Last week at ICRS Zondervan unveiled its new Symtio digital initiative, a program that, according to president and CEO Moe Girkins, could do for books what ITunes has done for music. Retailers at the show were very positive.
Symtio cards are about the size of credit cards. They allow buyers to download an audio version of the book at home directly onto various media that will play it, such as a computer or an IPod. The consumer buys the card in a flat package, paying the same price as the printed version of the book. Those of you who've bought audio books know that the tapes/CDs generally run more expensive than the print version, so Symtio offers a savings for audio buyers. Each card package has the same design as the cover of the printed book, so the one you want is easy to spot. The packages are displayed face out in wooden cases with multiple tiers of narrow shelves. Retailers at ICRS who signed up for Symtio were given the display case free, a $300 value.
Moe Girkins said Symtio was "not about a new Zondervan product, this is about an industry movement." Baker Publishing Group has come on board with Zondervan to make its books available through Symtio. Discussions are being held regarding adding other publishers. Symtio is very appealing to battered Christian retailers. They only pay thirty-five cents for each card, thereby reaping a great profit from its sale.
Zondervan plans to offer many of its new books in this Symtio audio form. I just received the proofs for Dark Pursuit and saw in the front that it will be available in audio. I'm assuming this will be via Symtio card.
Take a minute and watch this video on UTube of how Symtio works. Very cool.