Trump, Rich Dad's Kiyosaki put twist on e-book marketing

Their e-signing points to trends in enhanced content for e-books

Donald Trump has trained his eye for promotion on e-books, teaming up with Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad Poor Dad," in a new twist on the traditional book-signing ceremony for newly published works.

Trump and Kiyosaki's co-authored "Midas Touch - Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich -- And Why Most Don't" is being published this week in the U.S. in e-book and traditional print formats. Sitting down Wednesday in a Trump Tower Manhattan office conference room overlooking Central Park, the two author-entrepreneurs appeared in a live chat streamed to Kiyosaki's Facebook page and performed what their publicists said was the world's first "e-signing."

They used an iPad and Autodesk SketchBook Pro software to scrawl their signatures, which were then captured by the app, downloaded by Kiyosaki's Plata Publishing and inserted onto a special signature page that readers will see when they download the book onto their iPads. The special signature page will be available for only 48 hours, in an effort to pump up initial sales.

The book will also be available on other e-book formats including Amazon's Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Though it could be considered a marketing gimmick, the e-signing points to trends in not only how books are published and marketed, but new directions that authors are taking to engage their readers. Books can be a big business and e-books are now outselling print books at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, analysts point out.

Kiyosaki himself has sold about 32 million copies of "Rich Dad Poor Dad," his personal finance book, and the last book he produced with Trump, "Why We Want You to Be Rich," sold more than 500,000 copies, according to representatives for his company.

Using technology to market books is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Rich Dad Co. Director of Technology Shane Caniglia. "Robert is using e-books to engage with his readers in new ways," he pointed out. "We're trying to get involved with community, trying to update books with new videos and content to keep content fresh. We're trying to use technology to create a better relationship between author and reader."

As e-book sales outpace traditional print book sales, the race is on to use technology to lure and retain readers, according to Samantha Adams, director of communications at the New Media Consortium, a nonprofit organization that does research on educational technology. "Publishers are feeling the need to offer new features for enhanced books to stay competitive," Adams said.

Features such as video and other special content for e-readers may not be the main reason to buy e-books, however, according to Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. "The main reason people buy e-books is for the convenience," he said. "We're not at the point yet where most people are buying e-books for the special features," he said.

Nevertheless, new technology is making it easier than ever for publishers to quickly produce e-books for all the various devices out on the market platforms, and to offer a variety of new features, Adams said.

"HTML 5 readers will be able to mirror the beautiful sort of pictures you see in traditional print books," noted Adams. HTML 5 will also allow publishers to write to only one format for all HTML 5 e-readers, she said.

That is bound to help e-publishers. "Formatting for all the different devices on the market can be tedious," said Rich Dad's Caniglia.

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Marc Ferranti

IDG News Service
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