Potter novels have sold nearly a half a billion copies worldwide.
Rowling created one of the best selling fiction franchises of all time, one that captivated kids worldwide, stoked their fertile imaginations and made books cool for a new generation of readers.
But despite its official genre as young adult fantasy, the series has also gathered millions of adult fans. The only problem is, many of them wouldn’t be caught dead reading those books on the subway. Grownups don’t commute to work reading children’s books about witches and wizards.
What’s a publisher to do? How does a company market a product to a group of people who are embarrassed to be seen using it?
Bloomsbury solved this problem exquisitely. They rereleased each of the seven titles in the series as adult versions. These books are identical in text to the children’s versions, except for one major difference.
Instead of covers with the traditional bright colors, whimsical cartoons and kid friendly typography, the novels have more mature, visually appealing and palatable covers for adults who might be wary of reading a childish looking book in public.
They lowered the social risk of being a customer. They reduced the friction of participation.
Proving, that it doesn’t matter how excited people are about your products, if the thing you sell is uncomfortable to talk about or embarrassing to be seen with, you lose.
Remember, people don’t like doing things that their friends think is stupid. In a world where each work day is already an unbroken series of degrading humiliations, make sure that the user experience of your product eliminates the fear of having another awkward conversation.
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