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Old 01-23-2010, 03:55 AM   #1
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From the NYT on Kindle 'sales' figures

With Kindle, the Best Sellers Don’t Need to Sell

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/bo...wt&twt=nytimes
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:25 AM   #2
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Ah. So that's how they get those stats where Kindle books are nearly outselling hard copy books!
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:48 AM   #3
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Ahhh clever clever!
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:02 AM   #4
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It's because they're not giving them away. They're selling them at a price of zero. It makes sense if you're in marketing. Maybe.
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:05 AM   #5
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Well, some time ago, I obtained a free copy of "the girl with the dragon tattoo" this was not a book I would ever have considered purcashing, however after reading it, I readily purchased the next int he series, "the girl who played with fire" and by the the time the thrid book "the girl who kicked the hornets nest" was released, I was on the phone to my favouirte bookstore by 9:05am on the day of release to check that they had stock in (they didn't until much later that day) as it was not imediately avaialble in e-book form.
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:12 AM   #6
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It's a sign of good marketing alright. It's like the incessant amount of sequels in the movie world, which everyone feels they should see even though they are invariably rubbish.

If you give someone a taster they're more likely to want more, more eagerly.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:35 AM   #7
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Selling books as a series (essentially, episodic fiction) is an old and well-tested method for generating sales that reaches back to the 19th century. When there's a lot of competition then it makes sense to use loss-leaders to grab new customers.

The problem comes when you want to promote authors whose books are complete, and have a bit too much integrity to write mainly for the purpose of hooking customers onto their next work.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:05 AM   #8
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Great article. I loved the part where Hachette said they wouldn't do free ebooks when they are fighting the 9.99 price point, when Orbit, who is owned by Hachette, had a huge amount of success with the $1 Orbit books and were also offering tons of books this year for $1.99. Not free, but pretty darn close.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:17 PM   #9
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eBook marketing is screwy. I got hooked on a series with 12 books in it but was only able to buy the first 6 because they were the only ones in eBook form. So I had to go to the public library for the other 6. How can publishers pretend that eBook sales cause them to lose pBook sales? Book series have always moved people to follow along. Don't the publishers know this?
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
The problem comes when you want to promote authors whose books are complete, and have a bit too much integrity to write mainly for the purpose of hooking customers onto their next work.
Not necessarily - I know if I read a book I enjoy I'll actively hunt down other work by the author; if I read the first book in a series and don't like it, I'm not very likely to go looking for more work by the same author. Serialization and 'the first taste is free, kid' are both effective marketing schemes, but I think they're separate effective marketing schemes.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:26 PM   #11
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Doesn't that kinda skew bestseller lists and the like?
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:01 PM   #12
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Doesn't that kinda skew bestseller lists and the like?
1) Yes, that's the point.

2) Bestseller lists, like any other marketing gimmick, exist to be manipulated (the funniest example was probably the New York Times creating a second bestseller list because of JK Rowling).
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:07 PM   #13
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1) Yes, that's the point.

2) Bestseller lists, like any other marketing gimmick, exist to be manipulated (the funniest example was probably the New York Times creating a second bestseller list because of JK Rowling).
I remember that-they moved her off to a different list because 2-3 of her books dominated the main list?
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #14
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I remember that-they moved her off to a different list because 2-3 of her books dominated the main list?
Yep, summer of 2000 - Rowling had owned the top three spots on the NYT bestseller list for almost two years, and the fourth book was about to come out, so they created a new 'Children's Best Seller' list to free up space on the main list. There's a good article about it (with some commentary on the importance of bestseller lists, especially the NYT one) on Salon.

In 2004, when publishers-of-children's-books-who-weren't-Scholastic (Rowling's US publisher) created a big enough stink about Rowling's domination of the Children's list they created a second new list, this time for 'Best Selling Children's Series' that ignored sales of individual titles and just tracked series as a whole.

Harry Potter finally fell of the all the NYT bestseller lists on May 11, 2008, to the great relief of everybody else in publishing.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:40 PM   #15
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I know if I read a book I enjoy I'll actively hunt down other work by the author
Well, I'm talking about the common genre trick wherein you get to the end of the first book and realise that the narrative is completely unfinished and you'll need to shell out for the rest to reach any sort of closure. OTOH, while you may read The Sea, The Sea and think that Iris Murdoch was pretty good author, there won't be a pressing need to run out and buy the rest of her oeuvre in order to find out whether Charles Arrowby manages to confront his self-destructive narcissism.

I've certainly found myself buying books just to find out what happens several times, though with age I've grown less tolerant of that sort of sly machination.
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