Friday, June 29, 2007

Book Promotion and Book Buying

I saw this survey via Tobias Buckell’s blog (which has some interesting commentary on it). Basically, about 400 people responded to a poll about what has influenced book buying in the past – they were asked to select all that apply from a long list. These are the summarized results on what promotional tools led to the purchase of a book.

1. Previous familiarity with author’s work – 98% (it’s cutoff, so I tried to back calculate it)
2. Recommendation of a friend – 90.6%
3. Reading about the book on another person’s blog or website – 80.3%
4. Reading about book on author’s blog or website – 64.2%
5. Reading first chapter of book online or in store – 63.2%
6. Cover Art – 62.9%
7. Cover or flap blurbs (promotional quotes) – 57.7%
8. Published (print or electronic) book review – 56.4%
9. Attending a reading or signing event with author (including conventions) – 53.5%
10. Bookseller or librarian recommendation – 42.6%
11. Other – 8.1%
12. Contest sponsored by author or publisher – 7.6%
13. Receiving promotional email from author – 5.7%
14. Receiving postcard in mail from author – 3.9%
15. Receiving toys or other promotional gimmicks from author – 2.9%

I find this all very interesting on multiple levels – partly because I’ve speculated on the actual influence of cover art in the on-line world (at least how I feel about it) and mostly out of general curiosity as an avid reader. Of course since I am a blogger and fan reviewer I’m also very curious to see what kind influence someone like me has.

Of course the study is very unscientific and highly biased towards on-line and blog answers – after all it was a survey on the blog. Also I think that it may underrepresent the actual impact of some these. What happens when that one person who bought the book because a promotional gimmick writes a review of it on their blog, talks it up on various message boards, and highly recommends it to friends and family? There is some quality factor in there. Also, message boards and social networking sites aren’t really covered – perhaps they fall under the ‘friend recommendation’?

So, where do I fall in this mix – am I a published review provider (number 8), or a simple blogger (number 3)? I’m merely curious as I don’t feel it matters – bias aside, the importance of the internet, and blogs in particular, is striking (and good news for someone like me).


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