As you may know, BookShout is partnering with SXSW to allow attendees to buy and receive ebooks at the annual tech conference in Austin, March 13-22, 2015. We are both honored and humbled. It’s always seemed odd to me that innovative and world-changing speakers were on the SXSW stage talking about how they’ve made robotic dogs fly or turned ideas into multi-billion dollar businesses only to then hold a physical book and say, “Grab this to learn about it.” Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with physical books—I own countless shelves of them at home. But they are impractical and inefficient at building viral community. BookShout’s technology will help SXSW invite millions of fans, unable to attend the conference, to participate by using our unique social buying options, text-to-receive methods, and mobile applications.
Our partnership with SXSW is just the beginning when it comes to sharing digital content and connecting people around events—and it’s certainly going to be much bigger than ebooks alone, as digital content takes many forms. In the past, attending the event itself was the only way to participate. Today, conferences, organizations, and companies have an almost unlimited number of options available to ensure the widest audience possible. Here is a short list of ideas that BookShout is currently employing or discussing with various partners:
Codes On Lanyards
Instead of getting a huge bag of print materials upon check in, BookShout can provide unique codes on the back of each attendee’s lanyard so that all the material is automatically available within one app for the event.
Digital Content Before, During, or After the Event
Event planners now have the ability to distribute eBooks and other content before, during, or after the event with email links, codes, text messages or more. Conference organizers are no longer bound by the physical limitations and costs of their event dates—they can time when and how their content is delivered, for a small fraction of the cost.
Bundling Print and Digital
Print isn’t dead. But now groups can be more strategic regarding what they deliver in physical form versus what they deliver in digital form. If a group wants to move half the content in print books and half in eBooks, they can do so. If they want the eBook to come with the print book, they can bundle them together.
Promotions and Campaigns
The sky is the limit when it comes to how conferences can now promote their content. If the organizers want to give away 1,000 eBooks to the first to register or 100,000 samples to everyone, they can do so easily and without sharing all their conference data. We have run campaigns where, upon registration, groups chose one of ten eBooks and received a code at pre-registration. Then they were emailed offers during the conference and sent promotions via Facebook and Twitter.
Rewards and Incentives
Digital books can be used to reward those who are already involved or incentivize people to become involved. Corporations can choose what user behavior they want to reward and use the tools best suited.
Traditionally published eBooks aren’t the only content that can distributed. An organization or conference can distribute its own content alongside eBooks and other content. In fact, it can all be distributed via one link or code. Users can choose to receive some or all of the content.
Event teams can hand out gift cards instead of print books. In other words, you can have pallets upon pallets of print books dropped off at your doorstep, or you can have 5,000 gift cards sent to your desk for easy distribution.
TV, Radio, and Social Media
If an author is on TV, a text-to-receive number can be a highlight on the screen; a radio show wants to promote an eBook, it can be a feature post in their Twitter and Facebook timelines; a corporation wants to create a flashy pre-conference video, the link can be included there as well.
The ease of distribution and ability to maintain the user data while generating more revenue is a big win for any event. BookShout plans to extend eBook and other digital offers to the millions of SXSW fans who will be following online, in addition to the people in attendance.