Yet Again, Giving Away Free eBook Increased Sales Of Author's Books

from the and-again-and-again-and-again dept

Someone pointed this out on Friday, but I thought we've seen so many stories of it that it didn't necessarily merit mentioning. However, all weekend long more people submitted it, so perhaps it is worth pointing out. Neil Gaiman, who was part of Harper Collins experiment with giving away free ebooks, discovered (like so many others) that giving away the free ebooks helped increase sales. And, of course, it wasn't just for the one book that was offered for free, but across all of Gaiman's works. The other bit of information is that, as we expected, HarperCollins found that many people were not at all happy with all of the restrictions it put on the ebooks (including that you had to read it on their website rather than download it):
Response to our Browse Inside Online Reader was mixed -- with 44% saying they enjoyed the experience at 56% saying they did not. The chief complaints were that you had to have an internet connection to read the book, you had to scroll to see the whole page and that the load time was sometimes slow. 69% of respondents said that they would like to be able to download. Some people complained that since they couldn’t bookmark where they left off, they got lost between reading sessions.
Of course, plenty of people pointed this out when Harper Collins first announced the plan. But, better late than never. Gaiman notes: "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."

Filed Under: business models, ebooks, free, neil gaiman
Companies: harper collins


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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 15 Jul 2008 @ 6:44am

    ebook revolution...or not

    I am working on my first novel now, and I am both excited and concerned to see what will happen to the fiction market in the coming years. One prediction that comes to light every time a new ebook reader comes out is that ebooks will take over, and that ebooks will be the new MP3s. I have to say, I disagree with that. Please let me know if you think I am way off-base.

    First, most of the so-called evidence for this claim involves simply pointing a finger at the music and movie industry. However, I think what will keep book sales from being decimated by piracy is the same thing that has kept ebooks from taking off. That is, ebooks fundamentally change the experience of reading in a negative way. Even improvements in a screen will not solve the fact that the experience of reading a novel cannot be fully realized in an electronic device. The experience for downloaded music and movies was largely the same, with an often negligible decrease in quality.

    Second, readers are collectors. Most heavy readers I know have shelves full of books that they have either already read or never expect to read. I am guilty of that myself. But, I like the feeling of standing before a huge, full bookshelf and selecting something new to read. An electronic collection is decidedly less satisfying.

    Last, the convenience factor of MP3s is not present. Yes, a Kindle allows you to carry a library of books with you. However, unlike music, novels are generally read one-at-a-time. People don't create "mix-books." Novels take many hours, rather than minutes, of a person's time. The browsing experience is less satisfying on an electronic reader. A Kindle, being a fragile electronic device, is actually more difficult to carry around than a durable paperback, and there are very few times that a person needs to carry more than one book. School is an exception, and I can see ebooks having a much larger role in the textbook industry.

    I hope I am not being too old-school. I am a gadget freak, and I embrace technology quickly. However, ebooks and ebook readers have always seemed to me to be a solution looking for a problem.

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