The IKEA effect, part two

After I’d posted yesterday’s blog on the IKEA effect and how you can use it to your advantage when writing your book, it occurred to me that there’s another interesting was of leveraging the phenomenon in publishing: personalization, where the customer co-creates the book to some extent. 

Two great examples of this are LostMyName, now Wonderbly, the children’s book publisher which allows customers to create a beautiful personalised children’s book (in the original, the child goes on an adventure to recover all the missing letters of their name) and This is My Cookbook from Quarto, which allows you to choose the recipes you want, add your own, and personalise the cover. 

I remember talking to the woman behind the Quarto initiative, who made the excellent point that the act of personalization transformed the product in the customer’s mind from a book to a gift, for which they are typically prepared to pay significantly more. The value lies partly in the fact that this is now a unique product reflecting your specific preferences, but the Ikea effect suggests it’s also at least partly to do with the time and trouble you’ve taken in putting it together. Which means the user experience of selection and creation needs not just to work, but to give the user a great, enjoyable experience. 

On a side note, I find both these initiatives fascinating because they show how the digital revolution has transformed book publishing not primarily by allowing content to be consumed online (which is what we all assumed back in 2005) but by allowing powerful new ways to create print products. NB Wonderbly have just partnered with the Roald Dahl estate, with a promise to “open the gates” of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: watch this space.

You might be struggling to see how this ‘gift book’ principle translates into business books, but imagine if you could offer your corporate clients a personalised version of your book as part of your consulting package, perhaps with a custom cover, or a foreword from their CEO, or a list of contacts and resources at the back. With print on demand technology this is relatively cheap and easy to do, but the value to the organisation could be enormous.