Hard Numbers on Free Random House Books | Wide Open
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"On March 4, 2009, Random House announced it was giving away free digital versions of five books. Thanks to Jane for pointing me in this direction. I thought it would be interesting to look at sales data from these books for the 8 weeks before and after the “free” versions became available. Based on a method outlined by Tim O’Reilly, I used the Bookscan database to measure sales data (for a discussion about the validity of Bookscan, see this report). Bookscan claims to track about 70% of U.S. books sales. Because March 4 was a Wednesday, and Bookscan tracks sales by weeks, I did not take sales from the week of March 2-8 into account. Thus the 8 weeks prior to free versions being released were January 12 - March 1, and the 8 weeks after were March 9-May 3. So what do the numbers say? One of the five books has had zero sales in 2009. So no sales before or after the free version. But the other four books all saw significant sales increases after the free versions were released. In total, combined sales of the five books were up 30%. Together they sold 3,958 copies the 8 weeks prior to being released free..."