Goodreads PubWest 2012: How Readers Discover Books Online
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Goodreads PubWest 2012: How Readers Discover Books Online

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This data-rich presentation was delivered by Goodreads founder and CEO Otis Chandler at the 2012 PubWest Conference in Keystone, CO. It deals with how readers discover books online, drawing from ...

This data-rich presentation was delivered by Goodreads founder and CEO Otis Chandler at the 2012 PubWest Conference in Keystone, CO. It deals with how readers discover books online, drawing from Goodreads' data to present several case-studies on book discovery.

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  • Thank you so much for having me - its a real pleasure to be here. Today I'd like to tell you a little bit about Goodreads and where it came from, and then also tell you about book discovery. Why its become such a big important issue for our industry, we'll look at some case studies on how Goodreads is helping books being discovered, and finally try to give you all some tools and tips on how to best use Goodreads.\n\nI founded Goodreads to be a better way to find good books. It was born in my living room 6 years ago. I had had a vision. I went to a friends house, and he had a phenomenal bookshelf in his apartment. Like many of us do, he'd put all his favorite books in that shelf. And I sat there and asked him about the books, and came away with a ton of great recs. And thats what I wanted to do - create a website where everyone listed the books in their shelves and what they thought of them. It would be the worlds best way to find great books to read. And I think it has. Except its grown past that. Today we've realized that friends are only one of many ways to find great books. Goodreads is still true to the original notion of finding great books. Our mission is discovery - to help people find great books to read - and share them with their friends. \n\nI want to cover three things today: \n1) Why discovery has become such a big problem\n2) Some case studies of how books are discovered on Goodreads\n3) Provide you with some ideas of tactics you can use to market your titles.\n
  • I love this picture. This is an amazing bookstore in Buenos Aires, called El Ateneo. Actually in an old theatre.\n\nBeyond making you all want to run off and book a flight to Argentina immediately, this photo is a reminder of one of the biggest trends in publishing today: the huge growth in books being published today.\n
  • Total number of titles on Goodreads\n
  • Last year, according to Bowker, 350,000 new titles were published. \n\nGuess how many of them were produced by self-publishing companies?\n
  • Between 150,000 and 200,000!\nThere’s a saying that everyone has a book in them. Christopher Hitchens also said that ‘Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases, that’s where it should stay.”\n\nWhat’s happened is that technology has blown away the barriers which prevented people from easily publishing a book. It’s become very easy and, more importantly, very cheap to publish a book digitally. So, we have this huge wave of additional books flooding the market, all of them looking for readers. \nAnd this competition for readers is only going to intensify.\n
  • We could be seeing 600,000 self published titles in 2015. Self published only. (Bowker)\n\nSo, that’s a huge - and overwhelming - amount of choice for consumers and even more competition for publishers.\n\nThat’s the first big trend: this dramatic growth in the number of books being published each year.\n\n\n
  • The second big trend, as you know, is the migration of book buying from bookstores to online stores. Online now accounts for 39% of book sales. And the adoption of e-books is fueling this move. \n\n\n
  • But buying books online is not optimized for discovery. You miss out on that serendipity experience of an interesting title catching your eye as you browse the store. As an industry, we need to shift how we foster discovery so that it fits the digital world.\n\nHuge growth in books being published. Book buying moving online. Put the two of them together and it’s easy to see why the number one challenge all of us are facing is “discovery.”\n
  • Let’s take a step back and talk about how these two trends impact you. Publishers have always been marketers. What’s changed is that you’re now marketers in a digital world. \n\nWe love this quote that we read in Merchants of Culture. It completely sums up what we see happening on Goodreads. There’s no magic bullet. Instead, you need to adopt the mindset that there are lots of different tools - little hammers - that you can use to break down the wall between you and the readers for your book.\n\nReady Player One\n\nGoogle came out with a stat last week that people discover books in 44 different ways. \nWhat I want to show you today is what some of these different ways are - essentially what are some of the hammers are on Goodreads, when they are most effective and how they can amplify each other and also your other hammers outside of Goodreads.\n
  • Before jumping into the case studies, I want to give you an idea of size of Goodreads so you can get a better idea of where our data is coming from.\n\nWe now have 11 million members, up from 6.5 million members at the end of last year. \n And they are all readers. They join Goodreads because they love to read, and many of them, join because they want to read more.\n
  • Our 11 million members have added more than 395 million books to the site. This gives us data that nobody else has - we have unique insight into what people think about the books they read. More importantly, we can see how different books relate to each other.\n\n\n
