A present from Ganxy: Bundling and gifting eBooks with ease

As we’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, Ganxy wants to give you, the authors and publishers of the world, promotional tools that make sure you can take advantage of the gift-giving season.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce Ganxy digital bundles and gifting.

bloggift

Putting you in control of your sales and promotions

In the past, to set up a bundle and sell it from one of the major retailers you’d literally have to create a new eBook by combining a few other eBooks into a single file, reformatting it, adding a table of contents, new cover image, etc. Not exactly a spur of the moment decision. And, you’d still be at the retailer’s mercy as far as timing is concerned, including getting approved and changing the price.

Ganxy has changed all of that. Ganxy’s new bundling feature puts you in control of your promotions by letting you choose any of your eBooks that you’d like to bundle and sell together at the price of your choice. You’re not creating a new file that combines a bunch of eBooks – instead, this is a true bundle in the sense that buyers will be getting individual copies of each eBook as part of their purchase. You can change the price and even start and end any promotion at any time you’d like.  Here’s how award-winning author Melissa Foster’s doing it: Melissa Foster’s Holiday Bundle.

Melissa Foster Bundle

          Example of a bundle – Click to try it!

Authors can make it easier for new readers to discover their books. Publishers can reinvigorate backlist titles by packaging with newer titles.

The Holiday Season: There’s no better time for bundling and gifting

How about giving your sales a boost by creating and promoting a discounted holiday book bundle? It’s so easy that you can send one out right now — send in a newsletter to your audience, share on Twitter and Facebook, etc. Here are a few ways you can give your holiday sales a boost:

  • 2-for-1 Discounts: Who can resist a freebie? Choose your combination, 3-for-2, 4-for-1, etc.
  • Daily Deals: Create as many bundles as you’d like as often as you’d like.
  • Flash Sales / Limited-Time Offers:  You pick the duration: 1 hour, 1 day, or any other time.

Your buyers even have the option to send your bundle as a gift! With Ganxy’s new gifting feature all it takes is a recipient’s email address and buyers can send last-minute gifts to their friends, relatives, or just about anyone else along with a personal message for the recipient to see. Tell your audience that if they’re stuck trying to figure out what to give to someone, it’s your eBook bundle to the rescue: they travel with the speed of light! Plus, Ganxy supports all devices.

Another advantage of selling direct via Ganxy

As with any other direct sale via Ganxy, we charge just 10% of net sales. And, you can use a bundle Showcase just like you’d use any other Ganxy Showcase, which means sharing it across social networks and emails, and embedding it on your website, Facebook page, and blog.

So what are you waiting for? The holiday season will be over in a couple of weeks, so set up a direct-sales enabled Showcase. You’ll be bundling in no time.

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

Maximizing the effectiveness of your promotions with direct sales (part 2 of 2)

Keep your customers happy

In our last installment we mentioned a few of the operational challenges you would face if you decided to build a direct sales solution on your own using a run-of-the-mill payment provider. The other side of the coin which is equally – if not more – important to consider is the customer experience challenges you’re going to face. After all, the last thing in the world you want is to sell your audience a great book and then get complaints because they couldn’t figure out how to access it.

Let’s look at a few of the challenges you’d face if you tried to maximize your customer’s experience on your own:

Making sure your customers can access on all their devices:  In the world of eBooks there are several different formats, including the popular ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats, each of which is appropriate for a different device or reading app (more on this). You need to make sure that your customers can read on the device or app of their choice – not yours. Emailing your mother an ePub file is not enough, she needs to know how to transfer it to her Nook. Similarly, simply sending your customers a PDF won’t ensure that they can figure out how to access it on their Kindle, Nook, or smartphone, and even worse, a PDF provides a poor reading experience on those devices.

To get around this, you’re not only going to have to provide customers with the right files, but you’ll need to give them very specific instructions on how to access that file on the device of their choice.

The Ganxy solution:  Ganxy provides guidance to make sure that buyers can access their content on the device or app of their choice. For any eBook file we’re provided, we’ll make sure that the buyer is presented with clear and specific instructions to access it on the appropriate device or app. Want to make sure your customer can read those Mobi files on the Kindle, ePub files on the Nook, either format on the iPad or Android, and so on? We’ll handle this for you.

