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Long shelf life


The long shelf life of a business book

What is the shelf life of a book? Probably longer than pretty much anything else. The bookshelf is the one that keeps being added to instead of items being constantly replaced. Books generally don’t have a use-by date, even if, just by having some level of topicality to their content, they can often be said to have a sell-by date.

Part of books’ longevity on the shelf is that during childhood and at school, we are taught to respect books as objects and this becomes ingrained in us as adults. When have you ever thrown away a book? You may give a book away, but you wouldn’t chuck it in the paper recycling bin.

So, you’ve probably got bookshelves at home or in your office, with an array of book spines proudly on display. 99% of the time, you won’t get rid of them, even if you’ve not read some of them for years. Because you know that, at some point, something will happen that will trigger you to read or re-read or browse a certain book.

With business books specifically, this “go back to it” factor is understandable. People’s business careers, with their changing fortunes and challenges, mean that advice and experiences which they read about a couple of years ago may suddenly be acutely relevant to helping to fix an issue which has arisen right now. “Where did I read about how x found a way through that? Ah, yes, it was that book about employee motivation, here it is.”

As a result, the artefact of a published book has special power as a marketing tool for you and your business. Business books have longevity to them. Our person’s quotation above - how much more difficult for them to answer that question with, “I read an article on a website a couple of years ago which would help me right now, but I had no reason to bookmark it at the time, let me try and Google it”. That approach may work, but how much more satisfying to reach out to the shelf, have a browse through a book and find exactly what you’re looking for.

And a way to add further to the re-browsing property of your book is to encourage your readers to write their own notes in it. One of the benefits of a printed book as opposed to an e-book is the ease with which your readers can scribble in the margin, turn down page corners, add Post-it notes, fill in checklists and to-do lists you’ve handily provided as part of the format of the book.

What could be better than one of your books starting to resemble a well-used and much-loved cookbook, complete with coffee stains, dog-eared corners, page markers sticking out and scribbles in it?

There are all sorts of ways to keep your brand in front of your customers. Your business book can be a key part of that effort and it’s in no way sacrilege to the idea of a book to treat it as part of your brand.

After all, what other branded business item (as that is exactly what your business book becomes) can retain such power and value for so many years on your customers’ shelves?