BitTorrent Book Promotion Drives 40% Of Downloaders To Book's Amazon Page

from the well,-look-at-that... dept

Popular author Tim Ferriss got some attention recently when his latest book, The 4-Hour Chef, was published by Amazon, with a big push to try to make it a best seller (the first Amazon published book to get such a push, apparently). This scared off Barnes & Noble who refused to sell the book, because, apparently, it's run by childish and petulant execs. Ferriss, who is known for his rather extreme ability to market the hell out of anything, has actually been using this to his own advantage, continually calling out the fact that Barnes & Noble is refusing to carry the book, and using non-standard promotion techniques, including having the book sold via Panera restaurants and... doing a big promotion deal with BitTorrent. To be honest, I found some of the language used to promote that deal a bit misleading, as it appeared some people thought he was distributing the book itself via BitTorrent. Instead, he teamed up with the company to distribute "an exclusive bundle" of extra, related, content. That's still cool, but having watched some of the hype behind it, you could see how some might see it as bait and switch.

However, it appears that my concerns may have been overblown. Late last week, Ferris revealed that not only did the book land on various best seller lists (despite the lack of Barnes & Noble sales), but an astounding number of people who downloaded that extra content bundle on BitTorrent also clicked a "support the artist" button:
For instance, BitTorrent conversion is NUTS. Of 210,000 downloads (of this bundle) earlier this week, more than 85,000 clicked through “Support the Author” to the book’s Amazon page. We all had to triple and quadruple check that to believe it.
Now, of course, not everyone who clicks will buy -- and he admits that as well. But, that's still an extra 85,000 people going to the Amazon page. Some of them are likely to buy.
Even at a 1% conversion after clicking an effective “buy now” link, that translates to 850 books… and BitTorrent is only accelerating. Wow.
But BitTorrent is only for pirates and only hurts authors and artists, right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:12pm

    Wrong as usual, Mike.

    "But BitTorrent is only for pirates and only hurts authors and artists, right?" -- This one is such a strawman that you're seedy for using it.

    "known for his rather extreme ability to market the hell out of anything," -- Seems as though EVERY example you bring up already has a large following.

    Let's see this fellow put the real book up on torrents and THEN collect a dime. I need hard data on YOUR "give away and pray" notions that only count marginal costs, not how to do an adjunct to conventional market AFTER reputation is made.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    Deer Biter:

    If you want hard scientific data, you may need to do some actual sciencing and less trolling.

    Signed,
    -Sciency people.

     

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  3.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    You know what works great to build reputation? People reading and sharing your books. You know what can really get people reading and sharing your books? Making sure they as widely distributed as possible.

    As always, for a new artist, obscurity is worse than piracy.

     

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  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:24pm

    "This scared off Barnes & Noble who refused to sell the book, because, apparently, it's run by childish and petulant execs."

    Those execs are so childish and petulant. They can only dream of being perfect like us. There isn't a business on this planet that we wouldn't be better at running. And even though we don't really know anything about the ins and outs of their business, there is no doubt whatsoever that we are smarter than them and would be better than them at their jobs. No one is better than us.

    "But BitTorrent is only for pirates and only hurts authors and artists, right?"

    That's right! You showed them. All zero of the people that ever claimed that bittorrent is ONLY for pirates have been totally debunked. Absolutely. They are so stupid and so wrong. They're childish and petulant too. Nothing like the perfect gods that we are. Yeah, we showed them. Someone used bittorrent and it wasn't even for piracy. Oh my goodness, bittorrent is just so totally legitimate. Anyone who argues anything to the contrary is just a baby who stomps his feet. We are perfect! Pirates are perfect! God bless bittorrent. Is there anything not perfect about it?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    This one is such a strawman that you're seedy for using it.

    Seedy? Haha! Good one. Because torrents have peers and seeds, right? You're a funny guy.

     

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  6.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    I'm giving away free cups of STFU and praying you'll have one. I expect it'll work about as well as Mike has repeatedly said that model works.

     

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  7.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    I think this is the ideal setup for e-books. You use BitTorrent to distribute your awesome book, but you post the delux pacjage with extra footnotes and writer commentary on Amazon's e-book page.

