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My 'Finance' Balance Sheet: The E-book Business [part #3]

[Note: If you're not sure what this is, see part #1 and part #2 of this series to get the background info]

4. Starting an e-book publishing business

This is actually my personal favorite achievement at the business daily.

Beginning of 2004 we needed to find new internet revenue sources and new ways of monetizing on the reach, brand and success of the web site.

This was in part due to the increasing demands from our Sweedish owners and in part due to my (mistaken) belief that internet ad spending would actually decrease (which it naturally hasn't, quite the contrary).

At the time e-books were still relatively unknown in Slovenia, with only a handful of commercial e-books published by that time (4 of those by me in 2002; and if I'm not mistaken there were actually only about 5 commercial e-books on the market before 2003). And none of these achieved any success worth mentioning.

The time seemed right and I felt the market was ready. My CEO liked the idea, although he thought we'd only sell about 50 copies of the first e-book we publish.

I had more problems getting the prospective author on board, as she was more in to the idea of publishing her book in print. Eventually she gave in and gave me the manuscript for her book on accounting (balance sheets).

When the launch date finally arrived, some time in March 2004, everyone was sceptical. No one really believed that an e-book would fare well on our market.

They were wrong.

We sold more than 1.000 copies of that first e-book (actually generating app. 20% of our total internet department revenues that month with it), making it the absolute Slovenian e-book bestseller (for more information on how we did it check this article; hard-data included)... and started an e-book publishing business.

Two new e-books soon followed after that, The 1 Minute Millionaire and Unleashing the Ideavirus, both in collaboration with another publishing house that published them in print in Slovenia. Although I don't have hard evidence on this I suspect our e-books actually sold better than the print versions.

The next e-book will be published next month, and then more will follow.

Even though the e-book publishing business hasn't been streamlined yet, we layed down the ground work and defined the entire in-house e-book publishing and marketing process. The e-book publishing opportunity has been turned in to a viable business that works.

In reality, doing this was quite easy and "only" required taking the resources we already had available (the existing internet business and organization) and using them to develop an additional source of revenues and new customers.

And they still have far to go, because I really haven't employed many of the e-book sales tactics that we use every day on the global e-book market.

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