  • Seven million books are discovered every month. Every second, two books are discovered on Goodreads. \n\nSo, let’s dig into how these books get to that magic moment when someone says “I want to read that.” \n
  • Seven million books are discovered every month. Every second, two books are discovered on Goodreads. \n\nSo, let’s dig into how these books get to that magic moment when someone says “I want to read that.” \n
  • Seven million books are discovered every month. Every second, two books are discovered on Goodreads. \n\nSo, let’s dig into how these books get to that magic moment when someone says “I want to read that.” \n
  • Let’s take a look at Slammed, by Colleen Hoover. This is a great success story. \n\nIt was self-published in early January, and you can see that it can be tough for a first-time author - not too much attention in those early months. \n\nSo in late Feb and early March, she ran 2 giveaways back-to-back that really raised awareness of the book. Then in late March and April, a few prominent bloggers (Maryse) reviewed it and spread it to their followers. \n\nLEGEND: light blue = recs, red = search, orange = friends, blue/purple = giveaways, green = listopia, brown = mobile (don’t talk about it), lavender = “other”\n
  • \nIf you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, you’ll have heard of Mavens. Seth Godin calls them Sneezers. These are the people who, once they discover something they love, just can’t resist evangelizing about it. And they are influential. People trust them.\n\nOn Goodreads, there are a lot of these Mavens and Sneezers. These Mini Influencers are crucial at spreading the word initially for books they love.\n\nWhen some of these mini influencers get behind a book, they really get behind it. In this example for Slammed, note how this book blogger - Aestas Book Blog - is practically hand-selling the book to people commenting on the review. She did this over several days.\n\nAnother book blogger loved the book so much she made a mini book trailer for it.\n
  • That initial buzz really paid off becuse in May, the Goodreads recommendation engine picked it up, and as you can see, it was the single largest driver of people adding this book to their to-read shelves. \n\nLEGEND: light blue = recs, red = search, orange = friends, blue/purple = giveaways, green = listopia, brown = mobile (don’t talk about it), lavender = “other”\n
  • Our Recommendation Engine uses proprietary, Netflix-level algorithms to analyze 20 billion data points to come up with personalized book recommendations for you. We launched it about a year ago, and were really excited to see a 60% increase in books added to to-read in the months following the launch.\n\nOur recommendation engine is not designed to help you find best-sellers - its goal is to come up with suggestions you may have missed. Mid-list books. Long tail books. For instance, I love reading business biographies. I read the Steve Jobs biography, and it was amazing. But that book needed no help in being found - it was everywhere. But when I went to the recommendations page after reading it, I found a plethora of interesting books to read, including a book about Pixar, and a biography of Bill Gates from the 90’s that was amazing.\n\n
  • By the summer, the book hit the New York Times bestseller list for e-books and it was then picked up by Simon & Schuster (Atria Books is the imprint). They came out with new e-books in August and with print books in September.\n\nBut look what happened towards the end of August. It was added to a few Listopia lists, which is another way users love to discover books.\n\nLEGEND: light blue = recs, red = search, orange = friends, blue/purple = giveaways, green = listopia, brown = mobile (don’t talk about it), lavender = “other”\n
  • \n
  • Now here’s a more recent release: The Midwife of Hope River, which came out in late august, and is a debut fiction book. What you see here is a great example of building up buzz ahead of the release, and then capitalizing on that in the critical weeks following the release. \n\nThe publisher ran 2 giveaways - one that ended 3 weeks before the release, and one that coincided with the release. The first giveaway drove a lot of interest, and the winners had time to read the book and write a review. By the time the second giveaway began, the book already had 8 reviews, 6 of which were 4 and 5 stars. Restaurant analogy.\n\n
  • 125K books given away in 2012 so far. 35,000 people enter giveaways every day. \n\nAverage number of entries is 850\n\nFree for authors and publishers to set up on Goodreads. Only cost to you is the cost of the books and shipping them to the winners.\n\nAbout half the winners end up reading the book and writing a review, so to get 20 reviews, give away 40 books. \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • So now you’ve done all this work to build early momentum. At launch you’ve got almost 900 people who have marked it as to-read, and 17 reviews. Now what you want to do is amplify the book at launch as much as you can.\n\n
  • Need more info about targeted ad, please!\n
  • At the end it had been added by 2,400 people of which 250 had read it, and 90 had reviewed it, and it looks like the book is off to a great start, with and average rating about 4, which is very strong on Goodreads.\n\nBy the way, we’ve know that you’ve done all this work to build lots of interest and to-reads in the book early on, but on the day of launch the book might not be top of mind for all those people. Now we automatically send an email to those people on the day of launch\nAnecdote about new tweak to giveaways program which sends an email when a book you’ve marked as to-read is realeased/published) \n\n\n
