The Book You Sold Me Is Not the Book I Bought

iStock_000007343809Small.jpgDharmesh Shah  and Brian Halligan  have written a book called Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs.

At the risk of over-simplification, it says stop trying to push out your message; instead, make it easy for others to find you. To find you: in order to buy from you, tweet you, link to you, find out about you, advertise for you, recommend you.

In their clever phrasing of it: stop doing outbound marketing, start doing inbound marketing.

So the story of how I bought their book is perfectly appropriate.

Last Friday morning, I shared a stage with Chris Brogan, Julien Smith and David Maister. Later that day, I got Chris’s daily blogpost, called Inbound Marketing Is For You.

Turns out it’s an unabashed advertisement for the book, leading off with all the reasons Chris is conflicted and hence the buyer is warned (unless, as he puts it, you want to learn some great stuff).

Well, what’s a body to do? I had just spoken with the guy, I believe he’s high integrity, and here he is pitching someone else’s book, with nothing in it for himself. I have to buy it.

So I click on the link, which goes to Amazon. I pick the Kindle edition (thanks Brian and Dharmesh) and select download to my iPod Kindle reader (which is so good I didn’t bother to buy the new Kindle, by the way).

Three minutes after reading Brogan’s blogpost, I’m reading Chapter 1 of Inbound Marketing, and I realize that I’m now living proof of precisely what they are writing about.

Did publisher Wiley advertise it? I don’t know; if they did, they wasted their money, at least on me (though Brogan did publicize them). But Wiley got a sale, the authors got their royalty payment, and Amazon got its ounce of flesh.

For me the customer, I got a book I was confident I wanted, I felt good about the purchase because I trusted the recommender, and I got it fast and easy. Really easy.

Second best of all, the book has already had an impact on me—I’m seriously thinking about how to use it in my business. The authors should be proud.

Best of all, Brogan, Shah and Halligan all get free shout-outs from me; and not only did they not pay me to do it, I paid them!

So, who got screwed here? Who got left holding the bag? No one that I can see. 

4 replies
  1. Dharmesh Shah
    Dharmesh Shah says:

    And yet another good thing is, Inbound Marketing is on the path to truth and justice.

    So, regardless of how everything else turns out, you can be comforted with the warm glow that comes from knowing that you made the world a slightly better place.  As authors, if we accomplish nothing else, that will be worth it.

    Thanks for helping spread the message. 



  2. kathleen
    kathleen says:

    I went to look at the Amazon reviews for it but 18 five star reviews did more to dissuade than convince me. Well, that coupled with the lack of anything hard edged, me being such a left brainer.  Negative reviews are helpful. If it’s a book about XYZ and I’m a complete novice, a negative review saying the book is best suited for beginners will sell me.

    In the end, I’ll buy it Charles because you said it was great. Trust is everything, isn’t it?

  3. Charlie (Green)
    Charlie (Green) says:


    Ha ha, picture me smiling.  Me too.  My first instinct is always to go cynical.  I’m working on that, with some success, but hey, I’m sceptical of all five-star reviews too.

    I think you’re right about the power of referrals.  It’s why I bought the book.  (Actually, now you mention it, Brogan in his review did say if you’re advanced, you know this, but if you’re a novice or intermediate, it’d be great.  OK, I ski the blue trails, that’s fine for me). 

    Edelman’s trust surveys all highlight the power of "someone like me" as being the preferred source of information, increasingly.  I think it’s very true.  If we know someone enough to know what their tastes are, we know enough to accept or reject their advice; and if our tastes agree with theirs, then we trust them.

    That said–I hope you like the book if you bought it!  And let us know one way or the other.



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