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Introducing Marathon Running

March 28, 2011

   

 

The cover artwork for 'Marathon Running'

Marathon Running: Your step-by-step guide to planning, training for and running 26.2 miles is available now on Amazon Kindle

 

This blog has been running (if you’ll pardon the pun)for nearly two years now. As anyone who has been reading my posts on a regular basis will know, I’m interested in training and racing, and I’m also a bit of a media geek. So, in the unlikely marriage of these two interests, I’m proud to announce the arrival of Marathon Running: Your step-by-step guide to planning, training for and running 26.2 miles.

So, first things first, what is Marathon Running? It’s a practical and concise guide to training for and running a marathon. Packed with tips and advice, and featuring training schedules suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced runners, it takes you through picking a race to recovering after the marathon. At present it’s available exclusively on Amazon Kindle (although Kindle software is available for a range of phones and computers, so you don’t actually need a Kindle), but will be available in other ebook formats soon.

If you want to find out more about Marathon Running click here for more information and some free downloads.

And so on to the media geekery… With the advent of the Kindle, and other electronic publishing platforms, it’s becoming easier to launch a publication that reaches a global audience. Ten years ago – perhaps as little as five or even fewer, in reality – making a book available across different territories (for example, America) would often involve selling international rights to another publisher. At the simplest, you’d still be shipping and warehousing books in multiple locations and taking a big risk with inventory.

Now, however, it’s simple and cheap to publish something internationally and get the product to market without the usual fretting about goods being intercepted at customs. (For example, I once worked on a book that desperately needed to be in the American market for the anniversary of a particular battle in World War II; printed in China, it was held in customs for a month on arrival, thus completely missing its all-important time on the display tables of various bookstores.)

And, once something’s published, it can be updated and tweaked. Books are no longer static artifacts, and errata slips are potentially a thing of the past. This means that I can add to and develop  Marathon Running as time goes on, so I can respond to feedback and actually do something about those irritating ‘If only we’d done X, Y or Z differently’ moments.

While it all sounds win-win, there are a few challenges I’m going to have to overcome if this endevour is to succeed (or at least fail quickly):

  • ebooks are currently a segment of the market, and Kindle is a segment (a big one, but a segment nonetheless) of that market. So, while Kindle is helping independent genre fiction writers do remarkably well, niche publishing to a segment of the market may be dicing this particular orange a little too fine.
  • Discoverability is always an issue with a rapidly expanding medium = just ask anyone developing apps for the iPhone or iPad. In this instance, publishing into a niche may help (because people who come across this ebook will be looking for something quite specific), but this is a title that will never make it into the Amazon bestseller lists.
  • Price points are always going to be a moveable feast, especially with an ebook that’s likely to have seasonal appeal. For example, in theory (although I’m not sure this will actually be the case), the peak in demand for the title should fall around December or January when most runners are starting their training for the spring marathon season. How will this affect the economics of supply and demand? Standard economic theory would suggest the price should increase in the winter (when demand is at its peak), but given that this is an electronic product, the scarcity of supply that usual validates a price increase is in theory irrelevant. Also, there are different pricing expectations around electronic products than print products.

 So, this is my great publishing experiment. I’ll post any interesting discoveries during this process. Geeky, yes. Exciting? Definitely.

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