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Monday, June 8, 2009

Don’t like the ending? Look online!

With the publishing world in an undeniable state of change, Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson Publishing’s tech-savvy CEO, is taking the bull by the horns by experimenting with digital delivery. A few weeks ago, he and author Colleen Coble offered to readers, via Twitter, a free download of her latest romantic suspense novel, Distant Echoes. Published by Thomas Nelson, the book is the first in her new Aloha Reef series and set in Hawaii. Just recently, Thomas Nelson also gave away a free PDF of its Expanded Bible New Testament – also announced by Hyatt on Twitter.

As many publishers scramble to deal with sales decreases, Hyatt has been forging into new territory. Recently, he blogged about the pros and cons of the Kindle 2, Amazon’s new wireless reading device. As a Kindle user, Hyatt liked its accessibility to over 250,000 titles and fast downloads. However, he believes there will not be wide acceptance until the device has a color screen and touch screen interactivity – standards set by Apple’s iPhone.

An established writer, Coble has adopted a personal and interactive approach to her readers. On Coble’s web site, visitors can: email her; sign up for her newsletter that offers an epilogue to her new paperback, Cry in the Night; see pictures of her family; discover her other novels; or even click on a YouTube link to a video commercial for her novel, Anathema.

What does all this interactivity and digital delivery mean for the future of books? From the looks of it, readers’ immediate accessibility and feedback have already begun altering the way authors tell and publishers sell their stories.

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