  • So, having looked at how books are discovered on Goodreads, let’s take a quick look at our Author Program. There’s a lot your authors can be doing to complement your marketing plan.\n\n
  • We have 52,000 authors on the site who have signed up for our Author Program. This is free for authors. We have every kind of author on Goodreads, from best selling authors to debut authors. Here are some of the bigger names.\n\nJames Patterson Margaret Atwood\n(Kiss The Girls, etc) (The Handmaiden’s Tale, etc)\n\nE.L James Diana Gabaldon Kathryn Stockett Janet Evanovich Neil Gaiman\n(50 Shades) (Outlander series) (The Help) (One for the Money, etc) (American Gods, etc)\n\nVeronica Roth Nicholas Sparks John Grisham Jennifer Weiner\n(Divergent) (The Notebook, etc) (A Time to Kill, etc) (Good In Bed)\n
  • Every author has their own Goodreads Author Profile. Here’s an example of the top of the page. This is for Nick Harkaway, a British fiction author.\n\nThe first tip we have is to link your blog to your Goodreads Author Page. That way, your Goodreads fans automatically get your blog updates without having to keep track of your blog. We only show part of the blog post which encourages readers to click over to the author blog to learn more.\n
  • It’s really important for authors to use Goodreads as a reader too. Members like to see what their favorite authors are reading. And if they are just checking you out for the first time, it helps give them a feel for who you are and what your interests are.\n
  • Further down the Author Page, you can post your events. You can see here examples of book readings and signings at bookstores and libraries. \n\n\n(These are by authors such as Caragh O’Brien (YA), Diana Gabaldon (hard to categorize but tends to be described as a romance writer) and Sylvia Day (author of the erotic bestseller Bared to You).)\n
  • Another good tip is to look for groups which have similar interests to the content in your books. It’s very important, though, that authors join these to discuss books in general rather than market themselves. \n\nThe best analogy to give authors is to think of these groups - and in fact Goodreads in general - as like a giant party. Who do you think is going to make the best impression? The person that you start chatting with and discover a mutual love of endurance sports who also loves books by Chad Harding and who you then discover is an author? Or the person who walks up to you and says “You look like just the reader for my book? Want to read it?”\n\nWe have guidelines for how authors can have the best experience on Goodreads on our site in the Author Program section and I really recommend that you have all your authors check it out before starting out on Goodreads.\n
  • So, having taken a look at how some publishers have been helping promote discovery of their books on Goodreads and tips for authors, we thought it would be fun to take a 180 and put ourselves in your shoes. If we had a book to promote, what would we do?\n\nWe took a look through some of the recent releases by PubWest publishers, pulled out two of them and came up with some recommendations.\n\nSome of our recommendations will include advertising options. We don’t usually go into these in a lot of detail in our presentations but we checked with Kent and he felt it would be useful for you to see this so we’ve included some details where it’s relevant.\n
  • First up, is Things I Want to Punch in the Face which was published by Prospect Park Books this month. \n
  • Another great marketing boost for this book is the author.\n
  • She’s already being smart about Goodreads and doing a lot of what we have suggested in our Author Tips.\n\nSo, what else could we be doing for this book?\n
  • It’s great to see that they are already doing a giveaway. In fact, this is their second giveaway. We took this screenshot while it was still running.\n
  • Here you can see the two big spikes as each of the giveaways closed. The book has now been added “to read” by 1,036 people. \n
  • One way to boost the impact of giveaways even more would be to use text ads. \n\nWe’ve found that giveaways with text ads attract 40% more entries than those without. That means you are appearing 40% more news feeds.\n\nWhat’s more important is the fact that you can target these ads. So not only are you getting more people to enter but you’re getting more of the right people to enter. You can target your ad to fans of a genre or comparable authors.\n\nSo for our example book about Things That Make Me Want to Punch Your Face, we could target readers of, hmm, I’m not quite sure how to say this, but “Shit, my Dad Says” and also another book called Stuff White People Like as they would likely get the humor in our book.\n\nSo what else could we do for this book?\n
  • One option is to consider sponsoring a poll. You come up with questions tailored to the content of your book. This works equally well for both fiction and non-fiction books. \n\nWhen people take the poll, they are taken to the results page, which has a call to action button suggesting they add it to their shelves. They can also share it via Facebook and Twitter.\n\nThe fact that a member took a poll and what their answer is shows up in the news feed of all their friends which adds to the awareness and interest in a book.\n
  • How many people does the newsletter go out to? 8 million? \nPopular books page on the sign in process and for news \n\n\n
