Business books are different

Oct 21, 2014 | Book Publishing

The future of which books?

The Economist published a thoughtful essay on the future of books and publishing. I like it because of the sensible historical perspective. I wish it had more to say about business books.

Business books are different

The “business” in the Economist essay is the business of publishing. The only nod to business books is a sentence where business books are lumped with academic and scientific publishing. But business books are read for different reasons than fiction or even history or biography. They’re bought differently, too.

Business books are read for different reasons than other types of books

People read business books to make progress of some kind. They don’t read business books for an “immersive experience” They don’t read business books for an education. People read business books so they can do something differently when they’re done reading.

Business books are bought differently

Business books are more likely to be bought online. Business book readers are more likely to own the book in more than one of three formats: ebook, audiobook, and paper book.

If you’re writing a business book

If you’re writing a business book, think of it as more than just the book. Think about complementary material on the web and on paper. Think through how it will connect to your blog platform or your speaking or consulting business. Plan the other products and services that will go with the book.