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?

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Companies: amazon

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Comments on “BitTorrent Book Promotion Drives 40% Of Downloaders To Book's Amazon Page”

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40 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

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.

silverscarcat says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: 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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

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.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: 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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: 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.

McCrea (profile) says:

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.

Christopher Best (profile) says:

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…

DCX2 says:

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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