A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. It’s a book, the final, last chapter of a series I started in middle school. I read about 20-30 new books a year and not a single one of those is physical. They’re all ebooks. However, this particular tome was only available as a hardcover. I both overpaid for the experience and agree with the one star reviews. The one star (100% complaining about lack of digital format, NOT about the actual book) even say they would pay the same price I did to get this tome in their preferred format. Loyal fans…just like me, but with less flexibility.
Sometimes, it’s easy to assume things about your audience. For me, there was simply no way I would wait to get the ebook three months later, I wanted to be able to experience the book now. For others, the protest. If you have the kind of business where regardless of protest, you’re selling a unicorn, the audience has no substitutions and after a few decades of lock in, you want to twist their arm, well, that’s one strategy. Most businesses can’t do that. For most of us (I’m a writer, too, and happy to say it pales in comparison to my job), business would not survive if we treated the most loyal fan base this way.
It’s one thing to have an inner monologue about what’s right and what’s wrong. We all do. However, it’s another thing entirely to embrace the idea that the story we tell ourselves is distinct from the narrative which our audience is telling themselves. Just because some of your audience will take the abuse with a smile and you believe in lockdown…well, it does not mean it’s the right long term strategy. It could easily be the end. The term, “Spin Doctor,” came into pop culture because sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s truly the right customer facing strategy rather than navel gazing wishful thinking.
First, we all get onto the same page. The world is round, not flat. Then we can move forward. So long as some people think that abusing the faithful is good for business, you can’t make progress.