9 Things to Consider When Buying a Fitness Ebook
The following is a guest post from Jon Goodman of the Personal Trainer Development Center:
Ahh, the Internet. A place where anybody can say anything and, well, get away with anything. While print marketing isn’t dead for workout and nutrition books, the Internet has made some massive steps forward. There are amazing products published online both in ebook and webinar formats. There are also a lot of bad ones.
The difference starts and finishes with the gatekeepers that exist offline. It’s safe to assume that a fitness or nutrition book you pick up in a store has reached a minimum quality threshold. Multiple editors have looked over the book and, hopefully, it’s gone through a series of quality-control measures.
Online things are much different. Anybody can publish anything and claim it is fact. The fitness world is unregulated and a simple disclaimer stating the book is not a prescription for exercise, but simply an information source protects the creator.
The result is a lot of abysmal online fitness and nutrition ebooks. These books are rife with everything from bad editing and hard to understand advice to misguided or just plain bad advice. The most rampant culprit is claiming discovery of a magical “system” for solving a common problem that’s supposed to work faster and with less work on your part than anything ever developed.
The advantage of ebooks is they can be published more quickly and are sometimes packed with better information than a book. A writer can publish what he actually thinks in an ebook as opposed to what is marketable to the masses. They should not be ignored, but you should know what to look for when deciding to purchase an online fitness product.
9 Things to Consider When Buying a Fitness Ebook
1. Title and Subtitle
A title is usually a couple of buzz words followed by a sentence telling the reader what they will get when they buy the book. The title is meant to be a draw.
Credibility and experience of the author are both important. They don’t need to have twenty-plus years in the industry, but they should have some successes and accomplishments if they are trying to sell you their secrets. When researching an author you’re not familiar with you should go through a couple steps. The first is to Google their name. I’ve found horror stories published in blogs on ebook authors from their previous works.
The second step is to look into the places they mention in their “as seen in” blurb. Being quoted once in an obscure article for a website allows the author to say they were seen in the publication. Contrast this when large publications only existed in print and it was difficult to get into a notable publication. What I’m saying is, these days it’s much easier to create the perception of importance. Be wary of it.
3. Why Was It Made?
What is the background of the author and why did they write the ebook? Passion always improves the quality of a product. Did the author used to be overweight themselves? Did they struggle with the problem they are solving with their book? Usually in the sales copy for the ebook they will write a blurb about themselves. Look past the emotional mind tricks that whoever wrote the sales copy is trying to employ and check into the story. How much of it do you think contributed to the creator’s reasons for writing the book?
4. What Are the Main and Accessory Components?
A 100 page ebook can sell for $47. A 150 page ebook can also sell for $47. So what many authors will do is split their book up into a series of parts and sell them as different components. The result is a bunch of different valuations raising the perceived value of the whole and making the original $47 seem like less. The question you must ask is, “What are all of the components and how many of them are necessary to your success you hope to gain from the product?”
If the product includes a manual, a series of workout templates, a nutrition guide, a macro- and micronutrient calculator, and a series of expert interviews, which of these are actually important to you? The interviews were inserted to add to the valuation of the product. All of the other components would have been included in the original book and cut into their individual parts after the fact with a valuation put on them. Only consider the parts that you need and ignore the rest when you're deciding whether the product is worth the price. Also try to look past the absurd valuations (we’ll still make them, though) and see what is actually included.
5. Are You the Person the Book Is Suited For?
The best part about ebooks is they do not have to be mass marketed to the public. Since cost of production is low the author can create a product for a very specific audience and still make enough money to make the venture worthwhile. Generally an ebook is created for a specific audience. If that isn’t you then take a pass and find one that is.
6. Has the Program Created Real World Results?
A theory is good in theory but won’t you help you much. Unfortunately it’s hard to figure out whether testimonials are real or forged. In fact I’ve seen cases where ebook creators have been caught fabricating and even stealing others testimonials and before/after pictures for their own work. Look for professional recommendations from somebody you trust before you buy. A good author should be able to get other notable fitness professionals willing to give them a testimonial for their sales page. For the client before and after pictures or testimonials you can do one of three things:
- Assume it’s real and trust the creator.
- Send an email to the author and ask if there was a beta group before the product launched and get details.
- Send an email to the author and ask to speak directly with the client who gave the testimonial.
7. Comparison to Other Established Programs
A lot of ebooks are rehashed materials with a little twist from the original developer of the system. If that’s the case it may be better to go to the original source. A perfect example of this is the huge amount of books advocating different methods of intermittent fasting. Also, if you have had good results with one type of program and want a change it’s good to find an ebook with similar theory. This way you can stick with what works but change it up a bit to keep your workouts or nutrition interesting.
Of course don’t ignore price. For some reason a regular book is deemed expensive at $25 but an ebook is cheap at $47 and often sells for upwards of $67. Part of the reason is that ebook authors don’t expect to sell anywhere close to what a book author would sell. The other, and perhaps more truthful reason is that this is the economy that has developed. A precedent for price has been set for ebooks and that’s just the way it is.
The reality is that even $100 is cheap if the material is good. I charged upwards of $100 for a single person training session. If I were to write an ebook on a workout, it would be the equivalent of at least four weeks of workouts in addition to support materials. All you need is one good workout and a gym membership. It’s a pretty cheap investment really. The unfortunate reality is most people don’t do anything with the ebooks they buy. So $100 is expensive if that’s the case.
9. My Random Thoughts
I’ve published two books in print and four ebooks, plus done the marketing for more-than-I-can-count. My print books have done exceptionally well for self-published niche books selling upwards of 15,000 copies and hitting number one on the Amazon charts. They still haven’t been worth my time if I just look at the dollars and cents. Together they cost me over $10,000 in editing and production costs, not to mention the hundreds of hours it took to put them together. My print books act as my primary funnel. I use them to sell higher priced products and services. These include ebooks written by me or promoted by me that I get a handsome commission for.
So, in closing, the reason why ebooks are priced higher is that they are more specific and niche oriented. A simple “secret to a six pack” isn’t worth the higher price point but a “secret to a six pack for post-natal mothers” is. The author has an inside look at whatever niche they are writing for and the advice contained within the book should be specific to you. Online fitness products are of exceptional value when put together well. Learn to differentiate between the quality and the hype.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.