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OPLIN 4Cast #272: Finding the next (e)book

Posted in 4cast

We know ebooks are very popular right now, and it’s also proving to be pretty easy for authors to self-publish in ebook format (and even sometimes encouraged). The logical conclusion is that the vast selection of ebooks available to readers is only going to get bigger as time goes on. With such a huge body of work to choose from, how will readers find the ebooks they want to read? Probably in the same ways they currently find any book, with only slight variations.

  • Discoverability in the digital age (Digital Book World/Matt Mullin)  “According to a recent survey, presented at the Digital Book World conference in New York last week [January 19], nearly half of readers discover new books through the recommendations of family and friends, and nearly a third discover them at bookstores.”
  • How do books get discovered? (Goodreads Blog/Patrick Brown)  “One of the biggest things we learned—or should we say confirmed—is the power of word of mouth. Searching for titles on Goodreads is the top way people find books for their to-read shelves. That means they first heard of it elsewhere—likely from friends or the media.”
  • How do people discover new books and authors? (Chocolate and Vodka/Suw Charman-Anderson)  “Both my graph and the Verso Digital figures show that self-published authors should focus on encouraging people to make personal recommendations for their work, as that is still the most important way that people find new authors and books. Simply telling your friends that you recently read a book and loved it appears to be the single most important thing you can do to help an author along.”
  • How ebook buyers discover books (Smashwords/Mark Coker)  “I was surprised only 3% of respondents looked first to the bestseller lists, which scored just as poorly as print media reviews. Possibly it’s a flaw in how I structured the survey. I was also surprised that retailer recommendations, such as the ‘people who bought this bought that,’ scored only 5%.”

Ebook sales (non-)fact:
Although there are reports that ebook sales figures showed slower growth in 2011 than in previous years, it’s difficult to know for sure because Amazon US did not report 2011 ebook sales (although Amazon UK reported a large increase).