How to do low-end products

  It is impossible to succeed in business just by making expensive things cheap. When lowering the price, it is also necessary not to reduce the high-level sense of the product in people’s hearts.
  Recently I read a book called “The Maverick Penguin”, which tells the story of Penguin Press. You may have heard of Penguin Publishing. It is an old British publishing brand. It was born in 1935 and has developed into the world’s largest mass book publishing group. A very important key to its success is that it was the first publishing house to do mass paperbacks. After reading the story of Penguin Press, I was very emotional. It was really difficult to do paperback books at the time.
  Some people may find it strange that paperbacks are cheap and lightweight, so what’s so hard to do? Everyone should like it very much, aren’t most of our books today also paperbacks? This has to go back to the past, and from the scene at that time, it will be difficult.
  In the past, publishing paperbacks was something that defied the logic of publishing. In people’s inherent impression, books should be hardcover, heavy, and large in format. Bookstores are places where people with a good education in the upper class dare to enter.
  But in fact, there were also cheap books and paperbacks at that time. There was a railway chain of bookstands, which were laid out along the railway, and paperbacks were sold, but no one would regard the books sold here as serious books. The books sold in these places are basically what we now call “toilet books”, which are equivalent to junk books.
  There are also attempts to make high-quality paperbacks, but this is too difficult to do commercially. The low price of paperbacks means less profit margins for publishers, and if the market cannot expand, less royalties can be paid to authors. If you don’t make money and don’t have face, why should an author who can write good content give you the copyright? Therefore, the first paperback book was just a cheap version after the hardcover book could not sell. It didn’t make money, and it was the right to popularize culture and do good deeds. But in this way, the paperback book is more positioned on the concept of “cheap, product for the poor”.
  When the penguin came out and said it was going to be a paperback, everyone thought it was crazy. However, Allen, the founder of Penguin, insisted: “For many years, the book industry has been sitting on a gold mine without knowing it. People need books and high-quality books. If there are books, they can be presented to people at a cheap price and in a smart way. In front of them, people will buy willingly and even very urgently.” Allen is very confident.
  How could he have this confidence? The secret was in the words he said. There are two important points in this sentence, one is the cheap price, and the other is the smart way. Cheap prices are easy to understand, lowering the threshold so that more people can afford them, and taking the route of small profits but quick turnover. It didn’t sound like a big deal, but at the time, the price of Penguin’s book was not just cheap, it was ridiculously cheap. For books with the same content, the price of paperback is about one-twentieth of that of hardcover, which is equivalent to the price of a pack of cigarettes. Just because it’s so cheap, other publishers, writers and bookstores can’t stand it, and they accuse Penguin of disrupting the market and destroying the industry.
  But books have a cost, and they also need to make money. If you sell a pack of cigarettes for money, you can’t make much profit no matter what. So Allen’s only solution is to get enough people to buy it. This is the “smart way to sell books” in the second sentence. Penguin thought very clearly from the very beginning that if you want to increase sales, you need to ask these questions, that is, to find out who are reading books, what they want, and under what circumstances do they read books .
  Bookstores in that era were places where people from the upper class would go. Ordinary people would have pressure to go to bookstores to buy books, and paperbacks were the least popular variety in bookstores. So Penguin didn’t plan to sell his books in bookstores from the beginning. Its sales channels are train stations or chain stores.
  However, this brings up the second problem, that is, Penguin’s paperback books are easily grouped with the inferior books and toilet books of the past. There is still no way out, and everyone still looks down on them.
  How to improve the discrimination? Penguin came up with a method that looks ordinary today, but was very subversive at the time, that is, branding books. It was the first publishing house to introduce the concept of “brand products” into the book industry. For example, choosing the highly recognizable “Penguin” image as a trademark and hiring a professional designer to design a “uniform and easily recognizable cover” is all about branding the product.
  And in terms of content, it is determined not to choose vulgar content. Of Penguin’s first eleven books, all are classics, including works by Hemingway, Queen of Reasoning, and Agatha Christie. Regarding the criteria for choosing a topic for Penguin, Allen gave a very vivid description of the scene, that is, “buy this book and keep it at home. When a priest comes to drink tea, you are willing to put the book in a conspicuous place. Embody your own taste. If you will, this is the book for Penguin.”
  Later, as the types of Penguin Books gradually widened, they began to use colors to distinguish the genres. Green is for detective novels, blue is for biographies, and gray is for current affairs. Penguin Books has a unified design style and uses colors to distinguish themes, which is highly recognizable. Seeing someone with Penguin’s book in his hand from a distance, he can tell at a glance what genre he is reading, which adds a lot to the conversation.
  Compared with the original low-quality paperback books, Penguin Books with beautiful design and tasteful content are not only very conspicuous, but also quickly entered the life of ordinary families, making reading from luxury to ordinary people. enjoyment. It is said that just after the penguin caused a huge sensation, Europe’s largest airline is also considering giving out free penguin books to passengers to show that their flights are high-class.
  Another interesting point is that when Penguin Publishing was just starting out, it only made paperbacks. Some people may ask, if you can make money with hardcover books, you can also make paperback books, and open a new tentative business line, why not make hardcover books at all?
  Other publishers are the first to publish the hardcover, and then publish the cheap edition. That is to say, things with the same content are sold in higher-end versions first, and when the rich buy it, they will sell cheaper ones to the rest of the market. This invisibly creates a feeling of “because I can’t afford a better book, I’ll have to wait a while longer to buy the cheap edition”.
  But Penguin is different, it has only one version, and that is paperback. Whether the customer has money or no money, there is only one choice. Buying Penguin’s book doesn’t have to be looked down upon by others.
  On the surface, Penguin just made something that was expensive before cheap, but if it is only cheap, it is impossible to be successful in business. It also does another thing, that is, when it lowers the price, it does not reduce the sense of luxury of books in people’s minds. In other words, the success of the penguin is that it gives a new sense of value to a thing.