The Hidden Benefits of Reading an eBook by Lynne Garner
I was recently reading a book by Paul Mckenna entitled I Can Make You Rich. He includes a quote from Sol Kurzner (billionaire hotelier), which says "you've got to be totally in love with what you do because you are going to be spending a lot of time doing it." Thankfully I love writing but I'm not a marketer, hence reading Paul McKenna's book. Until reading this book I was trying to sell a product, my eBooks. But apparently I should have been looking at it from a different angle. This being people buy something because of the benefit owning that item has.
This got me thinking about my eBooks and why someone would purchase them. My first response was, "well they're to be read by children and adults for entertainment." Although this is true this is not what the book described as a benefit. So I did a little research and discovered there have been many studies into the relationship between fostering the habit of reading in children from an early age and their success later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "strongly recommends reading to children every day, starting after they are first born," because "reading stimulates the development of the brain, language and a closer emotional relationship with a child."
With this in mind I looked at the stories I've turned into eBooks in a different light. For example my picture eBook Captain and Nugget hopefully covers the theme of sharing in an entertaining way. But the added bonus to the purchaser is that reading it to a child has hidden life changing benefits. I then discovered that a study conducted in a Rhode Island Hospital, USA compared two groups of eight months old. One group was read to often whilst babies, while the others was not. It was found those who were read to have their “receptive” vocabularies (number of words they understand) increased by 40 per, while the non-reading group increased by only 16 per cent.
I found these numbers to be impressive and continued to research. I then came across this quote:
"Research findings in applied linguistics and reading research consistently show a strong correlation between reading proficiency and academic success at all ages, from the primary school right through to university level: students who read a lot and who understand what they read usually attain good grades." Pretorius, E.
So now when I'm planning to raise the profile of one of my eBooks I'm not going to think, "entertaining story" I'm going to think, "hidden long term, life changing benefit." There can't be many 'products' that can claim that and back it up with scientific studies.
It's the ellision between that general ("ebooks") and the particular ("my ebook") that I find suspect about this type of marketing - the danger is one says about one's own work what is equally true of other works, and that's something I know I wouldn't be happy doing, which is why I think the pitch of the book is the key marketing tool.
It's a fascinating subject - I don't know if you saw Adam Curtis'(one of our true TV geniuses - most recently seen with teh stunning All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace) superlative documentary series The Century of the Self, all about psychoanalysis and advertising and hooking into aspirations
He says being able to read the words on the page is the tip of a huge iceberg - the stuff hidden below is the development of emotional and cultural intelligence and socialisation. He says books and stories aren't read word by word, but in 'blocks of meaning' - which may have as much to do with the emotions felt while being read to, or the sense of culture being passed on.
Hard to sum up briefly!
Dan perhaps that'll be my next blog as I've put a couple of things he suggests into place.