ereader and ebookTablet and e-reader sales are soaring, but marketers generally tend to ignore a potential dark horse of content marketing: the e-book. In this article, learn how this form of digital copy can help you reach an expanding tech demographic while supplying your potential customers with interesting and relevant information.

E-Reader and Tablet Markets Growing

In terms of mobile device sales, e-readers and tablets are quickly taking over the market. Tablets were called “one of the fastest growing technologies in history” last year, and their market share only grew in the wake of the 2012 holiday season. As of January of this year, just under a third of American adults owned a tablet computer of any type. Sales of e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Nobles’ Nook, are quickly growing, too. As of January, just over a quarter of American adults owned an e-reader.

This relatively new demographic sector of e-reader and tablet owners present a fantastic opportunity for marketers to utilize one of the most under-utilized long-form content types: the e-book. (The role of e-readers is fairly obvious; if you’re wondering about how tablets fit in, consider the fact that, as I’ve mentioned on the CEM blog, tablet users are the most likely of any demographic to engage with long-form content.)

Why E-Books Are Worth It

You (or your client) might be wondering why they would want to cough up so much dough to produce such a long type of long-form content. More words means a bigger budget, and nobody with today’s short attention span is going to invest their time in a business’ book, right?

Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. One big misconception about e-books is that a “book” needs to be a metaphorical doorstop, but it simply isn’t true. Short, article-length pieces and books that are published serially rather in one piece have proven to be extremely popular in Amazon’s Kindle store, according to AdAge.

And as AdAge points out, the e-book industry is alive and well. A quarter of Amazon’s Top 100 Kindle e-books from 2012 were self-published rather than created by best-selling authors backed by big-name publishing houses. E-reader and tablet users are gobbling up a wide range of content in e-book form, whether on their morning commute or as they unwind after work.

You also don’t have to invest a ton of money into producing totally new content. If your business is already producing blogs, lists of tips and tricks, and guides as part of your overall content marketing campaign, why not turn that content into an e-book? Refreshing and re-formatting previously written content dramatically lowers the investment that would go into writing new content from scratch, meaning that publishing an e-book is actually a fairly low-risk marketing ploy.

E-Books and Your Business

So, what do you write about? Can your business’ writers (or an external writing service) really write a book? Here are a couple of ways that you can get started with an e-book marketing campaign, and maintain it once it’s going.

  • Draw from your blog. Which posts have historically gotten the most comments and shares? These could be a great jumping off point for new content, or you could re-work them into an e-book format.
  • Publish a how-to guide. Consistently one of the best-performing types of content online, how-to guides are a great start for businesses just delving into the e-book production cycle.
  • Involve guest writers. Like you’d have a guest poster on a blog, consider asking an industry thought leader to contribute a preface or introduction to your e-book.
  • Update frequently. E-books lend themselves very well to multiple editions, so if you’ve had an idea for additional content that you could work into an already-published e-book, add in a new chapter!

So far, brands seem to be intimidated by the prospect of creating an e-book as part of a marketing campaign, but the device users are clearly there, and e-books present a fantastic opportunity for unique content marketing. For supplying clients and customers with in-depth, interesting content, there’s really no better vehicle.

Has your business published an e-book? Tell us about your experience in the comments section!

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