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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writing: Is it a Good or a Service?



I'm currently updating the curriculum for our marketing classes. The textbook our college use distinguishes between editing for goods and services. Then it hit me: what is writing?

If you'd asked me a few years ago I would have called it a good. After all, a good is anything tangible, something you can touch. We buy books so the product we offer must be a good.

Not anymore. With the growth of ebooks, many people purchase works from authors that is not tangible.

Still, to truly be considered a service it must meet 3 other tests:


Services cannot be stored for later sale. In many ways, ebooks are easier to store than physical books. They do not compete for shelf-life. They can easily be sold for years.


Services cannot be separated from their providers. You can't have a hair cut without the hairdresser but you can have the ebook when the author is not present.


You can easily alter the quality of a product for each individual customer. While it's possible to alter an ebook much easier than putting out a new edition of a physical book, you cannot easily re-edit the book for each reader.


Even if you sell primarily ebooks, when people buy your writing they are actually purchasing a good.

So what's the big deal?

Marketing experts will tell you there is a difference between marketing strategies for goods and services. I will go over those differences on my post tomorrow.


Amazon: M Joseph Murphy on Amazon: Paperback and ebook
Smashwords: M Joseph Murphy Author Page on Smashwords
Kobo: M Joseph Murphy Books on Kobo

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