Monday, March 16, 2009

Do websites sell books?

Writers sites and groups have talked about this a lot. Of course people who sell directly from their websites have some numbers. I have order links to places where books can be bought and get some feedback that way but do they have greater impact that that? Do they send people into stores or over to an online bookstore?

Hard to know. I've always maintained that an author had to get all of the visibility they could however they could and that visibility and publicity led to sales. Like the famous promoter P. T. Barnum said of the media, "I don't care what you say about me, just be sure you sell my name right." There's a lot of truth to that, people often remember a name without remembering where they saw it or why they know it.

But back to the question, do websites sell books? Rob Edgar's Wildfire Marketing E-Newsletter just gave some of the most direct information that I've seen. In it he reported this:
Last summer, the Codex Group, a publishing research firm with clients including Random House and Barnes & Noble, surveyed nearly 21,000 book shoppers. The objective of their study was to understand the relative effectiveness of author websites among shoppers and determine the elements that keep them coming back to a site. Result from this recent ground-breaking research revealed these important statistics:

● Book shoppers who had visited an author website in the past week bought 38% more books, from a wider range of retailers, than those who had not visited an author site.

● Visiting an author's website is the leading way that book readers support and get to know their favorite authors better. And, this is true regardless of age.

● Most author websites lack the right content that makes readers want to return, such as exclusive material or fan interaction.

Very interesting.

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