Ganxy auto-detects the user’s device and provides specific guidance.

Providing Customer Support:  No matter how thorough you are, customers buying direct will have problems, they’ll need direct assistance, and this assistance will take time. Of all the needs that we’ve mentioned (payment processing, file hosting, content delivery, guidance), this is the easiest to underestimate but can be an absolute time suck if not handled properly. It’s the last thing any author, musician, or content owner wants to spend time dealing with.

The Ganxy Solution:  In addition to providing the guidance for devices and apps, Ganxy offers your customers a direct channel to ask questions. These questions range from how to download or transfer a file, to making a payment, to any number of other things.

Handling these crucial functionalities on your own would be an enormous drain on your time and more significantly a distraction from what you really want to do: create and market your content. Shopping cart services aren’t going to provide this functionality either. Other commerce services for digital content may touch on some of these functions, but they fall short in the end when it comes to providing the full service your customers deserve. Ask yourself this question: do you want to be woken up at 4:00 AM to handle a support issue for a customer in Europe? We don’t think so — which is why we do it for you.

Ready to start selling direct via Ganxy? Go to get.ganxy.com/directsales to get set up and you’ll be off and running in a matter of minutes.

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

Maximizing the effectiveness of your promotions with direct sales (part 1 of 2)

In the next two installments of Ganxy’s guide to maximizing the effectiveness of your promoting efforts, we’ll be talking about one of the most powerful ways to boost your sales earnings: selling direct.  Here’s the idea: you’re generating buzz for your content which is translating into traffic. Instead of driving that traffic away to retailers who’ll collect in the range of 30 – 65% of your earnings (Amazon, B&N, and iTunes), why not just sell directly to the customer and keep 90% of net sales?

You can try to piece together all of the functionality required for direct sales on your own, but you’ll face a number of obstacles if you do so.  This week we’ll look at two of the technical and operational issues you’ll face if you go at it alone, namely: 1) payment processing and 2) hosting & delivering content.  We’ll also show you how Ganxy enables you to handle these challenges with ease.

Payment processing:  You’ll need to offer your customers a quick and convenient way to pay. There are plenty of companies out there that let you process payments, but integrating them into your site could require programming work and ongoing maintenance (services like PayPal simplify this process, but they have other limitations, described below). Moreover, regardless of the payment provider, you’ll be responsible for dealing with payment errors and customer refunds (these are a major pain as they often require back and forth with the payment provider and the customer).

The Ganxy solution: The Ganxy team comprises technical specialists who have worked on perfecting payment service integration so you don’t have to. We interface with payment processing services and handle refunds and payment errors so that you don’t have to. We keep tabs on changes to payment systems and update things on our end to make sure the buyer’s experience is always great.

Hosting files and delivering content:  If you go the route of integrating a payment provider into your site, you’re going to have to worry about getting the content to buyers. Let’s say someone buys a piece of content from you – like your music track or eBook. How are you going to get it to them? Imagine that your album takes off and you have 100, 1000, or even 5000 buyers in a week? Do you want to be emailing individual tracks to buyers after each purchase they make?

The Ganxy solution:  Ganxy handles content hosting and delivery for you. Once a customer has paid, they can immediately download their content from Ganxy.  If they lose a file or want to access their purchase on a different device, they’re emailed a download link to access their own “content library” which works on any web-enabled device. With eBooks, authors and publishers can deliver content in multiple formats (e.g. ePub, Mobi, PDF) to ensure that customers can read on the e-reading app or device of their choice (more on this in our next installment).

Ganxy’s Library

A note about shopping cart services:  Shopping cart systems cover some of this functionality, but they stop short of giving you all of what you need. Some require you to connect your own payment provider account to accept payments from customers; Ganxy connects with payment providers so you don’t have to. Some only provide your customers with a single download of their content (no loss protection, or availability on multiple devices). And they’re certainly not going to provide you with a Showcase to promote and sell your content from your website, Facebook page, blog, and more (more about Showcases here).

And compared to Ganxy, shopping cart services fall short on customer experience. Among other things, they don’t provide customers with guidance on how to access their books on multiple devices, and they offer poor or no customer support. We’ll cover this more in the next installment of this blog series.

