Chapter 1


As inbound marketers, when we think of e-books, we tend to think of a content type closely resembling white papers: downloadable PDF offers designed to generate leads and sell our product or service. When the general population thinks of e-books, they’re thinking of mainstream books in digital formats, typically on the Kindle or a tablet computer.

As the data I uncovered will show, there is a disconnect between entertainment-related reading in digital format and the acceptance of e-books for business-related reading. People are using e-books in large numbers, but not for business-related reading as much as we’d like.

To begin reaching the larger audience of potential readers who think about e-books in the latter way, we need to rethink how we produce, promote, and distribute our lead generation–focused e-books. This is the focus of this body of research. The class of web users who are already downloading your white paper–style e-books is already sold, but they’re a small segment of your total market. I want to help you move into the scale of thinking like a mainstream publisher.

Survey respondents came from a statistically significant panel system and were not preselected for their preference for e-books of either the mainstream or lead generation varieties. In fact, while conducting this research I did a secondary survey using HubSpot readers and got vastly different results because they had already been sold on the idea of PDF-format business-related lead generation ...

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