When President Obama defeated Mitt Romney to win the 2012 election, ebook innovator Vook had two books standing at the ready. One was entitled Why Obama Lost, and the other was Why Romney Lost. Not very imaginative titles, to be sure, but that wasn’t the point. The purpose of the books was to have a product to distribute to readers the moment the election results were in. It was hailed as not only a striking move for political discourse, but also a highlight of exactly how effective digital publishing can be in terms of getting information in front of readers with little to no wait time.
A book series by UK publisher Politico is taking full advantage of this exact same technology and the identical reader interest to head off the elections. Rather than a commentary on what went wrong, Politico has a line up that includes titles such as Why Vote Conservative, Why Vote Labour, and 101 Ways to Win an Election. These short titles–which tend to run less than 200 pages and cost £3.99 for the ebook–are reaching out to voters with the parties’ platforms well ahead of election day.
And that’s where US politicians would be smart to enter the ebook realm ahead of November 2016, too. With several major figures already formally announcing their intentions to run for President (a year and a half ahead of the elections), there’s certainly time to write and/or ghostwrite everything from their personable childhood tales to their visions for the country. Moreover, the sales of the books could not only support their campaigns, but could also serve as an early indicator of how the public perceives them, especially where the reviews are concerned. It could also give politicians an uninterrupted forum for stating their cases, without having their dreaded and embarrassing out-of-context soundbites peppering the nightly news.
Everyone from sports franchises to public speakers have taken advantage of the ease and speed of digital publishing and self-publishing to produce an informative product, and politicians would be wise to follow their lead. With the increasing numbers of people–especially younger consumers–taking to reading on their smartphones and mobile devices, it’s a no-risk prospect that could stand to have a major sway over the outcome next fall.