The bottom line: Ganxy makes setting up direct sales a breeze

Ganxy has created a toolset that musicians, authors, publishers, and other digital content owners can use to set up direct-sales-enabled Showcases in just a few minutes. We’ve concentrated our efforts on making things easy for you, so that you can focus on what you do best: creating and marketing content. When your customers buy direct via Ganxy, you keep 90% of the net sales (net sales is the price of the book minus any payment provider fees, generally around 5%).

So are you ready to start selling direct via Ganxy? Go to get.ganxy.com to set up a direct sales enabled Showcase, and you’ll be off and running.

In our next installment, we’ll talk about some of the direct sales issues you’ll face in making sure your customers have a good experience.  We’ll expand on a couple of the ideas introduced in the “Shopping Cart” section above and introduce a few more. If you have any questions or any topics you’d like us to cover, don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Read the second installment of the series now 

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

Maximize the results of your promoting efforts: a how-to guide

Ganxy’s primary goal is to offer tools that can be used to promote and sell content. It’s important that we help our customers learn how to take advantage of these tools. And so, today we’re launching a how-to-use-Ganxy article series!

 Let’s begin by taking a quick look at the Ganxy Showcase, which is the heart of the Ganxy toolset. Here’s a sample Showcase. When we designed the Showcase we wanted to put all of the tools that authors and publishers need to engage, sell to, and connect with their audience into a single interface.

Engage, Sell, and Connect

The Showcase contains all the elements necessary to give readers a feel for the book: a cover image, preview, description, and even a video. A well-presented book will get the consideration from the audience it deserves.

The Showcase displays multiple retailer links. Why multiple retailers? Because every reader has their own buying preference and we want to make sure that their preferred buying option is right there in front of them (you can use Ganxy Direct Sales, where you keep 90% of net sales — more on that next week).

You’ll also see that there are sharing buttons to tap into your audience’s enthusiasm, by letting them share and spread the word on places like Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, the latest addition to the Showcase: the ability to create direct connections with your audience. In talking to authors and publishers, they’ve voiced that it’s vitally important to their businesses to build relationships with their audiences. This is why any Showcase can be set up to collect email addresses, as shown below.

Consistent branding across all marketing channels

Another key facet of the Showcase is that it allows authors and publishers to consistently present their books across a variety of marketing channels. Take a look at a recent Diversion Books publication, “Obama: The Evolution of a President” by The Washington Post. Here’s a sharable Showcase page, which is ideally tweeted, emailed, or posted to a Facebook newsfeed. Here’s the same Showcase embedded on the Diversion Books website.

Our “Create once, use everywhere™” approach means that anyone can set up a single Showcase and then use it to promote and sell on websites, Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter, and through emails. Need to update your book’s description? No problem, just make the edit in your Ganxy account and it will immediately be updated across all of those marketing channels. Adding a retailer link? Again, no problem. It will be updated everywhere your Showcase is used.

Voila, the author or publisher has complete control over the book’s brand, wherever they choose to promote.

Go create a Showcase!

Now here’s the really good part: any Showcase can be set up in just a few minutes and can be used to promote any type of content, from books to music to video. There are also no fees – Showcases are free to set up and free to use. So go to get.ganxy.com and set yours up. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Next week, we’ll talk about the more profitable alternative to selling through retailers: selling directly to your audience. We’ll fill you in on how you can set up in minutes and keep 90% of the net sales proceeds.

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair in four paragraphs

In case you missed it: Ganxy launched last week! You can find out more about our launch here and here. Thanks to everyone who helped make our launch a success!

Frankfurt Book Fair/ Marc Jacquemin

It’s hard to believe that it’s over a week now since Ganxy launched at The Frankfurt Book Fair – feels like an eternity for the team. While the learning, networking, and schlepping from meeting to meeting were certainly exhausting, the Ganxy team is back to business as usual and totally exhilarated by what we saw and experienced. 

Here are a few observations we made in Frankfurt:

People are still reading books — physical books: Just as the demise of television has been predicted for years now, so too has the demise of the physical book. Yet, TV has managed to stick around and will certainly continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future. The same applies for physical books. A quick walk through the halls made this pretty clear. Not to say that things aren’t rapidly changing, but physical books aren’t out of the game yet.

