(Fake) digital scarcity
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Digital products are really different from physical products. One of the differences is that digital products can be distributed infinite times without losing quality and at the same price. The price of distributing one copy is the same price of distributing 2000k copies. This is a new concept in the digital edition world.
Where are the second, third,… editions?
In the publishing world, it’s really common to use as a marketing tool the fact that a book is sold out. Then the publisher waits to publish the second edition. Creates desire. And, finally, the publisher decides to publish a second edition. Is this possible in the digital publishing world? There are no second editions as it’s impossible that a book gets sold out.
We can’t make second editions. Yet we can publish second versions. Second versions can bring the reader improvements, more information, mistakes correction… Then we can speak about a second version, a third version… The reason to create a second version is different from the reason to create a second edition. First version becomes unavailable (then we have scarcity, because the first version won’t be available anymore) and a second version is now distributed. We must take this change in count when we publish digital books.
No scarcity: is this a problem?
Publishers are used to use as a marketing tool the fact of having one book sold out. It creates desire amongst readers. The feeling of not being able to get something makes them desire that something. How can we create this feeling of desire in the digital publishing world?
Fake digital scarcity
We can create artificial scarcity. Fake digital scarcity. We can limit the units of the digital book to 500. Then when a buyer gets the 500th copy, make the book unavailable. This sounds like a paradox and a non-sense, but we can use this strategy to recreate the physical ‘limitations’. This way we can give the readers the feeling of ‘having’ something unique.