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Old 07-13-2008, 05:08 AM   #1
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Neil Gaiman says: Free availability of ebook profits sales of pbook!

The experiment of providing "American Gods" for free over the net appears to have been a success.

"The Indies [ie. independent booksellers -- Neil] are the only sales channel where we have confidence that incremental sales were driven by this promotion. In the Bookscan data reported for Independents we see a marked increase in weekly sales across all of Neil’s books, not just American Gods during the time of the contest and promotion. Following the promotion, sales returned to pre-promotion levels. "

The complete article is here (he doesn't begin with that topic, so browse a bit down)
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Old 07-13-2008, 06:15 AM   #2
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well it's nice to have "official" confirmation, even if it really comes as no surprise.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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The drop after the end of the promotion is particularly convincing. I'd like to see a real statistical analysis with significance levels and effect sizes, but I consider Gaiman a pretty trustworthy source even without these details.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trenien View Post
The experiment of providing "American Gods" for free over the net appears to have been a success.

"The Indies [ie. independent booksellers -- Neil] are the only sales channel where we have confidence that incremental sales were driven by this promotion. In the Bookscan data reported for Independents we see a marked increase in weekly sales across all of Neil’s books, not just American Gods during the time of the contest and promotion. Following the promotion, sales returned to pre-promotion levels. "

The complete article is here (he doesn't begin with that topic, so browse a bit down)

But this doesn't *prove* anything! For it to be considered "proof", the results have to match up to the preconceptions of the publishing industry - and the publishing industry believes this is a "bad idea" which will drastically drop sales of books and cause general (and degenerate) mopery and dopery amongst the cattle (Ahem! "Citizens".) of the world. This "real-world" example is nothing more than anarchistic posturing by the neo-Luddite out to destroy society!

(Yep. I had to swallow loads of LSD to fully appreciate the publishing industry's view. )

Derek
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:58 PM   #5
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Wasn't that book only available to be read on the website rather than being downloaded? I think that more proves that free samples work. Most people are not going to read the entire book sitting at their computer just like most people won't read the entire book at the bookstore. You can read as much as you like in either case but they're betting the inconvenience of it will make buying the book more attractive. If readers were widespread and it was a free download, I don't think the results would be the same. I think free book downloads are a great way to promote a series, though. Give the first book away for free to draw people in.
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:49 PM   #6
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Given that Harper Collins sold a lot more of all my books while the free American Gods was out there, with sales of all my titles up 40% through independent bookshops, I think I can safely say that we'll be doing it -- or rather, something similar -- again. And that the 56% of people who didn't enjoy the online reading experience may be a lot happier with how we do it next time out.
I guess next time the publisher will provide either 1) downloadable editions or 2) improved online viewing experience. If it is the former, it will be interesting to see how the sales of the given away book will be like.
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alisa View Post
Wasn't that book only available to be read on the website rather than being downloaded? I think that more proves that free samples work. Most people are not going to read the entire book sitting at their computer just like most people won't read the entire book at the bookstore. You can read as much as you like in either case but they're betting the inconvenience of it will make buying the book more attractive. If readers were widespread and it was a free download, I don't think the results would be the same. I think free book downloads are a great way to promote a series, though. Give the first book away for free to draw people in.
Gaiman does report that 56% of the people coming to read the book were disatisfied with the overall experience, and because of that the next time they'll change the way it's done (download of the book itself?)

On a personal note, I'd say that makes it even more convincing. I didn't at all like the way it was done, but I don't really matter since I already have "American Gods" (and a few others from him). What I think is relevant is that I'm mostly unlikely to buy anything from an author that makes such a pain to access the supposedly free book.

Despite that, sales increased.

Last edited by Trenien; 07-13-2008 at 04:29 PM.
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