  • We had some fun coming up with a potential poll for this book based on some of the things that make the author want to punch them in the face.\n
  • And here’s where the poll would show up on the home page.\n\nAverage number of votes for a single day of a sponsored poll is 3,500 with 355 people then adding to the book to their shelves.\nAnother benefit is that each time a member takes the poll, it shows up - with the book - in their friends’ news feeds giving another bump in awareness.\n\n\n\n\n
  • Our second book is “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones” which Chronicle Books published in September. The book is about the TV series which is based on George R R Martin’s best selling fantasy series, “A Song of Ice & Fire.” \n\nTargeted advertising would be an obvious suggestion for this book as you can focus on 270K fans of “A Song of Ice and Fire.” But what else can you do to reach these fans?\n
  • We have about 20,000 book clubs on Goodreads. Some are as small as five people who meet in person to discuss their book club choice each month. Others have thousands of members and the interests are really diverse. In fact, our fifth largest group is focused on Poetry.\n\nOne of the groups is this one for fans of “A Song of Ice & Fire” - in fact, I’m a member as I’m a huge fan of these books. This group has just over 2,000 members. And they are all avid readers and fans of the content of the book which Chronicle Books has published.\n
  • So a great suggestion for this book would be to approach the moderator of the Fans of A Song of Ice & Fire group and ask if they would be interested in a chat or discussion with the author. The author is Bryan Cogman and he is the show’s executive story editor so he can give all sorts of amazing insider perspective on the show. \n\nAnother idea is to offer free copies of the book to the first person who answer questions during the chat.\n\nThe important thing to remember here is to offer them something that they can’t otherwise get so it feels really exclusive. \n\n(If they ask about reading group guides, these don’t work. We’ve tried and it’s not something groups have embraced.)\n\n
  • To wrap things up, \n\n* With discovery moving online, you now have a whole new array of tools to help you break through to readers.\n* The best analogy is to think of yourself as a conductor in an orchestra - you can start by giving the solo to cello, then bring in the violins and maybe weave in trumpets for extra emphasis. The instruments can work individually or blend together - you control when to bring them into the music.\n* Just as in an orchestra, different discovery tools work together and amplify and enhance each other as you bring them in at different times. Looking at the successful books on Goodreads, here’s what we have learned really influences book discovery online:\n\n1. Giveaway early and often - don’t be afraid to get out early with a giveaway. It gives you more runway to generate those crucial early reviews. 2- 3 months ahead of publication is a good time for this. And then follow it up with another pre-publication giveaway. This will give you that valuable amplification effect - people checking out the second giveaway see the early reviews from the first and you get more entries. Which then sets off another round of discovery as more people see the book on their news feeds and check it out. And the more positive reviews you get, the sooner you are picked up by the Goodreads Recommendation Engine which boosts awareness up to the next level.\n\n2. Look for your micro-influencers - they might be bloggers, but they might also just be avid Goodreads members. Getting your book into the hands of one of these readers can have a huge impact in the early word-of-mouth stage of a book launch.\n\n3. Turbo-charge momentum with targeted advertising - as you saw in the case studies, an ad campaign can lift awareness and interest in a book. And it doesn’t have to be display ads. Get creative and try a fun poll with a question that’s related to the content/story of the book. Our members love these. IA well-timed ad can fuel a book’s momentum at just the right time.\n\nOne final point. Our goal is to be partners for publishers. We’re happy to share with you what we see working and what we’re learning and have individual conversations with you. This is an evolving landscape which is both daunting and exciting. It’s to everyone’s benefit - readers, authors and publishers - if we can keep working together to improve book discovery.\n\nHappy to answer questions. Was there anything that stood out in particular for you? What are you going to experiment with as a result of today?\n
  • \n

Goodreads PubWest 2012: How Readers Discover Books Online Presentation Transcript

  • 1. How People Discover Books Online
  • 2. photo by: Eduardo Cuducos
  • 3. 5,000,000Distinct titles shelved on Goodreads Source: Bowker
  • 4. 350,000New Titles in 2011 Source: Bowker
  • 5. 150,000 - 200,000 Self-Published Source: Bowker
  • 6. 600,000Self-Published Titles in 2015 Source: Bowker
  • 7. 39% of Books Sold Online
  • 8. photo by john.a.ward
  • 9. photo by Anja Johnson“ Between us and our readership, there’s a brick wall and we have little hammers, and if we keep hitting ” the wall eventually we’ll punch through it. - Marketing Manager at a large publishing house, quoted in Merchants of Culture by John Thompson
  • 10. 12 million members
  • 11. Deep Reading Data250 million200 million 400 million books shelved, growing at 20 million a month 160 million150 million 110 million100 million 50 million 0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
  • 12. photo by o5com7 million books discovered a month (added to to-read) Every second...
