Seth Godin sold 800 boxed book sets at $64.00 each in a matter of hours yesterday -- and most of his audience had already read (and paid for) his books. Seth really wouldn't mind it if you used the public library instead, but you can do the math of the revenue here.
Business practices and conventions sometimes make our lives much easier, but often draw us into serious marketing traps. We do things because we think we are following the normal procedures, when alternative approaches are much better and more effective.
I've certainly discovered these principals in years of media publicity and advertising. Most architects, engineers and contractors have little idea about how to relate to the news media, and only a few appreciate the best practices of search engine optimization and Internet marketing.
Conversely, when we seek to learn the best way to do things, we also can find ourselves embedded in the "best practices" conventions of the specialists and end up with results that do not reflect our own business and values, or (worse) are so me-too that they are ineffective.
I've noticed that the great gurus and leaders in business successfully combine proven best practices and techniques with something a little different -- a unique expression of their talent and personality.
For example, when you check their sites or newsletters, you'll discover new ideas and see embedded within them the subtle and not-so-subtle marketing messages which cause you to say "I need this now."
Guru Seth Godin pulled this off yesterday, when he sold 800 boxed set copies of previously published books (most of whom his audience had already read) in a matter of hours, raising $50,000 or so in revenue virtually immediately.