Europeans are putting the right eBook infrastructure in place: While the continental European eBook market is lagging behind the US and the UK in terms of adoption, the Europeans certainly aren’t wasting any time getting the right pieces in place to create, drive, and take advantage of the burgeoning market. Check out companies like epubli.com and Bookwire to name a couple. These companies look just as impressive – if not more so – than their US and UK-based equivalents.

If you want them to buy, make sure they can sample: One of the points that we heard repeatedly mentioned in conversations and panels is that when customers purchase online, the ability to preview or sample the book is crucial to making that final decision. One thing for those promoting books to think about is how they’re going to make sure that their customers have a good experience when it comes to getting a feel for a book. Will reading a PDF on a tiny phone screen suffice? Remember, anything that detracts from the brand of your book as part of the book-buying experience will ultimately cost your book sales and popularity.

Last but not least, embrace the change! Sure, we’re in a time of unprecedented technological change, and the future feels more unpredictable than ever, but we at Ganxy believe that the opportunities are aplenty for those who are willing to optimistically embrace the change around them. Look to publishers like O’Reilly, OR Books, and Profile Books who are taking new and bold steps. You may not necessarily believe that every new thing they’re doing is appropriate for your business, but keep your eyes and ears open and learn from them. There will certainly be missteps among the innovators out there, but through risk comes reward.

Finally, what’s the next step for Ganxy? We’re still on the go, rolling out new features that we’ve been planning for a while, and listening to our new users to figure out what comes next. We look forward to telling you all about those new features in the weeks to come, and we invite you to start a conversation with us to tell us about some of the issues that you’re facing as you attempt to promote and sell your books online.

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

Authors and Publishers: It’s time to take control of your promotions and sales — Ganxy has launched!

Greetings from Frankfurt, Germany. It is with great pleasure that we announce that Ganxy has launched to coincide with the kickoff of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. Whether you’re a self-published author, an author working with a publisher, or are a publisher of any size, our message is simple: When it comes to your online promotions and sales, it’s time to stop worrying about platforms, devices, and retailers and to start focusing on what you do best: creating and marketing books. With Ganxy, this is precisely what you’ll be able to do.

Over many months, we’ve had countless conversations with people in the industry, trying to understand the problems they have. In our last post we mentioned some of the many challenges that you, as authors and publishers, face, like promoting consistently, building long-term relationships, and increasing your profit margins.

And, you know what? We believe we’ve found the solution.

Introducing the Ganxy Showcase

This Showcase was created in just a few minutes. It can be embedded on websites, Facebook pages, blogs, shared via Twitter and email. You can even use it as a standalone microstore / webpage.

We designed the Showcase to engage your audience by offering a number of optional elements like a description, a preview, and more to make sure that they can first get a feel for your book and then decide if they’d like to buy. One of the things that we found while talking to authors and publishers is that video trailers are becoming more important to their marketing efforts, so we’ve made sure that there’s an option to include a video as well.

How do you sell your books through the Showcase? We’ve made it easy to include multiple retailer links so that potential buyers can choose how they’d like to get it. You can also include direct selling for your eBooks and keep 90% of net sales (see a Showcase with direct sales). We handle all the nitty-gritty details like content delivery, payment processing, and customer support.

What about connecting with your audience? Every morning, hundreds of millions check their inboxes. So we built an Email Capture feature to help you connect with them. Turn it on, and let readers send their email addresses from any Showcase so that you can start building long-lasting relationships with them (see a Showcase with Email Capture). If readers miss it on the Showcase, they can also subscribe after they’ve purchased from Ganxy. It’s your popularity or marketing efforts that have generated the attention, so make sure you can build those connections.

So there you have it. We’re sure you’re curious to know what the pricing is. We’re happy to say that you can create unlimited, fully-featured showcases for free. To get started with your first Showcase, go to ganxy.com. It takes just a few minutes to set one up.

Go and set up your first Showcase!

Thanks for reading, and more importantly thanks for using Ganxy! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to say “hi,” we’re always here at inquiries@ganxy.com.

