The Double Edge Sword of Exposure: Rushing Your Book App to Market

Netflix Qwikster

Your fifteen minutes of fame can quickly become a lifetime of infamy under the double edge sword of exposure.

Reed Hastings, though well-known in the tech community as the founder of Netflix, was not a household name. When he sent an apology email to his subscribers, he became a Netflix household name. Hastings also posted a video on YouTube that started the world to talking.

Dark clouds began forming over Netflix when they announced a price change in their video rental service for DVD home delivery.

The storm crashed down on Netflix when Hastings and his company separated their streaming and DVD rental services into two businesses. Netflix kept their streaming services, but spun their DVD rental into a new company called Qwikster.

I assume Hastings made a calculated risk that his customers would understand and thereby keep their accounts. As I write this article, Netflix’s stock prices have plummeted and their subscriber base has fallen significantly. On a personal note, I believe Reed did a stand-up job of ‘fessing up to his mistakes. I will remain a customer… unless the content goes south.

Many start-ups in the burgeoning interactive book industry are beginning to fan the flames of public attention. Joe Wikert of O’Reily Radar TOC recently interviewed the Jonas Lennermo of ustwo.  The interview went well until Joe asked Jonas about how people will discover his app, PaperCut, in a crowded marketplace. It seemed that Jonas had some difficulty explaining how to scale his product/service.

It doesn’t take a YouTube interview to show flaws or weaknesses in some of the technology pouring into the marketplace. Just visit Apple’s App Store and look at the apps with an abundance of one and two star ratings. While it’s apparent that some people give one star ratings for nefarious reasons, it is also a clear sign that some half-baked apps are cluttering the Store.

Overall, that has not yet been the case with interactive books showing up in app stores. We’re seeing some very innovative enhanced/interactive ebook apps.

New development tools are making their way into the hands of the non-technical book designer crowd. There is a probability that the fart app equivalent for books will also make their way into the store. You can see that happening already in the ebook market; those digital versions of the Harlequin romance novels penned by lonely wanna-be authors. Fortunately, those one star rating reviews have a way of winnowing out the weeds so that the flowers can be seen.

Many developers and designers rushing ebooks to market. It would probably serve them well to pause long enough to polish their pitch as well as their app.

Wishing you a 5-star interactive book.

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