, but it will have market leaders. Borders wants to catch and beat Amazon at their own game, and seem to have the tools to do so. We will continue to watch the space carefully, more as it comes.