    I see this on an e-book platform only though. It's a good way to promote your product and I'm glad that at least Amazon sees it as such.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re:

    "Is there anything not perfect about it?"

    Yes. I have yet to find a way for the many legal torrent files that I share to update themselves, like for example software. If someone could get say the LibreOffice torrent to update itself to the latest version it would be a great improvement.

     

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  9.  
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    Colin, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:31pm

    It's not often you see someone write so much and not make a point. Well done.

     

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  10.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    I hereby copy and paste my comment below as a rebuttal to yours as you fall hilariously off the podium:


    I think this is the ideal setup for e-books. You use BitTorrent to distribute your awesome book, but you post the delux pacjage with extra footnotes and writer commentary on Amazon's e-book page.

    I see this on an e-book platform only though. It's a good way to promote your product and I'm glad that at least Amazon sees it as such.

     

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  11.  
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    Colin, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    Addressed to the above AC, of course.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    Where to start. Now I believe there are reasons on both sides of why B&N didn't carry the amazon published book. However they probably could have used the retail revenue, but amazon is known to be ball-busting on their deals.

    The second tirade is ludicrous. He was using hyperbole to focus in on an argument that people have been using stating that bittorrent is at fault for pirates using it for copyright infringement. Bittorrent is as legit as email, ftp, newsgroups, websites, etc. But it does sound like you're stomping your feet. What you should take away from this is not all content creators are anti-bittorrent since they're using it as a distribution platform. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

     

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  13.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:35pm

    Re:

    The point of the article has nothing to do with illegal pirating and has more to do with the use of BitTorrent as a promotional platform. If you want extra features on your car, do you not pay a little more? Sort of the same thing. I see no reason why you would troll the article as you have when it makes perfect sense.

     

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  14.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Sorry Colin, please use the "Reply" link next time ;-)

     

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  15.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    Um...

    ootb...

    When you say this...

    ""But BitTorrent is only for pirates and only hurts authors and artists, right?" -- This one is such a strawman that you're seedy for using it."

    Aren't you being a hypocrite?

    I mean, haven't YOU said such things in the past?

    And if not you, then bob, average_joe, and other trolls.

     

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  16.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:44pm

    The "pirates" will deal with the overhyped claims as needed.
    Much of that hype was more likely to make sure it got media coverage.
    There will be those who feel it was bait and switch... except it cost them nothing but a small amount of time.

    A similar example is Rapidshare.
    There are people who run around screaming how they are stupid evil inept etc etc etc because of their "anti-piracy" movements.
    Then there are the people who understand they have been sued globally time and time again, and even giving the cartels what they want - it isn't enough. They are a business and they can not make money if they spend 90% of their time in court.

    New marketing ideas embracing reality are just that - new.
    Some of them will stumble, some will be magical... but it is better to try and screw it all up than to keep ignoring the possibilities.

     

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  17.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    I find your attempted sarcasm to be both annoying and stupid.

    Go be a political commentator, I hear they love that kind of talk.

     

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  18.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re:

    B&N flipped out over the availability of other means of getting this book outside of their control. All they saw was the typical "freeloading pirate" that "All" BitTorrent users "are", and then said "We will absolutely not distribute the book you made because of the use of BitTorrent" not even realizing the extra features of the book would be missing. Because of B&N's short-sightedness, they missed a HUGE promotional boost.

    Amazon said "Sure, we will publish your book with extra features as long as the extra features aren't on BitTorrent, and will let you distribute a BitTorrent version in our e-reader format as a promotional bit."

    Seems clear the article is about promotional distribution and how B&N clearly dropped the ball on the concept.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    Re:

    Yeah, fuck you too and your sanctimonious attitude. Yeah, I said it. Here, I will say it again: FUCK YOU!

     

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  20.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    To be fair, Rapidshare has been know to limit your download speeds to 30 kilobytes a second to "evade" said piracy. Yet to get full speed you have to be a paying member of the site which, at least in my opinion, is what makes them evil...it's not the users that give a company its reputation, it is the actions of a company that do.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    ootb has a pathological need to disagree with Mike about something, even if it's something one of the trolls has said in the past.

    I'd reckon that even if Mike had written an article stating that ootb was just misunderstood and everyone should give him a fair go, ootb would disagree with that too.

