03 August 2008

Niche Finding Made Easy

Suppose you love books. Everything about them. You read voraciously. And you'd just love to write some reviews and sell the books you particularly enjoy. But hey, forget that. Right? An individual doesn't stand a chance in the book business. Right? If Barnes & Noble doesn't seem able to catch Amazon, you're not going to get it done. Right?

Well, yes and no. It's true you are not likely to beat Amazon, even if they falter in that heady race with Barnes & Noble. But if you change the rules some, you can win.

If you select a specific area, one sufficiently narrow, you can beat these companies in this niche. Few books are being published in what was previously called Male Adventure. Yet men still read when they can find an author they enjoy. I don't know this would work, but it's a possibility worth checking.

Maybe specialize in technical works, not available through major book stores. Then of course there are rare books; a narrow niche within this category might be just the ticket. Just think books. Write down every idea that comes to mind. Make a note of every interest or skill you can bring to the table.

Testing Demand And Supply

Then try to find combinations of ideas that might work for you. As Ken Evoy has suggested, work up a list of keywords for areas you feel are possibilities. Enter these words at GoTo.Com What you will get is a list of related terms people searched for last month. The counts for each item can be taken as a measure of demand. Then go to AltaVista and enter any phrases with a high demand and note the number of listings found. This is a measure of supply. The most promising areas are those for which demand (counts at GoTo) is relatively high and supply (counts at AltaVista) is relatively low.

Somewhere in this list there is a combination of books and your skills and interests with which you can define a niche. It may not be obvious at first glance, but if you pursue this approach determinedly, you will find a great niche.

Think About Ebooks

Ebooks are growing in popularity. A while back I looked into them just for the heck of it, thinking I might uncover something of interest. I did not find a specific market that has not been touched, but I bet it's there.

I did find an idea, though. With so many people publishing ebooks, there is definitely room for a great ebook compiler. The Adobe PDF format is popular, but the compiler produces post-script files that are huge. And I don't find the reader easy to use. NeoBooks is an option, but probably unnecessarily complex to use. And it excludes MAC users; there is a reader for PDF files on MACs.

I'm not planning to write a new compiler. I have included this thought only as an example of things that may come up unexpectedly while you are searching for something else. Each such idea is a possible opportunity.

Look For Connections

As I was working on another article, I opened the top drawer of my desk and grabbed the highlighter. Beneath it was an old coin my grandfather gave me years back. A penny. Dated 1849. I know nothing about coins. But this one may even be copper. It's larger than the current crop. It's worn, but the markings are still quite legible. So what's it worth? Nothing? $5000? I have no idea.

I love history. How long would it take me to learn enough about coins to safely buy and sell them? I can't say, for I've never looked into it.

But it would be easy enough to read a book or two, then see if I could find some action on eBay.Com.

There would be little risk in testing. Put the two ideas together, and I've got coins with a history. Maybe it's a joke. Maybe it would work. Easy enough to check it out.


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