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
    Dark Helmet (profile), 9 Feb 2010 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    "Helmet, I don't think you can get well enough known on this alone, I am sure you can get some exposure."

    As someone who has struggled in the past to bend the ear of agents/publishers, I can tell you that getting "some exposure" is THE most important thing. Seriously, even more important than being a good writer. Now, I for one make no excuses. I'm fairly young for a writer, and some of the things I've written that haven't been picked up by traditional publishers were almost certainly not worthy of those publishers. Hell, I'm not sure if I'm good enough to be a full time writer NOW, though I know I'm constantly evolving and improving. But I can assure you that if I had even a modicum of a following that I could point to, say via a serialized work given on a website that monitors how much traffic I'm getting, I would IMMEDIATELY be including that in any query letter I sent out, and it seems to me that this could be a reasonable strategy to implement that.

    "My thought: how many people know about Nina Paley? Outside of a certain group, she would be an unknown."

    Fair point, though I can only speak for myself. Everything is so niche these days that even my own girlfriend doesn't know about half the people I'm reading, listening to, or following. However, in my particular case, this was a perfect example of how this works. I didn't know of her before she did her thing and I read about her on Tech Dirt. Now I'm a fan, and I've mentioned her to others as well. Perhaps the FREE! thing is more akin to a longterm investment, rather than a quarterly report stock windfall....

    "nor am I sure you would want to go all the way on everyone getting your work for free"

    Depends what you mean. I have no problem with everyone getting my eBook absolutely free. I want them to then buy my physical book in such numbers that it translates into both a movie deal and a long term publishing contract. I see it as all building on itself to bring in multiple streams of revenue.

    "In the end, it appears that "FREE!" is one step on the ladder"

    I kind of agree with this, with the caveat that it can be THE most important step, the one that begins the whole process....

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