     

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  22.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    Marked as funny, just because it's so true.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong as usual, Mike.

    Can we have that, please? Have one of the writers write an article claiming that breathing air is important, and watch out_of_the_asscrack hold his breath in a bid to prove Masnick wrong?

     

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  24.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re:

    The company is in a bad situation, the cartels have all of the power and are being allowed to abuse it time and time again.
    They do these things, that aren't required by law, to be able to show the next Judge they get hauled in front of that the cartels are whining again about things not required by law... and we even went this far and it still wasn't enough.
    I'm not sure the free users, pirate or not, generate enough income to offset the legal costs that keep getting piled up.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    I find it concerning that B&N won't sell a book that Amazon is selling. I don't want to see content being divided up like that by what are supposed to be conduits.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Re:

    I agree, but the flipside is that this also prevents the swarm from being poisoned with malicious and/or fake content. Once the torrent has been vetted by the community, you can download it with confidence. Unlike other forms of file-sharing, everyone's guaranteed to get an exact duplicate of what everyone else has.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    Response to: Wally on Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    That's not what they did. The plain e-book, without extras, is on Amazon. The book is not on BitTorrent, only the extras. There's no free book. Only the extras are free.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry Wally please read the comments before clicking the reply button.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:05pm

    Re:

    B&N can shoot themselves in the foot all they want.
    No body is loosing out here except B&N.

     

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  30.  
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    McCrea (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:16pm

    Bait and Switch

    You said "... having watched some of the hype behind it, you could see how some might see it as bait and switch. "

    I would like to comment that all marketing is "bait and switch" by definition.

    Marketing is "the process of adding value to a product". So, after successful marketing, you are always offering more than just the product which the consumer will receive.

    Always.

     

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  31.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 1:23am

    Can I just say this to ootb and the other troll idiots?

    I have never used torrents to illegally download any infringing material but I have used torrents to download Linux .iso files. Do you still believe torrents are ONLY for pirates?

     

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  32.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 5:41am

    Amazon is guilty of this as well

    If I understand the article correctly, it's not that B&N isn't selling a book Amazon is selling, it's that B&N isn't selling a book Amazon is PUBLISHING.

    B&N is one of the largest publishers in the US. Last I checked, Amazon didn't sell any of their books. Why aren't people complaining about that?

    When Amazon announced they were going to go into physical book publishing, they approached B&N to see if they would carry their books. B&N offered them a deal: Let Kindle load Nook Books and they'd carry Amazon physical books. Amazon for some reason wasn't interested in this arrangement...

    Full Disclosure: I have a little inside info (and bias) as a close family member works for B&N...

     

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  33.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    B&N didn't carry the book before BitTorrent entered the picture

    B&N doesn't carry Amazon published books in their brick-and-mortar stores. Likewise, Amazon doesn't carry B&N published books on their website.

    BitTorrent has nothing to do with either of those things.

     

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  34.  
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    DCX2, Dec 4th, 2012 @ 7:06am

    4 hour body

    I feel like I have to plug one of Ferriss' other book, 4 Hour Body. I don't know about everything in it, but the recommended diet is fantastic. My wife and my mother have struggled to make diets work in the past, yet this diet is much easier to handle and very effective at losing 1 to 3 pounds per week, consistently. In fact, my mother's doctor told her that her cholesterol was down, her blood pressure was down, and her weight was all down, so "whatever you're doing, keep doing it!!"

     

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  35.  
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    another mike (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    Did you pay for the software? No? Then you're obviously a pirate!

     

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  36.  
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    Brent (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    The most important thing to take from this article is that 40% of the ppl who torrented were at least interested in supporting the artist. I think that is a really great statistic to tout for posterity.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    I was in a Barnes & Noble just yesterday. They had taken out their DVD section and replaced it with a kids' toys and games section. WTF?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:47pm

    Re:

    Must be for those "childish and petulant execs".

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Whether obtained via torrent or other means LibreOffice already does update itself. You download LibeOffice by whatever means, Install it, Then click "Help" -> "Check for updates..."

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:16pm

    As B&N continues desperately trying to cling to yesteryear, they will fade away until they are vanished completely. Best interest for them if they wholeheartedly embraced the future, and Amazon appeared the one stuck in a former time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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