e-Book Launches on USB Cards

Ebooks on USB Cards

We love a good read and on our list of favourite books is Douglas Adams fourth book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. It was first published in 1984, long before digital downloads, and long before digital copies were available on products like USB memory sticks.

Today things would be so different! Whilst printed books are making a real fight of things, the future is very much digital - not just e-books, but all forms of digital distribution including books loaded on USB sticks.

PR Launches
Most of the USB card e-books that we see, produce and supply at the moment seem to be used as part of a launch PR campaign. The cards are printed up with the book sleeve, and an electronic copy of the book is pre-loaded onto the card before being handed out to reviewers and journalists at PR organised lunches.

They’re a great way to selectively distribute copies of a new book (before it’s officially available) without having to worry about doing small print runs or setting up secretive webservers with secure logins to allow a digital download. If you are targeting book reviewers and you can excite or enthuse them by giving them the “book” on something interesting and unusual like a USB book then you’re halfway there in terms of getting their attention- ok, we’re not saying they’re going to guarantee a 5 star review but it should help.

They may only make up a very, very small proportion of e-book sales but if you can get your hands on one they might be worth hanging onto, for collector value if nothing else.

Of course the books could be downloaded from the Internet, but if you want to distribute copies of the book before the public release date and you don’t want to go to the trouble is setting up secure website with logins and download options etc then using USB cards is a good way of controlling the book’s distribution. You can’t stop the book being “uploaded” onto a public sharing site, but that’s a risk however you distribute digital copies of anything!

There’s also a real novelty factor to e-books being supplied for review this way, and if they’re posted out it’s significantly cheaper to pop a very thin (2mm card) into a standard letter envelope than pay for package post, as you would have to with a book.

Non-Fiction Downloads
The opportunity for e-books is not just limited to works of fiction. The concept also lends itself to the supply of complex technical manuals, large product catalogues where significant amounts of data are often needed (much of which could be complimented by videos and presentations) and company handbooks.

A classic example would be an international TV brackets manufacturer who posted out a hard copy of their new brochure and distributor/re-seller prices lists across Europe every year. Because of the weight of the catalogue, the shipping costs alone were £10 per brochure. They didn’t want to put everything online though, preferring instead to send something tangible – moving to a USB Card that was pre-loaded with the catalogue saved them 80% of their costs.

With around 32GB of memory available on some of the larger capacity USB cards the amount of information you can include in an e-book or manual is staggering! The trick is to think outside of the box and come up with innovative ways to take full advantage of the flash storage on offer. Don’t worry about the grunt work of loading the data on the USB cards because your USB memory stick supplier will take care of this for you, and most won’t charge if you get your data files to them early enough in the order process.

Musical USBs
Of course it’s not just books that we’re seeing released on promotional USB flash drives. We’re also seeing lots of interest from musical artists who are looking to release copies of their work on a well packed and printed USB stick. A great example is Peter Gabriel, lead singer of Genesis, who commissioned USB sticks and boxes from us for his Back to Front Tour.

Some artists have gone the extra mile and commissioned fully customised versions with a “retro” twist like USB Cassettes – they look amazing, they’re great fun and of course they generate lots of social media interest, chatter and likes which is half the challenge when you’re a young aspiring artist and you’re trying to use all the channels to get your name known.

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