We have some great features in the pipeline for the coming weeks, stay tuned!

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.

4 steps authors and publishers must take to survive and thrive

It’s no exaggeration (and certainly not breaking news) to say that the publishing industry is being rocked by a number of trends. To name a few: the continual movement of book sales away from bookstores to online retailers, the proliferation of new reading platforms and devices, the increase in the number of eBooks as a portion of total sales, and the inroads that self-published authors are making into the marketplace.

Consider the following:

While some may fear the unknown consequences of these changes, authors and publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the openness of the web and take advantage of direct reader connections as a means of selling and promoting books.

The problem is that publishers and self-published authors are investing significant time and resources building followings on social media, marketing and promoting books through advertising and word-of-mouth, and driving media attention. Yet, when it comes time to capitalize on these efforts, they have one primary option: driving sales to big online book retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.

To be clear, these retailers are of tremendous value when it comes to increasing a book’s discoverability and offering consumers a familiar retail experience. But in the new and constantly evolving publishing landscape, the authors and publishers who will be most successful in the long term are those who find new and innovative ways to maximize the returns on their own marketing and promotional efforts.

Here are a few steps that authors and publishers can take to survive and thrive in this changing landscape:

1) Start promoting across the web in a consistent way

There are dozens of places an author or publisher can promote books across the web: from websites, to Twitter, to blogs, to Facebook, and more.

This raises a few questions: How can a small publisher, for example, quickly and inexpensively set up their website, the author’s website, a Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, etc. so that they’re making the book look good, convincing the audience to buy, and offering that audience the option to get it from the retailer of their choice?

Moreover, authors and publishers pour their passion and resources into developing their books’ brands, obsessing over every detail from fonts, to colors, to images. How can they make sure that potential buyers experience the book’s brand as it was conceived?

2) Start building long-term relationships via direct access to readers

Currently, buyer information (email address, demographics, etc.) is captured by retailers at the point of purchase and, unfortunately, not shared. But authors and publishers are learning that however influential their efforts were in driving sales to a retailer, their long-term success depends on being able to develop a relationship with readers. The ability to capture buyer information is essential to those efforts.

Put another way, wouldn’t it be great if there were a simple way to maintain a dialogue with readers, promote new books to them, or just keep them interested through additional content like preview excerpts of upcoming books? Instead, authors and publishers are generating interest and then giving up these relationships. It’s a bit like catching a golden goose and then being forced to set it free.

3) Find ways to capture a larger portion of revenues for interest they generate

Major retailers like Amazon, B&N, and Apple take a 30-65% cut of sales, leaving the rest to be split amongst publishers, agents, and authors.

Let’s say a publisher is coming out with a new eBook. They’ve spent months putting their blood, sweat, and tears into producing it and making sure that people know about it. They decide to price the book at $5.99. At this price point, they’d earn in the range of $3.89-4.19 per book (65-70% of the retail price).

If they’re successfully driving traffic to the author’s website, Facebook page, blog, and other web properties that they control, don’t they deserve significantly more of the $5.99 sale price?

4) Coordinate book giveaways or other promotions across multiple retailers and devices

There’s no better way to start building buzz around a book than by giving it away for free or even offering it at a discount. Sadly, because of the scattered landscape of e-readers and their corresponding retail channels, this sort of control over a promotional campaign is impossible.

Let’s say a publisher wants to give away the first 1,000 copies of an upcoming eBook for free to a select group of recipients. Since each of these recipients has his/her own preferred reading device, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee accessibility to every consumer through a single promotion.

Moreover, the online retailers are still pretty inflexible with regard to giving away free content. Giveaway capability is either limited in quantity through some retailers, or nonexistent through others, leaving authors and publishers to pay heavily to gift each copy that they’d like to give away. Why should they have to pay a significant portion of the retail price to give away content that they own?

At Ganxy, our goal is to put more power into the hands of those who own and create content by breaking down the barriers between them and their audiences. If you’re selling eBooks, music, or any other product, our platform gives you the flexibility and control you need to successfully promote and sell across the web.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be providing you with more details to round out some of what’s described above, so come back and visit us!

Joshua Cohen, Ganxy Business Development

Subscribe to this blog and get future posts emailed to you.