  • 13. photo by o5com7 million books discovered a month (added to to-read) Every second... 2 books are discovered on Goodreads
  • 14. Finding an Audience From Scratch 160 Republished by S&S 140 4. Listopia 120People who added to "to-read" 100 80 3. Recommendations 1. Giveaways 60 40 Published 2. Influencers 20 0 Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep
  • 15. Mini Influencers Spread the Word
  • 16. Finding an Audience From Scratch 160 Republished by S&S 140 4. Listopia 120People who added to "to-read" 100 80 3. Recommendations 1. Giveaways 60 40 Published 2. Influencers 20 0 Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep
  • 17. A Taste Based AlgorithmIf you liked these books, thousands of other readers liked these similar books…
  • 18. Finding an Audience From Scratch 160 Republished by S&S 140 4. Listopia 120People who added to "to-read" 100 80 3. Recommendations 1. Giveaways 60 40 Published 2. Influencers 20 0 Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep
  • 19. Listopia Allows for Browsing & Discovery
  • 20. Building Buzz Before Launch 90 80 17 reviews FriendsPeople who added to "to-read" 60 Giveaway #2 40 Genres Giveaway #1 8 reviews 20 Targeted Campaign Search 0 7/7 7/14 7/21 7/28 8/4 8/11 8/18 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 Published
  • 21. Giveaways Help Kick Start Book Discovery
  • 22. What Happens on Goodreads ... Doesn’t Stay on GoodreadsGoodreads Reviews on Goodreads Updates Shared on
  • 23. Goodreads Drives Book Discovery on Facebook• Currently seeing 16 million books shared per month.• Generating 700 million impressions per month!!!
  • 24. Building Buzz Before Launch 90 80 17 reviews FriendsPeople who added to "to-read" 60 Giveaway #2 40 Genres Giveaway #1 8 reviews 20 Targeted Campaign Search 0 7/7 7/14 7/21 7/28 8/4 8/11 8/18 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 Published
  • 25. Targeted Advertising
  • 26. Building Buzz Before Launch 90 80 17 reviews FriendsPeople who added to "to-read" 60 Giveaway #2 40 Genres Giveaway #1 8 reviews 20 Targeted Campaign Search 0 7/7 7/14 7/21 7/28 8/4 8/11 8/18 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 Published
  • 27. What about Author Involvement?Tips for using Goodreads as an Author.
  • 28. Goodreads Author Program 52,000 Authors
  • 29. Make your author profile stand out! Add your blog Whenever you post something new, your fans and followers will see the post on Goodreads Readers can also receive an email digest of all new posts by their favorite authors
  • 30. Make your author profile stand out! Shelve some books Suggestion: create an influences shelf and add your favorite books or the books that have inspired you as a writer
  • 31. Make your author profile stand out! Post your eventsPost your events and invite your Goodreads friends Author Lisa See has gottenexcellent results by messagingfriends located in each city she visits on tour
  • 32. Make your author profile stand out! Join groups to build your network Groups are a great place tomeet readers. Be sure to join as a reader first and discuss booksyou’re passionate about, not just your own book.
  • 33. What Would We Do If We Were You?
  • 34. Potential Opportunities
  • 35. Use the Author Program
  • 36. Goodreads Author Page Using Goodreads: - Fan interaction - Reviews/To-Read - Events
  • 37. Potential Opportunities
  • 38. Giveaway Results
  • 39. Use text ads to drive readers to a giveawayGiveaways with text ads attract 40% more entries than those without
  • 40. Sponsored Polls Vote & See Results Call to Action: Add to My BooksAppears in Newsfeed
  • 41. Sponsored Poll Result for Power of Habit 450 400 350People who added book to "to-read" 300 NPR Fresh Air Ads + Sponsored Poll Movers & Shakers 250 Rate Books Page 200 Published 150 Other 100 50 Friends Search 0 3/1/12 3/8/12 3/15/12 3/22/12 3/29/12 4/5/12 4/12/12 4/19/12 4/26/12
  • 42. Sponsored Poll Idea
  • 43. Sponsored Poll Placement
  • 44. Potential Opportunities
  • 45. Follow the Fans
  • 46. Offer to Participate in a Discussion
  • 47. Otis Y Chandler, CEOotis@goodreads.com goodreads.com/otis twitter.com/otown