Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Browsing Online

According to LibreDigital and Internet News, “Online previews of e-books and digital texts lead to more sales -- with romance novels topping the list of the genres most perused online…. After romance comes books for tweens and teenagers, followed by business books.”

What the figures seem to indicate is that allowing online previews increases sales.
“As a result, leading publishers are increasing their use of online previews when planning promotional campaigns for both new and existing book titles." [LibreDigital CEO Russell Reeder]
Data indicates that women are spending 70 percent more time than men browsing books online.

LibreDigital has some very detailed statistics:
The average reader spends more than 15 minutes browsing a book, and previews an average of 46 pages of each book they browse …

For romance titles, [the most popular online browsing time] is 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., while teens do so mostly from 4 to 11 p.m. and business books follow the work schedule clocking in primarily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Adults are more likely to share links to content via e-mail, while younger readers prefer to share within social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.
What does this tell writers? Think about who your target reader is and then ask yourself, do I need to make sure online browsers can read sample pages or chapters? Where should I be promoting my book? Is my reader at the age where s/he’s likely to have an e-reader? Should I be in both digital and print?
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25 comments:

  1. all good questions. I hope I get to answer them about my book one day. Accessible seems to be the key thing.

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  2. My concern is how much I should allow to be online. Google seems to have a rather large preview of my book online.

    If *I'm* actually the one posting it, I need to be careful b/c I think my contract stipulates some rules regarding posting electronic snippets of my books. I'd definitely ck in w/ my agent first to see what I can and can't do. Because my contracts read like gobbledygook to me...

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  3. I know Amazon has a feature where you can read pages of a book before you buy it. I have rarely used it. I tend to rely heavily on reader comments and reviews.

    Perhaps I have ignored this feature too long.

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  4. I'm surprised that people preview an average of 46 pages - that seems like a lot to me. I still prefer to browse through books by going to a bookstore.

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  5. More and more technology making its way into publishing. I agree with Jane, 46 seems like a lot of pages! Usually a few pages will do it for me, combined with the book jacket and blurbs.

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  6. Wow, this is really useful research. Very interesting. I never read excerpts online, though. I like to read other readers' reviews.

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  7. I definitely plan to use a website to promote my first book. (It WILL be published. Heh.) I think that authors like Maggie Stiefvater who use that technology really boost their sales and reps.

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  8. Forty six pages does seem like a lot. The books I've previewed on line usually post the first chapter and rarely is that 46 pages. I agree with Jane; I'd much rather browse the bookstore than online. More tangible. And you can't smell a book online!

    Jen

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  9. A cousin of mine is writing a series for tweens, mix of history and romance. I'll have to pass this info along to her!

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  10. Interesting information, Helen. I've been seeing a lot online about the Book Buzzr for book previews. Do you know anything about it?

    Lillie Ammann
    A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

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  11. I rely heavily on reading some sample pages before buying a book, especially from an author whose work I have not read before.

    It would be interesting to know where the readers are going to read excerpts. Is is mostly the Amazon pages, or an author's Web site. I have excerpts at both, so I guess I'm covered. :-)

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  12. I agree that 46 pages seems a large amount of pages for a preview. Aren't there usually copyright restrictions? I'm not familiar with the rules for books, but I certainly know it's there for plays.

    Elspeth

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  13. I've always heard that one can't give away enough an ebook version of a physical book before its release!
    Now my question - WHERE are they giving away these snippets???

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  14. I have a Kindle, and am able to download the first chapter for free. I love this feature! Nobody get mad at me, I still buy REAL books. Sometimes entire novels are free on Kindle. Some are good, and some aren't so good. I think the authors put them up their for free to increase they're sales ranking, because even if it's free it counts as a sale. Great post.

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  15. I totally agree with Jane. 46 pages seems like way too much. I have one chapter on my website. Ashamed to say I never checked on Amazon how much of my book is available to read. I never read more than a page or two when browsing on line.
    Karen

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  16. Um, the most popular time for browsing romance novels by the, apparently, majority female readership is between 11pm and 1am?

    Romance is code for erotica.

    15 minutes to browse 46 pages? Skim reading to the "good bits"...

    I have a theory but I want to get out of here alive so I'll keep it to myself.

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  17. I'd love to know the stats for kids books in ereader form. I wonder when the top browsing time is for those?

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  18. My guess is that Amazon gets more hits on pages than individual author sites. Simply because it's one stop shopping for a lot of authors instead of one.

    Christina, I didn't see a stat on that, but since parents tend to buy kids' books, maybe during the day when kids are in school? That's just a guess, though.

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  19. I agree, 46 pages is way much. Are ereader pages smaller than book pages? If not, perhaps Anton is right!

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  20. I would take less than 46 pages, too. If I'm in a bookstore, I usually check the cover, the back blurb, the opening page - and can usually tell by just that much. Sometimes, I'll turn to a random page and read.

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  21. This is very interesting. I like to browse through a book (online or in a bookstore), reading random paragraphs from pages at various places in the book.(I don't think I ever read as many as 46 pages.)

    For e-books, I signed up for Smashwords, which turned out to be easy.[http://www.smashwords.com/] You upload once and it translates your story into multiple e-reader formats.

    Haven't sold any copies yet but have had number of downloaded samples.

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  22. I like previews. I always look through a book in a store before I buy it, so it's closest to the store experience.

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  23. In response to those unsure of how much to put online, as a reader I think the first few pages would suffice. Chapter one at most. It's not necessary to read any more than that to get an idea as to whether or not I want to invest time and money into reading more.

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  24. Thanks for the Smashwords link, NIW.

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  25. Helpful post, as usual, Helen. And like Not Hannah, I plan to employ these techniques WHEN my book is published.
    I have mixed emotions about the time all the new media takes, but it is a valuable tool for writers to reach potential readers. And the blogs I read, like yours, teach me so much.

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