Research Shows Unauthorized Digital Books Leads To 'Significant Jump In Sales'

from the well,-look-at-that dept

We've seen this before, with individual authors like Paulo Coelho and David Pogue, who both found that as more people were able to get unauthorized copies of their ebooks, their sales actually increased. So, this shouldn't come as a surprise, but some new research looking at the impact on sales of unauthorized files getting out found a "significant jump in sales" (found via Michael Scott):
Brian O'Leary discussed his firm's research on the effect on sales when a title finds its way into an unsanctioned online market. The findings -- a significant jump in sales -- have surprised many in the business.
To be fair, he does go on to say this doesn't mean just "don't worry about" unauthorized access. Instead, he says it's important to figure out what kind of unauthorized access helps sales and what kind hurts -- and that still needs to be studied. But, the early results certainly suggest that the stuff that helps quite often outweighs the stuff that hurts (sometimes by quite a bit).

Filed Under: books, ebooks, sales, unauthorized


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  1. icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), 9 Feb 2010 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no "entitlement", just business.

    If a writer spends a year of their life writing a great story, 6 more months doing re-writes and edits, and then spends a certain amount of time on actually marketing the book in interviews, appearances, book signings (nice scarcity there!) etc, they have a reasonable expectation to make at least enough to pay for the time they spent, such that they can afford to do it all again.

    he ONLY reason they should be afraid of losing sales, is if they know their work is terrible and want to con people out of their money before they realize it too

    Bad work is bad work, and it means that even if they make the sale today, they won't make the next sale tomorrow. Most writers / movie makers / businessmen want the next sale too, in part because the next sale is cheaper (you are already sold). The second Matrix movie was an easy sell because the first one was popular.

    All business moves are a question of risk and return. What the author does by first selling the books over a period of time, and then working to give access to new markets later is to extend his reach and make the next sale, on the next book. But there is no reason to give up the first sales to do it.

    Why do you think you don't see many supermarket samples of things that are popular, only of things that are new? Something that is popular doesn't need to be pushed, at least until it's popularity declines, then it becomes "new and improved". For the writer, having the book sell well to existing fans for a period of time, and then moving to use "FREE!" to gain new fans for his next work is a great move. Little risk, expand you fan base, and profit the next time around as well.

    Oh yeah, remember, profit also means "gain fans", It isn't about the money, money at a certain point is only a measuring stick, not a goal in and of itself. Most writer interviews I have read shows that once they reach a level of income that they are not so concerned about making a living, they can take the time to create much more complex books, or take a slight risk on subject matter that might not be quite as mainstream. Money isn't money in the "I'm a rich fat bastard" sort of way, just that they no longer have to worry about keeping the lights and heat on. It frees the mind... and the rest will follow. :)

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